Before I learned about the “alchemy of time,” I spent many of my days feeling overwhelmed by what I had scheduled. I felt, at times, resentful of my responsibilities, and dissatisfied with the quality of my time. Some mornings, I would look at my planned day and see a long to-do list of meetings, deadlines, work and personal obligations … and I would groan. I just wanted a free hour to catch my breath. I would “survive” the meetings and play whack-a-mole with the to-do list, all the while thinking, “If I can only get through this afternoon, then I can have a break.” Before I knew it, the day was over. I realized that I hadn’t really enjoyed it at all.
It is an utter waste of life’s energy to spend our time “suffering” through our days. Time is a precious natural resource, but I wasn’t valuing mine that way. I felt powerless. I couldn’t run away from my responsibilities, nor did I want to. I just wanted to be enjoying them more than I was. I wanted to love time.
It was this realization that led me to become a Time Alchemist.
Just as an alchemist transforms “normal” metals into gold, an alchemist of time transforms normal occurrences into golden opportunities. This means more than just being present, or having patience and an open mind in moments of stress or fatigue. Alchemists answer their higher calling by asking of themselves, “how can I transform this moment? What can I turn this into? How can I make magic out of something ordinary or mundane?”
Whether it’s a parent-teacher meeting, a conversation with an unruly employee, or an hour spent with financial projections, a time alchemist finds the opportunity to make a difference, to create a touch of magic, to deeply connect with someone, to learn something.
An alchemist sees the possibility for gold in everything they do. There are no “wasted” hours, or feelings of lack. Once I adopted this mentality, I started mastering time. I no longer tried to cram in as much as I possibly could, but instead savored the things that I did put in. I experimented with my schedule and the various energies I brought to each task. To dreaded obligations (taxes, bills) I added the feelings of gratitude and relief. To tasks that seemed challenging and tedious, I mixed in a sense of curiosity and inspired exploration. On Monday mornings, I opened my email inbox like I was opening an unearthed treasure chest. Each experiment yielded a reaction, and I took note of the lessons learned.
I learned this: Time itself is the golden opportunity. Time is the gift, the medium through which all of our other gifts are expressed. As alchemists, we can transform time into anything we please.