Fragmented Time

When we work, a short break is essential for our productivity and our sense of well-being. But what is the best ratio between working-time and the duration of a break? How often should we take a break and how long should that break last so that our time is most efficiently spent? So that our concentration is enhanced instead of being distracted? I’m sure that there are many studies, surveys and guidelines about this subject, answering all these questions. In the past, I never really thought about these things: I just worked, and when I needed a break, I took a break… Simple. But since the beginning of this year a back hernia and diaphragmatic hernia have been dominating my life resulting in a totally new view of the relation between working time and time for a break.

During this time I have been visiting a physiotherapist practicing a very specific (and quite new?) physical therapy technique for the lower back. It is called ‘origene’. I was told that there are very few physiotherapists who are licensed to give this therapy here, less than ten in the whole country. I won’t go now into many details on how this technique works – or how it  should work… But I will say that it involves patience; a lot of patience; patience that I don’t have lately…

A quick (and bad!) sketch of the origine ‘chair’ – just to give a rough example of how it works.

About eight weeks ago my physiotherapist found out that I wasn’t actually following her advice (resting in bed mainly). She was very strict about it: you either walk or you lay in bed; it is as simple as that! Sitting? Standing still? No more than ten minutes… I decided I should better do what she said this time. Laying flat in bed and walking, walking and laying in bed… And what about dinner? Eating while walking, eating laying flat or eating very quickly? My mind went off, wondering ‘how on earth can I paint?’ This takes too much time and I’m getting very impatient! During my last session I was happy to hear that I was ready for the next step: thirty minutes work followed by at least thirty minutes walk outside. ‘Walking inside does not count!’ was her reaction to my protest that I did walk regularly: 42 steps to fill my coffee cup, and I drink a lot of coffee – I walk for a refill… So now, I have to be setting the timer every half hour, put my coat on and go out for a walk; a walk that fills me with new images, sounds, smells, ideas and inspirations; a walk that distracts me from what I was doing and makes me want to start new things when I’m back. My time is very fragmented and so are my thoughts and ideas – concentration levels dropping…

I wonder how anyone can concentrate when time is so fragmented? To be honest, I really miss painting. I mean the real thing, painting as activity that makes you forget time and place, that makes you transcend to that space where there is only you and it – whether you call it Inspiration, Creativity, God, Enlightment, Genius, Cosmic Energy, Flow, Grace, Spirit, … it’s all about the same Creative Force.

Time’s up, I’ve reset the timer more than twice to write this post, now it’s walking time again.

Until next time!

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