Present at 30,000 Feet

Present at 30,000 Feet

As I write this from 30,000 feet, looking down on the snowcapped Rocky Mountains, I am literally traveling forward into the future of February 13th, 2016.

I’m on my way from Seattle to Nicaragua and, thus, moving forward two hours in time zones.

Just by moving from west to east, two hours of my life have disappeared in a bleary-eyed “poof”. Of course in a few days, upon my return, I’ll gain that time back—yet here in my United sponsored time-machine, I can’t help but be more aware of the elasticity of time and our relationship to the structures that we impose upon it.

As the Executive Director of a fast-moving, entrepreneurial, and global organization, time can often be felt as fleeting and scarce. Our staff works hard to deliver transformative training programs for emerging and established social leaders from around the world and this often means coordinating across multiple time zones.

Our work does not conform to a singular clock and, over the years, this has taught me some important life lessons at the intersection of time, work, and connection.

One of these lessons is that time cannot can be saved, only spent—and connected to this lesson is the importance of the present moment.

As humans, while we have created structures that allow us to transact with time as a means of exchange, it does create an illusion that we can somehow “bank” time for use at a later date. I know that I have often allowed this idea to guide my decision-making and to postpone important things under the banner of “when I have the time”.

Truth be told, this line of thinking has not served me well. It has led me to make poor choices and unhinge from the now. Most problematic is when time is spent on those things that move me away from connection and wholeness—to myself and to others. For this reason, I have been working to be more skilled at being present in each moment and to accept my relationship to and responsibility for it.

And, here at 30,000 feet as this plane speeds forward ahead of the rotating Earth and disrupts digital time, I feel very aware of the present and the constraints of the clock.
How clearly I can see that the important question is not WHEN (as in “what time is it?”) but “WHERE am I?”

So dear friends, at this moment, Where are YOU?

In 2016, iLEAP is happy to be partnering with the Amani Institute on the #24more campaign to call attention time and how we spend it. #24more is built around the rather mundane phenomenon of adding 24 hours every four years to our calendar, but at its core I believe #24more is about awareness and reclaiming our relationship to time. We invite you to visit to learn more.

Britt Yamamoto

Britt Yamamoto

Some years ago Britt came upon the Raymond Williams quote that, "to be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing." Along these lines, iLEAP was created as a radical ideal, a welcome home amidst all the social and ecological ill that surrounds us, firm in the belief that what the world needs now are more inspired and renewed social leaders who have the capacity to change the world. Oh, and to laugh a, a lot, along the way.