Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time Flies (or Not)

I don't know where I first heard the expression "Time is Elastic" but I use it a lot. I like it. It well describes the phenomenon of what we call time.

Time can fly and drag equally. Time can be both long and short. It can move quickly or slowly. A minute can feel like a second or an hour. An hour can feel like a minute or a day.

It's all about perception.

I once watched a documentary about a reformed bank robber and he talked at length about "stopping time". He could actually slow time down to a stand-still in order to get the job done. He manipulated time to work in his favour by being present.

I've worked with an acting coach who talked about "owning time", which was essentially her way of saying, "be in the moment". We could empower ourselves, she was saying, by being present.

Time flies when we're having fun but it also flies when we're not really present in our lives. I know that when I'm running around trying to get things done I'm not in my life. I trying to get things over with and I'm missing my life all together.

When we are present, when we are really here, now, time will not fly. It will barely move.

As I sit here the clock on the wall ticks away the seconds. If I stop typing and listen to the tick-tick-tick it actually slows down. A watched pot never boils.

I lived most of my life trying to get it over with. When it was Monday I'd be living for Friday. When it was Friday I'd be living in dread of Monday. I'd be living for Christmas when it was still September or living for July in the bleak mid-winter. I was not in my life. I was in my head, future-tripping.

It's taken me years of practice to let go of that way of living and believe me, I don't do it perfectly. But every new day gives me the opportunity to continue practicing being in my life, being in my day, in my body, with my breath. Present.

Animals are great inspiration. A couple of summers ago I was in Keno City, an old mining town in the north of the Yukon, and I and a couple of friends were exploring some of the abandoned, run-down buildings where the miners had once lived.

I found a sunny platform and sat down for a rest. The sun was shining, the fall colours were luminous and the far mountains had fresh snow on their peaks. A Richardson Ground Squirrel (or a gopher to some) popped up from a hole in the decaying floor of what once may have been a kitchen.

He sat very still, the wind blowing his fur, his eyes blinking in the bright sun. He sat and sat and sat. He did not move. I was mesmerized. Was he thinking? If so, what was he thinking? He wasn't being busy, cleaning himself or scratching or eating. He was simply being. For ages!

I often think of that little guy when I'm getting squirrelly. Can I just be? Can I just let go of everything and simply experience what is happening around me without judgment or thought?

It's a great challenge and one that brings me a lot of peace. I can slow time down and enjoy my life. What a concept.

Inspiring Message of the Day: If animals get to simply be all day long, why not us? Maybe we don't have to DO anything. Maybe we just have to BE.

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