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)*
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.
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.