Did you know that the majority of your stress is created by your relationship to time?
Have you ever felt like you’re running late, or you were about to miss a deadline, or you were worried about something that happened yesterday or last week, or fretting and worrying about something that might happen in the future?
Nearly all stress is related to our relationship to time.
This is Kylie Ryan, and I am revealing the truths of a weightless woman. Today I want to talk to you about your relationship to time, and in particular the two different ways that we as humans can code or inter-relate with time. The ancient Greeks understood this and had two different words for these two different ways that we can relate to time. The first was chronos or clock time, and the second was kairos — meaning the supreme moment — which is as Eckhart Tolle would say, the “now moment”, the power of now.
Most people in the Western world who are under chronos time, under clock time, feel that pressure of the shared collective reality of the time. What’s the time? We need to make it by a certain time. We need to get there on time. We need to have things done by the deadline. Those are the types of relationships that as a shared collective consciousness we understand so that we can make buses, and trains, and the society run cohesively. And so we have this shared understanding of clock time, and that’s called chronos time.
Someone who has a really clear understanding and really lives by clock time is more likely to have what in NLP land we call through-time. Your timeline, you might not realize, is stored in relationship to your body. So you have this unconscious perception or metaphor about time that relates to your body. And usually, people that have this clock time understanding have a relationship with time where their timeline, their series of events of yesterday, today, tomorrow runs in an order outside of their body. It might be from left to right, or right to left — whichever way it is — or beside them, but it doesn’t go through their body
There’s this understanding of clock time as something that I can look out of myself and look at the time. People that have this through-time or this chronos time relationship to time tend to be a little bit more dissociated from the events. It’s like they’re looking at themselves in the events and can tend to be quite stressed out about time, and really worry about being punctual, and are really concerned with time and being on time, and get really stressed out if they’re running late and aren’t meeting deadlines. So that’s the chronos version of time.
Most of society runs on this chronos time of making sure that people are on time and that we’re all meeting at 2:00. And if you’re late then you may be showing disrespect to all of these other meanings that we have around time, and if you’re late or if you’re on time or if you’re early. That’s the chronos time.
The other version of time is what’s called the power of now, kairos time. Where your moment, your relationship to time is in this eternal unfolding now moment, or as Eckhart says, “The Power of Now.” In NLP, we call that in-time, and that’s where your now moment is actually inside your body. Your past might be behind you and your future out in front, and you have this experience of this eternal now that is just kind of unfolding as your primary focus is on the now moment, the sensory experience of what is happening now. Some people call this Arabic time or island time as well. Where’s it’s like, “Oh, we’re gonna meet later.” “What time?” “Oh, I dunno, maybe at sundown.” And so there’s no specific clock time. It’s just like whenever everybody gets there around sundown, that’s it.
If you are a clock time person, you might notice when you go on holidays, it takes you a few days to wind down into island time or kairos time, to be able to really appreciate the now moment and relax and let go of deadlines, and really just appreciate the sensory experience of living in this now moment.
Would it be useful to you to be able to shift from chronos time to kairos time whenever you wanted to?
With NLP, it is super simple to do that. It is as simple as imagining moving your timeline. However you have your timeline — I’m just gonna ask you now — if you were to trust your unconscious mind, just go ahead and point to your past. Where would you point if you were to point to your past? Just trust your unconscious mind and point wherever you want to point.
90% of you will have got that instantly and been able to point exactly to where your past is, and it might be behind you or to the side or to this side or even in front. And if I was to ask you then, those who struggled a little bit more, think about something that happened yesterday, and think about something that happened the day before, and last year, and maybe a happy memory that you have from your childhood. Or a happy memory that you have from high school. Or a really loving moment with your family in your early childhood. Can you think of specific memories around that? Notice what direction those memories come to you from. That’s right. And then go ahead and just point to your past.
Now think about your future. What direction is your future? For me it’s over here, but for some people it’s this way or this way. Whatever way it is for you, it doesn’t matter. What matters is where is your now moment. Is your now moment inside your body? Does your timeline run through your body? Or is it outside of your body? Just notice where it is. If it’s outside of your body then you’re in what in NLP we call through-time or chronos time. And if it’s inside your body then you’re more likely to be in kairos time or in-time.
There’s some really simple ways that you can shift it. You can just actually imagine closing your eyes, grabbing a hold of your timeline, picking it up, and moving it to where it needs to be. If it’s out here, you can pick it up, move it, and slide it down, inside your body.
Now that you know that it’s so easy to shift your timeline and shift your perception of time between clock time and kairos time or in-time, think about times where it would be most useful for you to be totally present in the moment. To really experience those sensory experiences that are happening right now, be totally blissfully unaware, and not even thinking about anything that’s happening five minutes from now, or 10 minutes from now, or what has to be done for dinner, or the deadline that you’ve got for work next week — just not even considering any of that — and placing all of your conscious awareness and attention on this moment now. Think about times and places where that arrangement and perception of time would be most useful.
There’s a lot, right? Playing with your kids, being with your partner, being present with friends, having sex. When you are doing anything that requires an intense level of focus and immersion in the task and full presence, then being in time is very useful, being totally in this now moment is very useful.
Sometimes the negative outcome of being totally in time is that you can lose track of time. You’re so in the moment, you don’t know what time it is because it’s just this eternal unfolding now moment. So there are times when it’s useful to be aware of chronos time or clock time. That might be when you have an important meeting to attend or you have to catch a plane by a certain time. Then shifting your timeline back outside your body, in to this chronos time or this more dissociated relationship to time, can help you to stay on time and be aware of time in a very specific way. There are very specific times when it might be better to be dissociated. And certainly as well, if there’s ever a time when you’re experiencing trauma or something very difficult, then dissociating from all of the experiences that are going on through your body in that moment can be quite useful at that time.
The interesting thing about pressure with kids and a lot of the stress that happens — I’ve got a two-and-a-half-year-old and a five-year-old — kids are totally in kairos time. They’re just in the magical unfolding now moment. You can’t rush a kid. They’re just in the moment. You’re trying to rush to get them out to ballet class or to school or something, and they’re stopping along the way to pick up a flower and smell the roses and look at a dog that’s running down the street. They’re totally in the now moment. They have no perception of that chronos time until they get a bit older. And so that is a lot of the stress that happens as a parent and in all sorts of other areas in life when there’s a difference between someone being in kairos time or in the moment time and another person trying to stick to a schedule and get things done on time. For those of you who are trying to stick to the schedule, you’re the ones that are getting stressed out when you’re in that clock time. And that’s me as well when I’m in that mode.
The key to dismantling the stress in that moment is shifting yourself into kairos time. Shifting yourself into that now moment, and really letting go of the clock time. If you’re gonna be late, you’re gonna be late. There’s nothing you can do about it. Stressing isn’t going to make it any better, isn’t going to make you more on time. So I would suggest and encourage you to become familiar with your way of organizing time, and get used shifting your timeline and shifting your perception of time based on what is most useful for you in the context that your in in that particular moment.
This is actually the key to completely dismantling time stress in your life forever. If you can master this then you will have an incredible advantage and a way to really dismantle stress in a really easy and effortless way. If you’d like more information on how you can learn more about this, either by getting coached by one of my NLP coaches or learning how to become an NLP practitioner yourself, then get in touch with me personally and I’d love to help you out myself or with one of my team.
Thanks so much for watching, and I look forward to helping you soon.