In Praise of Losing Your Head

In designing-your-ideal-life circles, coaches love to ask this: What do you love that makes you lose complete track of time?

Maybe you lose track of time brushing your teeth. I don’t know. But having wasted great chunks of my life being compulsively early and time-obsessed, the answers to that question are HUGE indicators of where I ought to be running as fast as courage will take me.

So what does it? And I mean really lose track of time, like holy time warp, Batman, is that sunset out there? I haven’t brushed my teeth, for God’s sake. That’s what I mean.

There were years  when I had no answer, which would be pathetic except that those years generated the certainty that being among the living dead would not do for me.

Here are my answers now:

1. Rehearsing for a great play as an actor. It’s the discovery process. All rehearsals should be 27 hours long. Without a break. I can never understand why anyone wants to stop.

2. Rehearsing for a great play as a director. Same thing.

3. Speaking with and entertaining groups of people re: making ourselves well by making ourselves happy. I think it’s the communal discovery thing again.

4. This one is recent and is the reason I’ve been thinking about this: Kundalini yoga. I’m mad for it. I read yoga DVD reviews like Southern Baptists read bibles, over and over and over till the sane people around me cover their ears and roll their eyes back a decade. I do two classes a day and would do more if I could still hold my arms up. I fantasize about upping that to three or four and calling my entire life a Kundalini transformation camp. The dog will only sit through one class a day with me. I don’t know what’s wrong with her.

Those are it for me. I’d love to hear yours. And not just for fun, although I’m all for fun.

I suspect there’s something healthy in losing our heads, our allegiance to the almost constant got-to-have-to-tick-tock-love-to-but-can’t-even-contemplate-it-tick-tock filter through which make our choices every day.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Thanks, always, for the conversation,


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13 Responses to In Praise of Losing Your Head

  1. Chris says:

    1. Being with children, playing with children, having serious conversations with children – especially my own grandchildren. The world could turn to dust around me. I’d never notice.

    2. Writing fiction. I’m so grateful to know what my “thing” is and this is it. I’d rather sit at my cramped, cluttered desk and write than do almost anything (no thanks, I can’t go skiing in the Rockies this weekend…) I know, it’s crazy. Hours can pass in what feels like an instant.

    3. Reading fiction. If it’s good, I’m a goner for hours and hours without ever noticing missed meals or nature calling.

    4. Being in nature – either gardening, weeding, planting or walking, lolling, strolling. Sometimes a quick walk in the woods or a stop at the seashore can become an entire lost day.

    • kristinshepherd says:

      Chris, Beautiful. It reminds me of others: reading great fiction for me, too. Picking blueberries or raspberries. Conversations with my kids.
      I adore your answers. Thanks.

  2. Rossana says:

    1. Browsing through my favourite book store. I can honestly “browse” and lose four hours easy.

    2. Spending an afternoon with my daughter. Time goes too quickly. Hearing her chat away.

    3. Being outside and weeding around my lavender plants. The smell just wisks me away to the ashram I once stayed at in Montreal.

    4. Reading and being immersed in a really good book.

    • kristinshepherd says:

      Oh! Bookstores! How could i have missed that one? And chats with my kids.
      We are SO FORTUNATE to have these things. Your lavender sounds like heaven. Thanks.

  3. Zoila says:

    1) Meditating/yoga, praying and reading inspiration quotes in the morning. Before I know it, its time to run out the door!

    2) Time with my youngest cousins. There is something about jumping on a trampoline with the little ones that makes me remember how simple and joyous life really is.

    3) I am studying public health and am immersing myself in reading research on human rights and immigration. I feel empathy for those needing considerably more attention, especially unaccompanied migrant children.

    4) Watching some good comedy. Humor puts life into perspective. Work can wait. Laughter cannot! 🙂

    • kristinshepherd says:

      Oh, yeah for good comedy! (I can’t believe how many i forgot!)
      Alas, the trampoline makes me pee, which holds no lasting joy for me. I’m glad it does for you. Thanks for all of yours.

