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Bucking the Culture Ain't Easy

   Of whims and harmony ... that is our way.

Of whims and harmony ... that is our way.

In silence, man and shadow met face to face, and stopped. Aloud and clearly, breaking that old silence, Ged spoke the shadow’s name and in the same moment the shadow spoke without lips or tongue, saying the same word: ‘Ged.’ And, the two voices were one voice. … Light and darkness met, and joined, and were one.  Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea

The truth of the matter is self-honesty in all things. Gregge Tiffen, Open Secrets: The Nature of Feminine Truth (March, 2011) 

Practicing oneness requires the self-honesty acknowledge the darkness within.

Slowly the light is returning. Soon the day will be equal in its light and darkness, and the darkness will give way to more hours of light. A cycle: one of many cycles within cycles that is the natural order of the Universe.

We humans though think we know better than the order of the Universe. We create tools of separation and control: calendars, clocks, daylight savings time and build a culture that honors such tools over the wisdom of the Universe.

This week, though I sprang my clocks forward, I chose to ignore them as much as possible. As is generally my habit, I’ve risen upon waking and allowed each day to flow from there. Even with few timed commitments, I found myself noticing the time and correcting thoughts about being ‘late’ as I went about my day. The exercise reminded me how deeply imbedded ‘time’ is in our culture.

Our culture also holds ideas about how we ‘should’ use our time. Since closing the B&B, I’ve felt a strong pull, guidance if you will, to ‘read, write, connect more deeply in nature, and empty’. I’ve followed that guidance less than I’d like to admit. After all there are taxes to prepare, firewood to stack, and – oh, yeah, shouldn’t I be doing something to generate income?

But these little things (yep, in the grand scheme they are but tiny blips despite how I allow them to interfere with my peace) pale in comparison to bucking the violence that pervades our culture. Violence is monetized (and, not just by the ‘war’ machine, but also in medicine, pesticides, and more). It is deeply imbedded in our language and our history.  Sadly, our cells know much about violence.

I’d like to believe that I’m not a part of this violence. But alas, there is a mirror that, in Oneness, reflects right back to me. In that mirror I see the justifications that I claim for my own acts of violence: if I don’t kill the mice, they will …; my blood type is ‘O’ so my body needs meat; my curiosity takes me to violent movies like Black Panther and Star Wars; mosquitos carry disease (and are sooo annoying!). These are only a few of the mindful choices I make. Sometimes I squish a spider before I’ve given it a thought.  And, so it is in our culture.

Creating a new culture requires facing up to my contributions to the culture we have. Practicing oneness requires the self-honesty acknowledge the darkness within.

As I look to the courageous students who walked out of schools yesterday calling for an end to gun violence, I’m filled with encouragement for the world they envision and the world that is theirs to create. I’m proud to march with them whether in spirit or body.  And, yet I wonder if I have the will to buck my own violent habits as a contribution to ending violence on our planet? For if I don’t, how can I expect others to do the same?

This is the challenge of our oneness with all things and with one another. I am all the beauty and the light in this world.  I am also the darkness. I am That, I am.

   A Hazy Mountain Morning

A Hazy Mountain Morning

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Batting Practice: Time Or Energy?

   The flow is increasing, Cottonwood Creek widens and the sound of the gentle stream is a roar. That's the energy of Spring and Summer!

The flow is increasing, Cottonwood Creek widens and the sound of the gentle stream is a roar. That's the energy of Spring and Summer!

We are to implement what the Universe puts before us, or we lose energy. We use the energy to meet the requirement when the requirement is there in order to gain from that cycle of ‘time’. This is functioning according to Universal time.  Gregge Tiffen (Impatience Fishes In An Empty Pond – June, 2008)

Some folks don’t like baseball because it isn’t a time limited game. When I lived in Houston years ago, I was an Astros fan and attended what turned out to be one of the longest games in baseball history: 22 innings or such and ending at 2am.  Based on our experience, we have an idea of what energy and time will be required when we begin a project or a task. But we don’t know how it will unfold or what twists will be presented.

