True Calling Tip: What Makes Time Disappear?

Posted by on December 4, 2013 in True Self | 8 comments

How do you know when you’re following your true calling?  Time disappears. No drugs necessary! 

My True Calling Tip

true calling tipWhenever I write a song, I close myself in my studio, pick up my guitar, and emerge several hours later feeling content and spaced-out.  Typically, I don’t know what I did during that time—it’s just a glorious waking dream—but I usually have a recorder handy to capture it for me.  A pleasing side effect of this experience is that I often write enough coherent pieces of music to put a song together later.  But, at the time of creation, it doesn’t matter to me whether the tune is good or not because the process itself is so richly enjoyable.  I lose myself in the most wonderful way, like a child.  My conscious experience is that the music writes itself.  It’s as if something bigger than me works through me as soon as I get my mind out of the way.  Time seems to vanish when I have this experience.  I am living in the moment. That’s my true calling tip.

true calling tipThis isn’t true for everything I do.  A few months ago I reconnected with an ex-colleague from my academic days.  When I described my songwriting process—how I “zone out” and lose all sense of time—she nodded at me.  “Me too, when I write psychology articles.” Bingo!  That’s why she’s still a college professor and I’m now an artist.  When I was a professor, my research writing experience was full of fits and starts. I checked the clock every few minutes, impatient to finish.  I did NOT get into a creative flow state, and I was NOT enjoying myself.  It was a requirement of my job, NOT part of my call. But writing research papers DOES put my academic friend in flow because it’s part of her call.  One woman’s pleasure is another woman’s poison.

true calling tipRemember Jane from our blog “What Fills You with Passion?” She tried to be a writer because her father was one, but the words just wouldn’t come. After eating a lot of ice cream and making a lopsided potholder, she eventually tried painting.

“The most interesting thing happened last night,” she told our class after her first experience with brush and canvas.  “I was upstairs painting while my husband was making dinner. Pretty soon I realized it was 9PM.  I’m really, really, getting into it.  I didn’t even notice the time go by.”  That’s when I knew Jane had found her calling.

Time just disappeared whenever she worked at her easel. In fact, Jane often failed to notice the rumbling of her stomach. Thank goodness her husband kept her dinners warm for her!  Jane discovered that painting was her true heart’s desire.  Months later she told me she won an award for a portrait of her husband. How fitting.

true calling tipSo what makes time disappear for YOU?  These are activities that really engage you and put you in the moment.  For me, it’s playing music, teaching, and writing this blog.  For my academic friend, it’s writing psychology research papers. Jane thought it would be writing but painting made time fly for her.

These activities could surprise you. You may not even know what they are yet.  Take a chance and experiment. This is one of the best clues you’ll get for discovering your true calling. 

This is my last blog on true calling tips; you can learn more about them in my upcoming book.  In the meantime, this is a great time to ask questions and share your stories.  I always love to hear your thoughts.


  1. ‘ It’s as if something bigger than me works through me as soon as I get my mind out of the way. Time seems to vanish when I have this experience. I am living in the moment’
    whatever the act, this is the creative process at its best

    • I agree. And it’s available to all of us once we find the outlet that matches our true calling.

  2. Another great blog!

    • Thank you!

  3. This is a great post and reminds me of one of my favorite books, Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi., which I think I first read around the time I was taking one of your psychology classes. : ) In it he describes doing something that’s right at your challenge point and how that contributes to this feeling of Flow

    • It’s one of my favorite books, too! Yes, you want to be doing something that challenges you, not too easy, but not too hard either, just so that it uses ALL of your attention. That puts you in the moment, in flow.

  4. This is a wonderful website! I read all your blog entries while sitting in my job I hate. Your blogs inspired me to get moving and answer some questions!

    • I’m so glad to hear that Kristina. YAY! Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

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