Posted by: C J | July 3, 2012

This July Fourth will you be Spending time—

Are you emotionally serving time

           or Serving time with    your loved ones???

Years ago when I worked on a chemical dependency unit in Pueblo, Colorado a coworker Dave, asked a support group;  “Are you spending time with your family or serving time with them?” Some 15 years later the looks on the clients’ faces as they struggled with that question, still stirs my spirit and I have often asked that question to my clients, plus I asked “How does your family view that same time with you?”

I’m sure that you know a few of those people who are oblivious to how others experience them. They see themselves as a shining light and others see them as a dark night. Anyway today I want to talk about spending time versus serving time.

Let’s be clear on what I mean by spending time and serving time.  Spending time means you are with the people you want to be with: right here – right now.  Serving time means you are feeling obligated to be with these people, right here, right now and would rather be somewhere else.

If you spend a lot of time around people including relatives that you would rather not be with— my friend you are serving time not spending time.

A few things I have learned over the past few years are:  ‘time’ is precious, time is priceless, and time cannot be returned once you spend or serve it.

As humans we love connecting with others, which is why the social media outlets are so popular. We love to share our triumphs, losses, and near-misses with each other. We crave that human connection whether it is face to face or via internet. When you’re angry you want your network to be angry with you. When you’re happy you want them to jump for joy too. It is just who we are – creatures of collective comfort.

“Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.”   Aleksei Peshkov

There are times when we would rather be home alone than to be with folks who dampen our hopes, dismiss our dreams, or not even know we’re doing our best. But we go to events –subject ourselves to their presence just to keep the peace and not stir that proverbial s- pot. You know what I mean by that. After serving time I feel depleted, heavy, exhausted and wish I didn’t have that obligation. Have you been there too? I bet you have!

And there are times when I’m so excited to be in the company of family or friends that I just don’t want the day or night to end. Those are the times when the connections remind us that life is good, time is short, and we need people to support our creative spirit. I always feel so vibrant and alive when I’ve spent time with like-minded people or those people who energize me and soothe my soul. ‘AHA’ -that’s it soul-soothers or soul-disturbers — which one do you spend time or serve the majority of your time with?

“If you want to grow you must surround yourself with like-minded people”.  Dr. Robert Anthony

Who is it that allows you to be replenished, refreshed, and revived? Spend more time with whoever that is.  Shhh, don’t tell anyone — but sometimes that might mean being comfortable with being alone.

“Spend some time alone every day.”  Dalai Lama

There are health reasons for you to spend quality time with others compared to serving time. There are times we incarcerate ourselves by our perception of what others expect or want from us and therefore end up serving time.

Five reason to connect and spend quality time:

  1. Stress relief
  2. Increased joy
  3. Improved relationships
  4. Boost your energy
  5. Allows you to receive as well as give

Come back soon for another cup of comfort…


  1. Serving time, wow, I’ve got to be more selective with this precious gift of time.
    Thanks again for opening my eyes…. again…

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