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Creating Wellness: Taking Time, Making Time
Dr. Stephan Rechtschaffen

Stephan Rechtschaffen, M.D. is the president and co-founder of the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y., which for over 20 years has been a center for holistic studies. He has organized symposia and educational programs across the country, and lectures on health, wellness, nutrition, longevity, and time. Dr. Rechtschaffen is the author of Timeshifting: Creating More Time to Enjoy Your Life, and this is what he had to say to Gail Harris about that thing in life we seem to never have enough of. Time.

"Too many of us are living our lives without being aware of what's going on. There's a bumper sticker that says, 'Having a good time. Wish I were here.' For too many of us life is just passing by.

"Time, to me, is simply the rhythmic dimension of life. Each moment has a different speed to it. Sometimes we're bored and we think things are so slow. Other times we're excited and it's going very fast. Life has a way of shifting its rhythms. But what happens is we get stuck in one gear too much of the time, and in modern society, it's usually fast-forward. Timeshifting is about learning how to slow down when something is happening in our life that requires our attention in different ways.

"Timeshifting is really different from time management. Time management is where we're going to fit in as many things as we can. The problem is that nobody creates more time. Timeshifting is about having a different quality of time. It's not doing everything at once. It's experiencing what we're doing, and being here while we're doing it.

"Too many of us have a deal about the moment. It goes like this: 'I'll be here if it feels good. And if it doesn't, then I don't want to be here.' So we spend a lot of our time avoiding being present. The way we create time in our lives is not by adding six hours to the day-we would just fill that, too. Creating time is simply about being present for this moment right now.

"At least 80 percent of our time is spent doing the mundane tasks of everyday life: walking the dog, doing the dishes, the shopping, the laundry. Too many of us look at those tasks, and we want to fast-forward ourselves through it. We want to get on to the important stuff or the exciting stuff, and so we miss most of life.

"There's an opportunity here, in the everyday part of life, to really experience the simple joys of life. Now I'm not suggesting that's how we should we spend all of our time. But if we're in continual resistance to washing the dishes, or when we're washing the dishes, we're thinking about dessert, the problem is, when we get to dessert, we're not thinking about dessert. We're thinking about the movies. Everything is just slightly ahead of us, so we're never here. We always feel a little out of breath, a little stressed, just trying to get to the next thing. Even when we enjoy things, we're in the habit of thinking: 'When is the next thing happening?'

"We have a sense that if we had more money, or more success, then we would create time. It doesn't work that way. I look at the way our ancestors lived who had much less than us, but were often more content. I think we have to find a way to balance ourselves. Otherwise, we're just going to keep thinking, 'If I only go faster, then I'll get it. If only I had more, then I'd be happy.' Yet the more I see people getting, it doesn't seem to be doing it. There needs to be a different pace. And timeshifting is about changing the pace."

Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

Program Description
Stephan Rechtschaffen, M.D.
Reflection and Rediscovery
The Time of Your Life
Tell Me More

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