Timing

Have you noticed how the timing of an action can influence and even change the way you feel about a person, place or thing?

If our timing is ‘out’ we can be pushed off our natural centre of balance.

When we start to force ourselves to act or rise to the occasion in an attempt to meet the situation fully, our conversations and ideas may stop flowing from the heart. We may feel pushed and pressured, yet we go ahead with the action anyway. This leads to stress as well as a degree of confusion.

One of the Merriam Webster dictionary definitions of ‘timing’ is “the precise moment for doing something for optimum effect.”

A boxer may have impeccable timing, a gymnast working on the high bars or a trampoline athlete doing double-back somersaults with enough lift to complete a set routine of skills in a ninety second slot. Tough stuff, but these are not the normal challenges faced by most of us each day nor the timing being discussed here. What we need to face which is of equal importance is getting our own personal timing right.

What is personal timing?

It may be working in synch with our own body clock so that our daily activities flow smoothly and do not run us down. It may be keeping our cool in the midst of a crisis because we know the rhythm of our own moods and can balance them in a pressured moment. It may be withdrawing from an activity ‘just because’, though no visible signs of any impending danger are obvious. It is just a knowing, a sense of timing.

Personal timing is part of our clarification of who we are.

From the time we get up in the morning until we rest at night, timing is involved. We are not talking about the meetings and dates factored into a diary but the small things that contribute to whether we are calm or rushed. Sure, we have commitments that require planning, but if we have no sense of our own timing we are influenced by external forces and easily pushed off our inner centre. We lose our poise. We worry. Knowledge of our own timing clearly sets us on the right course or defeats us. Personal timing helps others to leave us alone when we need space to think and just be.

How can you check if you are working in your natural timing for an action or a decision?

  1. Effortlessness.
    If the action has a high degree of ease associated with it then you can be sure there is natural support and benefit for all. When an action supports you first, it will also tend to support others. It is when we violate our own natural needs that we begin to step on the toes of others and trip ourselves up too in the process. Ease and effortlessness are the result of good timing.
  2. Certainty.
    When we ‘own’ our timing we can get involved in life or express to others what works or does not work for us in relation to timing. This helps to keep the respect in all our relationships. It gives the other person knowledge about us that they may not have previously had. For instance, we may decline an offer based on the timing not suiting us. This allows us ‘catch up’ space to be with our feelings and restore what was not in alignment.
  3. Enthusiasm.
    A joy and willingness to take a leap!

We all have experiences of bad timing that can cause major anxiety even if they are only small. The day can start with burning the breakfast toast, misplacing our keys, getting caught in traffic, and suddenly our timing is out and anxiety levels rise. The natural flow of things has just shifted and our locus of control has changed. This is when we usually begin our internal rush in an attempt to match what is happening in the outer world.

Small things can get under our skin and pinch. We rush to the bank just as they are closing the door; the bus pulls away just as we are running to reach the stop. These moments are imprecise and they bother us. It is as though life is running faster than us and we are somehow separate from it.

The world is now filled with products that provide precise timing of every action. We can go online and connect to networks of people who want us to watch their lives as they take place. Major networking companies are operating in the heart of our lives and interrupting our timing of simple things. We map the pulse of other people’s lives even as we read emails that are clocked upon receipt. Now we have become so accustomed to getting anything and everything in life delivered faster, better, stronger, but always on time, we find any reason to be dissatisfied. What has happened here?

How can you check if you are not working in your own natural timing?

  1. Indecision.
    When we begin to have intense deliberation about an issue and mull over all its possible consequences, we may not have considered our timing. We may have ignored the fact that timing makes a significant contribution to a good decision. Get into the habit of saying, “The timing is not ideal for me”, rather than giving a flat refusal. Even an “I don’t want to” statement may prevent others coming back to ask us again. It is fine to request more time to think something over. This keeps the respect in place as your decision process unfolds and keeps the other person in connection with you.
  2. Indifference.
    We can visit a place at one time and feel great affinity with it. Then we may return to the same place again at a later date and find it holds no joy for us whatsoever. Yes, we all change and outgrow things but often it is the timing of an action or experience that plays into our enjoyment of it.
  3. Thoughts and feelings do not match.
    When a thought and feeling occur in unison there is freedom to take action. This is timing. It is largely a result of the affinity between the heart and the head. Then we are free to work in harmony with ourselves. If we are holding back from action it is often due to a pervading thought that the action may not be right. Consider the timing. It may only be the timing that is not right. The action may work later when thoughts and feelings are joined.
  4. Feeling overwhelmed.
    This is a common theme of poor timing. If you are overwhelmed about anything at all, even within a grief situation, then you know you need more time to come to terms with elements of it. Now is not the right time.

I used to be heavily involved in Qigong training that relied upon the fulfilment of energy exercises to be conducted at specific times of the day. These times were part of a ‘chi code’ that was defined by different organs of the body and the time of day in which they could best be revitalised. In combination with the right sounds and a diet of food groups to enhance the weak organs and their healing, I went into the timing as specified.

Don’t get me wrong here; I love Qigong, but I had to tailor it to be able to manage my regular life and the raising of two school-age children as well as continue my normal daily work. At one time I started to experience a deficiency from Qigong practice rather than natural support. It was being conducted in the wrong timing for me, even though the practice helps to integrate all the parts of one’s life. I lost my own sense of timing and found it impossible to marry up all the parts in my life. The way I was operating the energy practice drew me away from myself. Now that I have modified it I can conduct it easily within the structure of our greater life and timing.

There is a natural monitor within each of us that can best determine what is needed. Opportunity and benefit comes to the heart that is ready.

What is readiness? It is really a practical matter. We must be right on the ball, with all our tools in place, at the ready to seize the moment of opportunity the very second it arrives. If you want to capture a great moment in nature via a photo you must at least have a camera device handy or readiness is lost. We miss out on that split-second empowering image.

The attitude of wanting to do something someday or next week or even when we can afford it will most likely push opportunity away and deny any sense of timing being clear. Timing in the stock market, where players aim to predict the future direction of companies and stocks can be dependent on economic data, but most of the success stories come from perfect timing. Any risk, any leap of faith, any product released into the market involves timing; when to jump in and when to get out. Even in business, when to advance a deal by speaking and when top remain silent; when to invest in a project and when to call it ‘quits’. Timing affects sales in the marketing of product; so too does timing influence our own effectiveness.

How effective are you in knowing your own timing?

Chinese philosophy tends to use the archer as a symbol of perfect timing and a metaphor about life – not keeping the bow string too tense or too lax. Testimony to hitting the bull’s eye was evident at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games when an archer’s arrow lit the flame.

When we become flustered in our quest for right timing we generally ‘miss the mark’ altogether. Let’s make our mark effortlessly and with joy. Let’s not run too fast or fly too high or get too far in front of the ball; let’s get to know the benefit of our own timing. It is personal. It is natural. It is comfortable. It is ours. Ease into your own timing and feel the benefit.

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