Learning to Play with Time

My response to hearing people say, “I’m bored” or “I’m lonely,” used to cause a strange uneasiness, and I never could place it. Once I gave myself permission, I realized I was actually a little JEALOUS of the opportunity they had to get lonely or bored.  

From my place of feeling chronically overwhelmed and time-starved, and, holy criminy, totally short on what the Muppets call “Me Parties”, I would occasionally fantasize about going to jail for some minor crime (maybe amatuer sleuthing?) and in my fantasy I write like a comet, meditate Dalai Lama-ish for long, blissfully uninterrupted hours, and then sway to opera and esoteric jazz that I totally have time to appreciate, followed by much working outness and getting buff as shit.

CLEARLY not a vortex perspective on time.  

A few months ago I felt a very clear knowingness: I needed to leave my known life to slow Travel the world.  This was one of those dreams that I had let go of a thousand times, particularly each time I had a new bebbeh, or started a new community, or was feeling poor or confused.  

And oh! To have the dream resurface in the All Systems Go, every Green Light Blazing fashion was baffling and resplendent in equal measures. I had no idea what or why or who or how, but I recognized the feeling of something true and resonant to me lighting up on my path.  (And have a strong history of following those buzzes and having having things turn out brilliantly)

Dialoguing with the dream as it unfolded and came to be was, and holy heck, continues to be, a crash course in following my Yes.  

In the beginning, there were so many no’s to see and activate around, $? Work? Crew? etc, but if I was a good steward of my focus, there was also a very juicy and powerful yes to locate myself around.  Planning the shift from local to mobile business, appreciating the magical manifestations as they flowed in, doing energy work to clear out all the stuck stuff that had been keeping me from being a match for this dream all along etc.  For two months I leapt from Yes to Yes to Yes until the yes was to drive away, literally, into the sunset.  

That  yes leaping led me to getting more playful about my beliefs around time.  And as Abraham says, A belief is just a thought you keep thinking, even though the embedded beliefs about time felt as real as my bones and about as painful to remove.

I simply didn’t know exactly HOW dinked up about time I’d become until, in the midst of arguably the most time-starved periods of my life, I accidentally swiped a book from the house I’d been renting called “In Praise of Slowness.”   The book made its way into the bags I’d speed-packed in order to go slow travel the world. And to add to the irony of it all, when I actually discovered it, I almost tossed it. I mean, who has time for such things? Slow is not attractive. Speed is, fast is sexy.  

My unconscious reactions almost kept me from receiving the gift of my higher self (who apparently is not above swiping books) and was conspiring to turn on the lights in a room that had been rather dark: my unconsciousness around the truth about how to play with, in and through time.  And how do you know you need a switch flipped until you do?

We’d only been on the road four days, and had just landed at our first magically manifested space, and I was about to Get My Bustle On, business, scheming, doing doing doing.  And even if I wasn’t really doing this, in the back of my mind, I was thinking I should be.  

Of course I didn’t realize these things.  I was in them, woven into them and I had so many momentums going, so many projects, had my fingers in so many pies that there was always something, someone that needed my attention.  I was moving too fast to check if these were Yes or just stuff I’d inadvertently activated.

Then, suddenly, outside the RV, there was a human puddle, of tears and of a precious girl’s missing on her mamma, crying for her own sadness and for the unborn daughter in her womb who would never meet her grandmother.  

And the switch flipped.  I felt so absolutely inspired and clear, it was as if I were being physically moved as if by a great unseen wind.  In under a minute I grabbed a bag, blankets, water, and the Slowness book, and finally, her, oh so very gently, I led her up the mountain, with the children following slowly.  At that moment, I didn’t know exactly what had happened, I only knew that we needed to be on the mountain.  The procession was dreamlike.  Her crying came in waves. I felt into myself for the feeling of absolute synchronicity I feel in deep intuitive dancing, or in improvisational singing. I slowed way down to feel into the infinite field between us, matching my walking to the rhythm of her tears.

We made a nest for her in the crevice of some large rocks high atop the mountain and she asked for room to be as loud as she needed to be.  I climbed higher, looking for my own space, and found it in a kind of Lord of the Rings circle of mossy stones where I could feel the pull of the book, could feel its magnetic charge, the way you know someone has a gift for you by the lights in their eyes.

As I began reading, I could hear her crying and it was perfect. There was nowhere else to be.  Nothing else needed to be right now. There was room and time for the totality of this experience. I felt the gears in my heart slowing down.  

I read late into the morning, feeling relief, astonishment, relief relief relief.  Oh how thirsty my soul was for a mental confirmation of what it has always known, “slow down to the pace of your true delights” was some guidance I’d received six months ago and had quickly made a picture out of to share on FB and raced past any kind of real experience with such wisdom.

In the book, I learned about how the idea of time had come to be, in order to sync up people so they could work and connect.  I felt my shoulders release when I read about how time had been made into a virtue, how being on time was associated with being a good person, and how I had struggled with that my whole life as someone who gets lost in play and is often “late.”  I let myself fully feel the lifelong desire to have time be less rigid, to be harmonized by beingness instead of the box of preconceived time.

I realized how embedded in my psyche was the idea of maximizing time and how fucking unrelaxing that notion is.  It’s frenetic and scarcity based and completely untrue.

This low-riding urgency to Always Do More had become a kind of sickness.  Perhaps this is why I’ve felt so driven to get very good at playing deeply in lots of things, a way of saving myself from the chronic stress of Never Enough Damn Time.  And I only find absolute relief from it when I play very deeply, or drop all the way into meditation or deep creative, flow-inducing play.

After a while, the book closed, and I fell asleep.  It had given me the gift of turning on the lights.  I started to let myself unravel on the mountain again, watching the urges to go do something productive, to get things done, waves of urgency and hurry washed over me as I laid there and slowed down enough to be truly present with being truly present.  

I realized that there is no pace better than another. Fast or slow is wonderful.  Not moving or vast movingness, but what was actually going on was me realizing that I needed to be more honest about what I was actually lined up with. That the momentums of my life and what I was really aligned with were not happily lined up, and this created perpetual stress.  I realized that one of my hopes from the Travel by Yes mission was that it would help me reclaim my playful relationship with time.

In my mind I began to grid into the winged new region, what would it feel like to be loose and lined up with the pace of my dreams? What would a life sans urgency or discontent feel like?

I nearly laughed out loud.  What FREEDOM! and huge BURST OF JOY and SATISFACTION, a thousand layers deep.  I would feel so available to the dance of life, and so excited and so well tuned. I would feel that perfect balance between relaxed and activated presence that I find in flow state.  I would be in FLOW, oh, so flowing, so going with it, so glad for all of it. I would be in LOVE, oh, how my heart bursts open when I relax the urgency!

My heart is bust up in the writing of this.

I will always remember and re-enter that moment of coming off the mountain, and finding my friend, slowly eating an apple.  I knew exactly what to say, how to be.  I was an absolute and unresisting instrument of the Yes energy and in my great giving over to it, time disappeared, and I was free inside the love.

Now, I still forget how malleable time is, how joy expands it, how sharing joy expands it, how stories about time shortage draw in realities that are busy and urgent and lack any kind of deep presence or richness of time. But every time the old urgency comes over me, I remember the mountain, when I slowed down to the pace of my yes, and returned home.

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