Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Concept of Time

Time is only a word. 

Words have incredible power and this word, in particular, has become the authority in our world today. We give it everything we have. We give in to it and let it shape our days, our plans, our futures. It has become everything we base our lives around. It is hard to even write about it without giving in to it's all-encompassing dominance. 

To me, time is a four-letter word. It is something that I have allowed to become less of a word and more of a dictator. There is "never enough time" or I always "want more time". Or I hear myself saying, "I just need some time..." like it is something I can take and hold in my hand.Then there are the experiences where "I have wasted my time..." or I "stayed here way too long." Time feels like it is creeping up slowly or rapidly shooting beyond me. I am paused in the middle of these two experiences wondering, "What the hell is this all about?"

Expectations around my time can be maddening. It is maddening to plan a schedule around time, show up on time, leave on time, know the "right" time to say anything important, etc. It is wild to me that we can be judged by our respect of time. I judge people if they have not "respected my time" like it is something that I own, like it is mine and this is all I get. 

I have preached that "time is the greatest expression of love" because when you give it to someone you will not get it back. Once it is gone, it is gone. While I do believe this, I am beginning to wonder if I want to let my life truly live on a scale that only exists from birth to death and "my time" is whatever happens in between. Is that really my time? Do I really believe that my time is so limited? 

Time is a human creation. Calendars, clocks, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, we created this situation for ourselves and we live by these rules. Time rules everything we do. It is the god we worship and bend our lives around to please. But yet, who is really happy about how they spend their time each day? Who is fully satisfied by each moment that you are able to be alive on this sweet earth? The more I focus on time, on my time, the more unhappy I become. I have a feeling that I am not alone in this experience.

Last night, I had a dream about a day without time. Just having one whole day (which is a an expression of time itself) without time. I dreamed that I turned off my clocks, my phone, the corner of my computer that tells the time, and I did not think about it. I simply woke up when I woke up. I stepped out onto my porch and I sat and listened to the cicadas and ate my breakfast until I was ready to do the next thing. Then I went to the mountains and wandered the Blue Ridge Parkway. I noted that the light changed it's angle on the leaves and that the day grew warmer, but I did not think about time. Suddenly, I was at our family cabin and friends were there and we practiced yoga together. I don't know how long we did this, we just did it until we were all ready to do something else. Then we cooked a meal and ate it together. After cleaning up this meal, we sat around a table to paint. The evening grew cooler and the light began to fade and we did not think about time. Even when it became dark out, we just ventured into the night (also an expression of time) and marveled at the stars dancing across the sky. One by one, folks wandered off to rest because they had grown tired and we still did not think about time. 

This was a dream, but I know it has more meaning than that. It is also what I want to create for people and for myself. I am working own a Painted Prayers retreat to the mountains and I plan to re-create something of this dream experience. This retreat weekend will be a weekend without time. There is no need to know what time it is when you wake up or how long you have to eat, breathe, meditate, paint, practice yoga, or hike. You do it all for as long as you would like to do it. Our only indicator of time will be that ball of light marching across the sky and nothing more. The pressures of a schedule will not be present nor will the expectation that each person needs to get everything done that lives on that plan we made. The point is to BE present to what is happening, what you are being called into and how you are being discovered by yourself and by your friends on this journey. 

All of these photos were taken at our family cabin- my place of true rest

When it comes to time, the only thing that we are truly meant to be doing is being. We are human beings. We are human beings. We are being present to the Divine and letting that presence guide our lives. We are being present to one another, to the moment at hand, to the gifts of provision that are being placed in our lives. When we fill our lives with the marked schedules of time then we begin to fill them with the distraction of continual doing. What fills our lives, our hearts, our souls is being able to experience love, light, growth, creativity, connection, and hope. Doing has a huge place in that, but only next to first being present to the moment you have been given before you act upon it. There is great wisdom in the power to simple BE in a moment and to discern your place in it. 

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