  4. Kundalini Yoga, and particularly the chanting meditation portion, totally changes my relationship with time. On one hand, two hours goes by instantly, and on another, time seems to give back by being more generous with me.

    I am learning to listen to where I find my personal joy and to flow with it… without the guilt. I call this PLAY. When I am at work, and I walk into a meeting to ask for something, I remind myself to “play.” Otherwise, I tell myself, why do it at all? When I play, those moments always seem to lead towards personal joy.

    • kristinshepherd says:

      I love your thoughts on chanting changing your relationship with time, and time giving back by being more generous with you. I feel the same way about meditation.
      Thanks, and Sat Nam.

  5. Reji says:

    I read all of these comments with a thirst for shared experiences.
    I, too, adore time with my grandchildren, but that also makes me appreciate time with myself.

    I have ventured into Kundalini yoga and have felt the stress leave through my fingertips.

    Reading fiction, in fact, all manner of things has always provided a personal escape. Knowledge is power that should be used appropriately.

    My favorite bookstore story involves a 7 year old who chose a National Geographic book on Butterfly migrations. We are working on a garden for next year to attract those visitors.

    There is so much life out there – peace and balance with yoga.

    You all refresh me and give me joy.

  6. julia says:

    I am feeling a little lost right now and found your blog via a yoga site and it has cheered me up soo much! I didn’t think i had anything that melted time away but as I read through other replies I realized I do – the smell of sand while gardening; walks with my dog on the beach; a bookstore; a galery visit;baking. The bubble just popped -I am looking to deeply, it is in the simple things!
    It felt like me I was reading about- just don’t muster up the energy to DO the yoga- but now I feel inspired and also want to be an addict! Pleased I found you- love Julia

  7. Clifford says:

    Hi Kristin,
    Your blog reminds me of one of the greatest passages to have ever been scripted – 1 Corinthians 13

    If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels,
    but do not have love,
    I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

    If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
    and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
    but do not have love, I am nothing.

    If I give all I possess to the poor,
    and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,
    but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    Love is patient,
    love is kind.
    It does not envy,
    it does not boast,
    it is not proud.

    It does not dishonor others,
    it is not self-seeking,
    it is not easily angered,
    it keeps no record of wrongs.

    Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

    It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Love never fails.
    But where there are prophecies,
    they will cease;
    where there are tongues,
    they will be stilled;
    where there is knowledge,
    it will pass away.

    For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

    but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

    When I was a child,
    I talked like a child,
    I thought like a child,
    I reasoned like a child.
    When I became a man,
    I put the ways of childhood behind me.

    For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
    then we shall see face to face.
    Now I know in part;
    then I shall know fully,
    even as I am fully known.

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
    But the greatest of these is love.


  8. Deanna says:

    1. In my kayak, on the lake. I completely lose track of time! (‘I’ll be back in time for dinner’…… usually NOT!). I can pass, one, two, three hours, no problem!
    2.In my garden, bare hands in the dirt (no gloves for me, you can’t feel the dirt…… nice fingernails are over rated, at least that’s my story). Clipping, planting, pruning, muttering, sifting, digging (oops, look out little spider), transplanting, mulching, and these days munching (on the lovely peas and beans that never seem to make it to the dinner table).
    3. Sitting out in the evenings listening to the loons.
    4. Walking with the dogs in the forest- so many sounds!

    These are definitely keeping me sane, not to mention passing the time.

  9. Demet says:

    While practicing yoga yesterday afternoon, I saw the moon outside the window and thought to myself “wow how I forget about time doing yoga.” then I wrote down to my diary about the relationship of time and yoga for me. now I see this here! this has cheered me up!

    1. so my first is yoga. for me it is one of the few things through whch I make time “mine”. I think it is more like “finding the head” rather than “losing it”.
    2. being in nature
    3. being around at a table chatting with friends.
    4. writing something that I am passionate about
    5. teaching (sometimes)
    6. watching a good movie

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