Last week, I finally managed to make time to harvest some St. John's Wort-- just in the nick of time. The flowers had surpassed their maximum state of glory, but there were just enough left to make medicine.  Foraging slows me down, connects me to me center, and grounds me. It is my soul salve. So why oh why has it been so hard to grab my basket and my clippers and get out there?

This got me thinking (yet again) about our/my relationship with time.

Modern life has enabled us to live beyond the constraints of time. With the flip of a switch, we can "extend" our day. The internet allows us to move at the speed of thought. We are wired and open for business 24/7. It's all so very convenient, but is it good for us?



From the view of the medicine I practice, the crux of much of our dis-ease is caused by our disharmony and incongruity with time. Try as we might, the reality is that we cannot alter the passage of time. So that means WE have to do the stretching and bending. But we have become so out of touch with our true and natural rhythms as they are intended to be (biologically), we might not always notice the push or the pull away from our center of gravity and axis which are innately and inextricably tied to that of the planet that we live on. Without this connection, we will eventually start to wobble and topple. We are so busy and distracted by the constant chatter of our lives, we don’t/ can’t/ won’t hear the messages our bodies send us to tell us that we are out of balance. Often times, we don’t notice until our bodies are screaming at us that something is wrong.



Most of us start out by moving too fast for time as we try to keep our heads above water, whether it's to pay the bills, manage busy work-social-parenting schedules, or engage in a multitude of self-cultivation activities. But eventually, the too-busy pace will lead to a crash and burn. Then we find ourselves in a situation where we are unable to get out of first gear. The harder we push, the more (metaphorical) rubber we burn spinning our wheels, the more toxicity we build up, physically and energetically (cortisol, anxiety, depression), the slower and sicker we become. Sometimes the sick is silent and less overt, sometimes it’s a dramatic and harder crash and burn. No scenario along these lines is good.


We can't change the flow, try as we might- even with all of our technology. So how do we get right with Time? How do we wrap our minds around the idea of subtracting as a way to achieve better balance, rather than adding more to “improve” ourselves?  Can we find value in things done slower or in doing fewer things better? If you absolutely can’t take things off of your overflowing plate, can you find ways to alleviate the mental pressure?

It’s an ongoing conversation I have with myself and with my friends, patients, and colleagues.


It’s a global problem, but a very personal issue, so there are no one size fits all answers. Getting right with time looks different for everyone. My husband likes to listen to music at ear splitting volumes (this overwhelms my brain and makes me want to commit an act of violence upon his speakers). I like to go for walks in the forest, garden, and forage (this makes my husband crazy because I am not sitting still, relaxing on the deck sipping a cocktail). Our friend meditates twice a day (the thought of taking 40 minutes out of my day stresses me out). My girlfriend goes to yoga class three times a week (I have no idea how she manages that!!).

If it doesn’t feel right, or if it adds more stress and pressure, it’s not the right fit.


I invite you to start the conversation with yourself. Can you slow down enough to begin to notice where and how you might be out of synch, and how it feels in your mind and body? Imagine how it would feel to allow yourself to get right with time. How would it feel to not feel like you are being dragged behind the bus, unable to keep up, no matter how fast you run? Is it because you are trying to take on too much, or is it because you’re burnt out and exhausted- running on fumes?


I also urge you to invite your friends and family to join the conversation. I bet you’d find that most of the folks who look like they live in serenity are feeling just like you and me! There is a naughty saying in Japanese, “if we cross at the red light together, it’s not scary.” I’d like to propose a healthy twist on this- “If we all cross at the GREEN light together, it’s not scary”. Sometimes, it’s scarier to do the right thing, especially when it comes to self care. As a society, we are at our breaking point. We need help each other out…. It starts with honest, supportive conversation and positive feedback.



Take away things to think about:

What makes you feel calm? What makes you smile? What quiets the voices in your mind? What makes you feel like yourself?

When you are engaged in these activities, how does your body feel? Does your breathing change? Do tight neck and shoulders feel looser?


What can you trim down to make time for these activities? Less time on social media? Time limits on work? Can you let the laundry go an extra day? Let your hair airdry?

It’s OK to say no.

It’s OK to ask for help.

It’s OK if the bed isn’t made perfectly.

It’s OK to take time for YOU.