The concept of time has long since fascinated me. I am delighted to be part of a series of blog posts concerned with this very concept and put together by a new friend, Linda, who writes a fascinating blog entitled Litebeing Chronicles. This post of mine together forms part of her Time machine blog challenge and I was honoured to be have been asked to join a group of thought provoking and stimulating writers.
If I am honest I have always held a deep desire to ‘stretch time’ and I thrive in a busy and productive environment. Thus if I can stretch time more can be realised. Do not mistake this for a clambering for artificial success or societal achievement as that is not what I mean. My ‘ambition’ is much simpler than that and relates to the desire to live life to the full. So my stretching of time could mean working on a creative project with a known deadline with a team of creative and divergent thinkers or it could equally mean stealing an afternoon to walk and meditate. The concept of stretching remains the same in both contexts and focuses on a deep desire of life and living.
I think somewhere along my life path I have indeed mastered the skill of stretching time as I am constantly confronted with the same observation from people around me. Their comments reflect a confusion about how I manage to fit so much into a single day. I know part of the answer and that is that I have a ridiculously organised brain. It processing and assimilates information at speed allowing me to structure all that I do with great precision. Along with that comes a natural stamina that has only ever been challenge when I was diagnosed with a chronic illness over 12 years ago. I am slower than I was but I still manage to use my brain to stretch time. The other bit of the answer is less clear to me and so more difficult to explain.
When I was about 10 years old I attended my first dance class with a friend and we arrived bound in nervousness and excitement. We watched a simple movement pattern by our teacher and then we were to copy. I had never danced a step before in my young life. The first attempt to copy was clumsy and I had to concentrate on just remembering the steps so the movement was limited. After several attempts I had the movement pattern down and as I danced it over and over again time completely stopped. I realise that this is hard to understand but I can assure you that it is true. In those few moments as a fledgling dancer I learned to stop time.
Of course being so young I didn’t know that this was the case. All I knew was that I loved to dance and it is a love affair that has lasted a lifetime. I have danced my way through life as others have walked, contemplated or performed. I am at my most creative when I dance and I find a freedom that does not exist in the spoken word that we so often depend on to communicate. That all said it took until about 8 years ago until I fully engaged with what was happening when I danced and what the relationship between this and time was and is.
We construct time through a combination of natural and artificial influences. The changes seasons and the ebbing and flowing of light and darkness help to create a cocoon of the very known within us. We are not content with that though as we layer it with the concepts of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. All of these are artificially constructed yet we hold onto them very tightly. I hold onto them too when I am working with a project constructed by a deadline which is a date on my artificial calendar. So I buy into these constructs as well. However, I don’t buy in all the time and as I age I have created some healthy distance from them. I only ever achieved this when I danced. When dancing I lose sense of time except for a tenuous link to musical time which I see as less artificial and more organically created than other constructs of time. My relationship to time becomes separated as mind and body come together as one and all external beings with the parallel context that I inhabit are lost to me. As the ‘dance’ finds its natural conclusion I once again become aware of beings and time as our two contexts merge and I once again plug into time and its passing.
I am a much devoted Buddhist and have been for a good number of years now and as a religion it too attempts to penetrate the concept of time using meditation as a way of stopping time as a passing concept and learning to inhabit the concept of time fully rather than just being a passenger travelling with it. This is where my fusion occurs. I have come to understand the value of stopping time through both dance and meditation and I feel blessed to have discovered both in my own lifetime. What binds both of these activities together is their ability to bring mind and body together. Far too many of us live in our heads and only pay attention to our body when it is stimulated or emits pain. My chronic illness is pain based and not curable by traditional medications so I have used my ability to stop time as a crucial part of my healing tool box. When time stops mind and body are as one and a symbiotic communication is established that is capable of restoring if not always healing. With significant practice of both dance and meditation I have learned how to train that symbiotic communication to exist on its own merit. It has its own breath pattern, its own senses focused dialect and its own habitation of space. Thus it can not be measured by artificial constructs such as time.
Some might argue that this new space in existence is just me stretching time again but I would disagree. Stretching makes me extend time in order to place more within its boundaries. Stopping time removes those boundaries all together. The stopping of time is incredibly uplifting both spiritually and laterally as we inhabit a space that recognises no boundaries and accepts no interventions from other beings. I am not sure it matters how one achieves this new time abandoned space or state as long as it does not harm the mind or body in the process.
After 12 years of the challenge to find wellness it is now slipping away from me. My answer to that is being constructed just at this time and will become clear in the very near approaching days. I am currently creating a new pattern of existence in an attempt to reverse the decline in my health and I can assure you that my relationship with time is at the epicentre. In the coming days I will be sharing this new construct with you all and looking forward to your comments, feedback and advice as always. It is a necessary and. I hope, healing intervention that will purchase me with less pain and increased mobility. Although an enforced intervention due to illness I am, nevertheless excited by the prospect and the new learning it will invariably generate. The challenge will be recorded both here and on my meditation and intuitive journaling website and I hope to involve others in this experimental journey. I can confirm that in this instance I am using an artificial time construct as the challenge will last for 365 days, after which I will review.
As always I look forward to new living while being thankful for the moment. Stop by soon for much more on, what I hope, is an enlightened existence. We shall see.