As 2020 approaches, time is in the forefront of my mind. Running deeper than lines on a clock face or flip of a calendar page (“swipe” for you digital divas), my concept of time morphed over the years and invisibly orchestrates my life.
On a grander scale, the new year transition symbolizes life itself — passing and birth, loss and gain, here and gone, doors closing and windows opening, full and empty, flowers dying back to bloom next season — transformations all illuminated by the paradoxical Tao. In the Tao, there is no beginning or end. It is simply a continuation of a force, an energy, the “flow.”
Like fraternal twins, eternal and forever share gossamer-like characteristics — forever indicating an endless or continual period of time; eternal meaning without beginning or end, always lasting. If something is eternal, it always is and always was. It exists outside of time.
If time is man made, why can’t we produce more of it? Does staying in this exact moment freeze time — being neither in the past or future but always and only right now? Is “staying in the moment” the only way to make time stand still?
Perhaps in the trinity of time — past, present, and future, the only way to feel like we control it IS to stay in the present. Look not behind or ahead. If that is the case, then I have no reason to say “Happy New Year,” but perhaps [be] “Happy Now.”
Raised in an anxiety-ridden home, it was stressful to live in the “now.” Far better to prepare for “what’s next,” I thought, even with its own undercurrent of anxiety.
A friend recently invited me to a year-long meditation but the voluminous information and instant marketing hype quickly drove me away. Unsettling. Like when I attempted meditation years ago in the standard seated position. Arduous. As soaking in a tub. Has this happened to you? Meditation offers many benefits but feeling stressed is not the goal.
Far more agreeable to me, are movement meditations such as hand drumming, walking, or being in the moment with Mother Nature. Fixed on berry picking, the smell of sun-ripening tomatoes and basil brushing my arm, or the infinite colors and textures of nature are far more relaxing and in-the-moment experiences for me.
One size doesn’t fit all. In many things, but meditation too. Giving myself permission to discover what works for me is key. Don’t know where to begin? Try leaving the cell phone behind and taking a walk outside. You may be pleasantly surprised by the calm in connecting with Mother Nature.
Daylight “saving time” is an oddity to me. The only time I think I’ve saved is when I am more efficient like writing my store note while my phone call is placed on hold. Other times it’s planning my route to accomplish the most along the way — or speeding up (just a little bit) to get somewhere sooner than later.
Being highly organized, I think I’ve saved a lot of time over the years but, sadly, there’s no place for its safekeeping — like a rainy day fund. Boy, I wish there was. Just think. If you could bank all those hours — kind of like the vacation time or sick days allotted at work — and use them where ever and whenever you want — like when you’re rushing to an appointment, just pull out an extra hour and that traffic jam doesn’t matter.
We could extend a vacation with extra time or in a macabre sense, have more time if diagnosed with a fatal disease. A friend with esophageal cancer told me, “Six months to live is just not enough time.” Think of it; if he could have been banking hours to extend his life, he’d have enough time to complete his bucket list.
How many times have you heard someone say, “I wish I could find the time.” So where is it? How can we find it? Numerous articles exist on time management. The one I offer here is by a favorite author of mine, Anne Lamott.
Regret often bears the lament, “What a waste of time.” Yet, in hindsight and particularly if lessons were learned, it was not a waste of time but an invaluable training ground.
My concepts of time have changed as time has changed me through the years. Going too slowly in my youth, they said I was wishing, wishing my life away when I could barely wait to be five, then thirteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one.
Years thereafter I lived in the past and worried about the future. Too often what was happening in the “now” was unpleasant and not where I wanted to be. It took a lot of retraining to attempt to stay in the moment.
Lately though, I’ve been so in the moment I’m wondering where did the time go? Somehow its evaporated, transformed into one longer moment from this moment into the next until the day is gone. Am I on accelerated speed? Are the clocks running fast? Time no longer lingers as when I was very young.
For most of my life, nature’s timing of the seasons seemed perfectly natural. Until these last few years, there was a consistency I do not feel in my own life even though I’m often living from one task to the next, one project, one calendar page to the next.
Now, my time spirals like a spinning top that one day will just stop. At least in the physical sense of here and now. Like perennials that bloom then wither and die to return again next year, being one with Tao offers eternity. But eternity sounds like “the future” to me. The traumas I’ve experienced and bagged up thus far have been exhausting. I don’t know if I could take eternity. Better to stay in the now.
And did you know Daylight Saving Time was originally conceived by Ben Franklin?
If I could freeze this exact moment in time, my skin would stay supple, my eyesight strong, and I would remain spry. So, even though I am staying in this moment in time, time itself is moving ahead — whether I like it or not — and I am running out of time.
The Daylight Saving Time change ill-affects me. Preferring to keep things as natural as possible, I don’t want my circadian rhythms messed with. They already have enough trouble from my PC, thank you. The Earth continues to rotate in 24-hour cycles. Are we going to try to change that too?
How do you perceive time? Has it felt different as you age? How do you feel about Daylight Saving Time? Does it have any affect on you?