Ever been to the islands and experienced “island time”? It’s laid back, casual, relational … the exact opposite of our busy, scheduled, hyper productive daily lives here in the States.
I recently travelled to Jamaica for a second time and found myself struck by how stuck I was in the go-go-go mentality of my normal life. It took a couple of days for me to get on island time, but once I made the transition … well, my world completely changed.
What is island time?
- Quiet time. It’s a drastic decrease in noise and the influx of messages. Imagine little to no social media, television, wi-fi, mobile phones, music …
- Alone time. Ironically, this alone time actually leads to quality social interactions. When you’re forced to you to be with yourself, you learn to listen to yourself and take care of yourself. We’re much better for others when we approach them from an authentic, healthy place. “Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.” (Parker Palmer in Let Your Life Speak)
- Unhurried time. It’s living in the moment. Presence. It’s being in the habit of doing what Jim Eliot urged: “Wherever you are, be all there.”
What happens when you’re on island time?
- You feel.
- You heal.
Here’s the thing (and I tell my clients this all the time): Feeling is scary. In fact, it almost pretty much sucks at first. It’s overwhelming. Honestly, it makes you feel a little bit crazy. And that makes sense — because we spend our lives keeping the depth of our feelings at bay. We even use the good stuff in our lives as barriers. But when you’re on island time, that shit comes to shore.
And all of a sudden, alone, faced with quiet and casual … we sense our vulnerability, our shame, our self-loathing, our fears … and we have a choice — get real or get by. Two days into my most recent vacation, I chose to get real. I let myself feel. I explored what I’d been avoiding and it got less scary. It started to feel less overwhelming and more like freedom. I felt more whole.
So, island time rocks.
And now that I’m used to it, I don’t want to lose it. The point: I’m back home, back to life and still on island time. I’m actively resisting the constant pressure to hurry and avoid. I’m blocking out alone time. I’ve spent hours sitting quiet in the sun. And it’s been good.
So, I’m praying that you will find a way to embrace a little “island time” in your lives this week. Get quiet, get alone and slow down. You need it. We all do.