It’s challenging in our world to not live and be limited by the clock.  We use time to pressure ourselves and we allow other people and conditions to pressure us with ‘deadlines’. We’re surrounded by visual and audio reminders to be ‘on time’.

We forget that the Universe didn’t create time. The Universe created cycles. Within those cycles energy flows, and it falls to we humans to use and direct that energy for our benefit in the experiences life presents. From these we gain knowledge.

I found myself exhausted one day recently and had the thought that it was like I’d been at batting practice all day, swinging against every pitch that came my way.  I realized that my attention for most of the way hadn’t been to use and direct energy. Rather I was ‘getting things done’ on a mostly self-imposed schedule. I was doing each task so I could check it off of my list and get to the next.  I was working against myself and being exhausted by my focus time.

Unlike the batter who uses the start of a new cycle after a pitch to reset and refocus for the next pitch, I didn’t hold each task as a cycle. I didn’t honor the completion of one task and give myself the gift of resetting and looking at the energy requirement needed before I engaged in the next.  I was doing, not directing energy. 

As I look to the week ahead, I’m going to experiment with stepping out of the batter’s box between Universal pitches. In doing so, I aim to bring more awareness and choice to how I direct my energy. And, at when I’m done, to feel complete and satisfied, not unsettled, exhausted, and anxious about what I didn’t get done.  Care to join me here at ‘home plate’?

   Patiently waiting while Mom takes pictures and some quiet moments by the creek.

Patiently waiting while Mom takes pictures and some quiet moments by the creek.

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Father Time: Order or Control?

A wise and benevolent father protects the day-by-day life of his progeny and prepares them for an endless journey of growth, development, and maturity.  Gregge Tiffen (Father Time – June 2007)*

  Eat When You're Hungry ...

Eat When You're Hungry ...

Benevolence, an inclination to do good or be kind, and wisdom having or showing good judgement, are qualities worthy of developing. We tend to think of benevolence as an outward gesture, doing good for others. Recently, I’ve been reading more of Gregge Tiffen’s early work and reflecting on time, the clock and how it is used as a mechanism for manipulation and control.  It led me to think that we might be wise to take a different look at time.

This week, many will honor fathers and father figures for their roles in preparing us for this journey called life.  The benevolent, wise father created context and order in our early life giving us a foundation on which to set sail on our course in life.  For them, we are grateful.

Others lived a different experience: fathers, who lacking wisdom and benevolence, sought to control. For them, with forgiveness, we can also be grateful. And, perhaps that forgiveness can come more easily when we understand that fathers may feel trapped in systems that equate success with control and that honor time over natural instinct and cycles.

Harmony is the essence of nature and natural cycles. As I experiment with living less by the clock and more by awareness of my personal cycles, I feel more harmonious within.  And, I’m discovering that’s not so easy to do in this world.

  Rest When You're Weary ...

Rest When You're Weary ...

We use time as a weapon. I found myself doing just that this morning when I called the sign painter to inquire about progress on my Dragonfly House sign that was to be finished a few weeks ago. In a world where systems are built on time, I find it hard to let go and trust that the sign will be ready in divine perfect time.  And yet I know how negatively deadlines impact me. I wonder why it’s difficult to extend that knowing to be compassionate with others about time. Then I realize that I live in the midst of accepted systems where time is used to control and that I’ve bought into them.

We put pressure on ourselves with words and beliefs about scarcity of time (‘I don’t have time …’). Over the years, I’d guess that this has been a concern of over half of my coaching clients, as it has been for me in the past. Some years ago, I broke the habit of using that language and replaced it with ‘I have enough time for everything that is important in my life’. Slowly that became my belief. With practice we can ease the pressure and begin to make choices that honor our natural rhythms – not as a program to complete, but as an exploration of a different way to live, a way that, in my experience, offers much personal satisfaction, harmony, and peace. 

Eat when you’re hungry. Rest when you’re weary. Bloom when you’re ready. That may be the best of benevolence and wisdom in a world that sometimes seems to have lost both.

 Bloom When You're Ready ... That's wisdom and the ultimate self-kindness.

Bloom When You're Ready ... That's wisdom and the ultimate self-kindness.

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