Give me your bucket list! demanded the mouse to the elephant. NO! she squealed as he passed an old crumpled note hidden in the depths of his trunk. Not the one of things to do before you die. The one for things to do before tomorrow. I need to see if it’s better than mine!
Old early C21 proverb
These are the thoughts on the state of affairs of our living that ran through my mind after an online chat with a friend this morning. She had posted an article about our relationship to time. The basis of its argument was that people, namely women, need more time, less clothes. The article didn’t do much for me and it was more what my friend had said herself about her value of time for which I shared my thinking, responding with these words;
Tragically, if we allow it, Old Father Time becomes the most precious commodity of all. And ironically, the current uber-phase of mindfulness, inviting our awareness in the present moment, is being commodified to the brink and, for me, this just seems to undo so much of what it can be greatly about. Time can’t truly be bought and it’s only when we step back enough from the pressure to do more, spend more, be more than ourselves, we can begin to experience time in abundance and learn it’s deepest value. This certainly can’t be sold to us but we do need to unpick our societal crushing of time to connect to it in this way. So hard when so much of our seeming value and worth we attribute to being all singing, all dancing human ‘doings’. I was just thinking, in a moment of lulling, maybe in some eyes ‘wasting my time’ (ha ha), sometime last week, as I listened to the church bells strike whatever time of day it was, for centuries this was the primary marker of time in our day-to-day ongoings. Something audible, visceral and something to embed within our daily rhythm. Forming a rhythm and life beat for us all of it’s own. I love to imagine and dream our relationship to urgency then. It would have been so far removed from what it is now. Ahhhhhhhh. So, are we vessels with time passing through us or is time just a vessel and we are passing through it?
She replied. She said this resonated with her very much and then asked what I thought of the article. Bugger, I thought to myself, to say in any depth what I thought about it would mean I need to re-read again though this time, actually take my time, rather than skim through at a rate of knots, so I can consider and properly engaged in a potentially juicy dialogue about a subject dear to my heart. Yes! Our ever evolving relationship to time.
This enquiry was the ground of The Fear of Falling; a project that explored what our relationship to time might have been like before the advent of the Industrial Revolution, looking at our connection with water and the process of making by hand as a means to question how significantly it has changed in the almost two last centuries.
Of course we cannot know this. How people experienced time then and over millennia passed. But, actually, maybe we can. And maybe we do. It has been an ongoing and crazy preoccupation of mine, one that has stayed with me as long as I can remember and feeds and nourishes my own relationship to this, our life.
We talk about our time on earth but, it would seem, this phrase of reference mostly refers to the personal. Spoken in context, our time on earth relates individually to yours and mine. How can we make the most of our time here on this planet, fleeting and as precious as it is, is a decision that lies predominately with the individual. Generally it is not a greater question. Sadly I believe.
So, channeling the White Rabbit this morning, as I enjoyed a rare child-free day to scoot around town and return school uniform items, dive in and out of the post office, run like the wind and make the most of each uninterrupted minute, I mulled and mulled again this question within my racing mind. And, how, I wondered, can I find the time to write today, pen and eschew these ramblings within the little window of preciousness that I have created?
I drove home with a list in my mind; unpack, check son’s school shoes are OK to keep, grab lunch, book a train journey, cancel an appointment for next week, phone the campsite AND write a piece about time before I do my listening partnership in less than 90 minutes time…..
DEEP BREATH White Rabbit DEEP BREATH
And I thought of this notion, the one I put to my friend this morning;
So, are we vessels with time passing through us or is time just a vessel and we are passing through it?
And I thought some more.
And then I ran through the list and ran through what was possible with this seemingly tight, tight time-frame.
Will I be able do all this?
No, I thought. Wisely.
Will I try do all of this?
Yes, I thought, knowing myself far too well.
Will a little voice squeak up, maybe C21 Mousey, and say I’m lazy if I don’t try?
Yes, I surmised.
Will I try get it all done whilst marveling at the gem of an idea that I am simply a vessel passing through infinity.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Oh! How hard it is to jump off this bandwagon of doing, incessantly doing?
Time, you old marvel. You enrich us beyond our wildest dreams. We cannot commodify you. We cannot pick you up when it suits then abandon you when something more exciting comes our way. You wrap yourself from the first seeds to the farthest reaches and climb back again. Endlessly. You exist now. NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW.
I see your figure of eight. I see your DreamTime. I feel your DreamTime. I know this.
And I see the minutes on the clock nearing 2.30pm which means time to start my listening partnership with a dear wonder soul of a friend. To drop back into time beyond measurement. The most priceless gift of all.
Wouldn’t it be nice if her and I, you and me, our children and beyond, knew once more, the rythmn of the church bells chime, knew it in our collective cells? I ask again, what would our experience to time and this life, our life, be like then, my friend?
Do you know?
Image: Source unknown