The six kinds of time
Recovering Yoga contributor Erica Schmidt recently published her very own all-encompassing, incredibly versatile self-help book, called I Let Go. We are so pleased that she allowed us to republish an excerpt here on Recovering Yogi.
An excerpt From I Let Go, by Erica Schmidt
There are different kinds of time. Remember that song that goes, “For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven?” It’s from the Bible and they say or sing it at funerals and it is one of those cheesy, pithy statements that is strenuous and impossible to transcend. So please remember, there is a time for every purpose. There is more time in the world than you think.
In front or behind the mirrors. Very useful. Do yoga naked. Make dinner naked. Wash the floor-naked. (Wearing just an apron is fun too.)
All of the yogis are sitting up straight so that a magical snake will travel from deep within their pelvises all the way up their spines to their skulls. The experience is delightful and marvelous and enlightening, but there’s no use craving it too much. You can’t make a snake come out of your pelvis. Also, the yogis say that you shouldn’t be too goal-oriented. Especially when it comes to the magical snake. So let go of the magical snake for today and lie down. You can sit up again tomorrow.
Unlike the magical snake, Mammal Time remains perpetually accessible. It will never desert you. Mammal Time is for engaging in all of your favorite mammal things: sleeping, eating snacks, lying on top of your loved ones. That’s what mammals do. Notice how Mammal Time and Naked Time and Horizontal Time all overlap. I love how life lines up like that.
Know when to pull the Ejector Seat on your day. Some days are not designed for immense accomplishment. My rule is that if three consecutive mammoth inconveniences arise within the span of ninety minutes and all of these inconveniences are beyond your control and none of these inconveniences is resolvable with Deep Full Breaths of Mammoth Equanimity, then you’re done. Say to your day, “We’re done.”
So you’ve pulled the Ejector Seat on your day, but it is too early to go to bed. It might only be 10 AM and you are probably far too caffeinated anyways. Don’t worry, there is no need to meditate or vacuum or write a sonnet or make soup. Honor your decisive declaration of pulling the Ejector Seat and choose an appropriate un-stimulating activity. Watch bad television. Watch dog videos on YouTube. There’s a great one about maple bacon and the meat drawer. Watch it five times. Post it on Facebook. Enter an internet solitaire tournament. (But please note that although gambling is sort of stupid, it should NOT comprise part of stupid time. Actually I changed my mind. You are allowed ONE instant bingo ticket. If you win, then you can foolishly use your earnings to buy another. If you lose, then it’s over.) I recommend having a bank of Stupid Time options other than gambling to ensure that you are prepared whenever the Ejector Seat gets pulled.
Mondays are spectacular for pulling the Ejector Seat. Go for it.
Even if it’s an Ejector Seat, Stupid Time day, ensure that each day holds some sort of victory. Victories begin with: “Today I…” They serve as weapons for self-loathing thoughts that invade when you are lying in the fetal position waiting for Netflix to load your fifth consecutive indulgence of Breaking Bad. YOU ONLY NEED ONE VICTORY PER DAY. Examples of daily victories are:
i) waxing your moustache
ii) a Sudoku puzzle
iii) a Pap Smear
Begin your day with a victory. Shitting is not a given. Peeing is a little too easy. Perhaps you could make coffee? Just to warn you, it is possible to screw this up. I got a pretty nasty burn on my left thigh from the time Simon (the ex-boyfriend I met on a biodegradable yoga mat) walked in on me one Saturday morning while I was making coffee and getting ready to go to an A.A. meeting for kicks. Some victories are not meant to be. Every day, you’ll have to figure out what victory is realistic for you, considering the state of your pelvis, your French press and who possesses keys to your apartment.
Library Time is publicly funded and relaxing and full of possibility. Not all reading needs to be self-improving and intellectual. You are already reading this groundbreaking self-help book, so that is probably enough. At the library, check out whatever books you’d like. Reread books you read when you were a kid: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Judy Blume, Goodnight Moon, Robert Munsch. Another perk is that you can take out a whole big pile of books, and then take them all back without reading them. Usually no one will get angry at you for this. Such are the joys of publicly funded outings.
Rather than pretending you’re not terrified of a sudden brain tumor and similar catastrophes, give yourself permission to visit your fabricated world of pessimistic and possible doom. Worry Time shouldn’t last more than 10 or 15 minutes, but during that time, all the world’s unlikely misfortunes are potentially yours. The flesh-eating disease, amputation, early onset Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, bankruptcy, divorce, house fires, terrorist attacks. Give your worries a voice. And then tell them to go have a Mammal Day.
I think that six kinds of time are enough.
You can order I Let Go on Amazon!
About Erica Schmidt
Nearly eight years ago, Erica Schmidt moved from Perth, Ontario to Montréal, Quebec in search of Jesus, her bandhas and her tailbone. Her bandhas and tailbone remain elusive; however, she did find Jesus. Although the two were married, Erica now cheats on Jesus with Ashtanga Yoga, Atwood novels, and Ovarian Kung Fu. Just recently, she relocated from Montréal to Halifax to live with a boy she met on a boat. When asked for a word she loathes and abhors, Erica responds, “Vibes. For years, I have been sending good vibes to the universe, and so far, all I have received are pubes. It’s breathtakingly disappointing.”