Reviews

Time in a Bottle

by Nancy Humphreys on August 1, 2014

Time in a Bottle, by Howard Falco

Time in a Bottle: Mastering the Experience of Life
by Howard Falco (NY: Tarcher/Penguin 2014, review copy provided).

The introduction to this book is titled, “Eternity is Just a Moment Away”. My only criticism of this book is that the author didn’t use this phrase as its title.

While there is a lot of wisdom in the book that you may be familiar with, the key insight of the author is that our feelings of “There just isn’t enough time…” stem from not living life in the present moment.

It’s like being a house divided against itself when we fret about the amount of time we have to do a particular thing. The worry robs us of the full intention and attention needed to get that thing done.

The phrase “time in a bottle,” along with the image of the hourglass resting on a dock over the water on the front cover, focuses on the problem Howard Falco is tackling rather than on the solution he offers.

I would have preferred an image of the hourglass being broken open with its sand spreading out into a wide, sandy beach promising a day of infinite pleasure at the shore. After reading this book that’s where my day headed—right back to those summer days of childhood joy at a whole day to play.

By the time I finished the last chapter of this book, I had stopped worrying about getting things done. I started saying a mantra I made up, “I have all the time I need to do the thing I most need to do today.”

I focused on what I really wanted to do. I stopped postponing writing by jotting down an idea and sketching out an outline of what I wanted to say, only to forget to come back to that idea for years if not forever.

I changed my mind about what else to do that morning. I settled in and wrote a compete post for my blog—even though I didn’t need to post anything on it right away. I gave myself permission to indulge my whims for the day.

It wasn’t, as Falco’s subtitle would suggest, that I somehow “mastered” anything, It was rather that I let go of trying to master time.

I jumped into its flow and let it carry me through the day. Only when I had to go to an appointment later in the afternoon did the spell of serenity and spaciousness lift.

Today I’m trying for the same effect. This article is my first step. I invite you to join me. The water is a bit choppy this morning, but I’m sure the sun will be out soon.

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