You must do the thing that you think you cannot do. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I am the creator of my life; I mold and make my world.

Namaste’ Fellow Traveler,

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Before taking my trip, I believed trains ran on a very regular schedule with their arrivals and departures predictable to the minute. This belief was immediately disputed…at least as it pertains to Canadian train travel. We got to Jasper ahead of schedule by an hour, so we were encouraged to get off and walk around the town, which I did. It was nice to walk in the open, rather than negotiating narrow passageways while figuring out how to pass oncoming people. In an arts and crafts store, I spoke with the lady attending it, and she remarked that I was lucky as typically the trains ran behind schedule (the same sentiment as the couple I spoke with the day before.)

In the afternoon, I got a sense of what she meant. We inched forward a bit, and then we waited, and then we inched forward a bit, and then we waited some more. I napped most of the afternoon since I had not slept a lot during the previous night, so I was only half-aware of the starting and stopping. After several hours of this, the loud speaker announcement explained that we were jockeying for a place on the tracks along with seven freight trains. I later found out that the freight trains had priority since they own the tracks and Via Rail is paying to use the tracks – when they are available. We got to Edmonton around 1:00 a.m., which was at least five hours behind the originally scheduled time.

As I projected forward to my most easterly destination, Toronto, I wondered if I would get there with enough time to check into my reserved Air B&B or if I would merely turn around and get back on the train heading back to Vancouver for my return trip. Or if I would need to get off my current train at a station prior to Toronto, so I could intercept the train I am scheduled to take back to Vancouver if it leaves before we get to Toronto. For someone like me who is prone to adhere to a timetable even when I am not required to, this was a bit nerve-racking.

When I look at the journal questions for this week, I realize how rigid I have become about schedules. Thinking there is a schedule everyone is going to adhere to and then realizing it is totally subject to what the day may bring – like seven freight trains in line ahead of us – makes me a little antsy. First, I need to adjust my expectations and learn to go with the flow in order to fully enjoy this adventure. Plus, I need to accept this lack of predictability as part spontaneous fun. Finally, I had to accept ownership for how I created this experience. I could get in a dither about what to do if I did not reach the two endpoints – Toronto and Vancouver – or I could see it as an opportunity to employ creative strategies for making the most of the situation.  

Even though the train stops were somewhat fluid, there was within the train a schedule for meals and events that did not vary greatly from the schedule. From all of my reflection on the topic, I surmise that time is a constant consideration even when everything is totally off schedule. There are still time constraints within the openness of a fluid schedule.  

As a post-script on living with a non-schedule during the pandemic, I see myself struggling with the same beliefs and fears that I encountered when I was on my train trip as well as when I was house-sitting. For most of my life, I have wrestled with my own issues around being productive and fully utilizing my time, even during my supposed down time at the end of the day. For me, these issues have too often hinged on how I thought others might judge or applaud my choices, rather than acting on what gave me the greatest satisfaction and joy. That is the belief that I would most like to look at and address constructively.

My fears around not using my time wisely pivot on my concern for doing what is most important to me while making sure that I am not giving undue attention to what I feel others expect from me. Ideally, I need to engage my brain in constructive activities that fully employ it, rather than allow my ego to take charge, which it is inclined to do. While the brain is busy and engaged in right brain tasks that it can do, I consciously direct my creative

mind to look at new possibilities, change, and growth. After exploring beliefs I made up early in life and still find myself clinging to, I am ultra aware of my tendency to fall back into old thought patterns. This awareness keeps me focused of creating out of my soul rather than my fears.

Journal Question: What are your beliefs and expectations around time? How do they help or hinder you? How are your beliefs and expectations supporting or undermining the beautiful manifestation of the perfect use of your time? If a concept or idea is stopping you from optimizing your time, what new belief can you create that will allow you to accept full responsibility for how you use your time?

Affirmation: Compose a statement that summarizes what your gleaned from journaling. Make it positive, powerful, and personal. Example: I am fully awake and aware every minute.

Letter from your divine: Review your journal entry and your affirmation then write a letter from your soul to you reflecting on both. Address the letter with a term of endearment because that is how your soul sees you. Then allow the love that your soul has for you to pour out onto the page.

Buen Camino, Pat

I have spent my time stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung. ~Rumi