Sometimes my life feels so very busy that I can’t seem to find the time to breathe, especially to inhale deeply in a way that rejuvenates me and resets my energy levels. Then I read this from Julia “Main Babe” Nusbaum, founder of HerStry, a vibrant writing group I participate in:
I think the universe broke my computer to remind me to breathe. So let me save you the frustration of a broken computer and remind you to sit and savor a cup of coffee, put on your cute shoes just to put them on, even if no one sees them. Water the garden and enjoy the sunshine. Take a walk. Go have a drink at a bar (if you are fully vaccinated, that is!) Just take a break. You deserve it.
A welcome reminder that time is a constant which remains everpresent, no matter how we as individuals may view it, fill it and use it.
This leads me to ponder:
- How do people arrange their time and space?
- Is the way they arrange their time and space in reaction to internal, as well as external influences/factors?
Indigenous cultures around the world have very different perceptions of time, and arrange their space very differently, to those in non-indigenous communities.
Western constructs of time are linear, a timeline of past – present – future like a piece of string pulled taut. It’s chronological, so once it’s gone it’s gone: the past is the past and can never be revisited, except in memories.
This perspective makes time a precious commodity that can be used well or wasted, often judged (critiqued) by the levels of ‘busyness’ of our lives (especially when equated to monetary value and service to others), and often viewed with chastisement – by ourselves or others – if it’s perceived to be ‘wasted’.
Western time is measured by clocks and calendars on paper, on devices, in our heads … essentially, we have obligations on our time and are duty-bound to fulfil them to the best of our ability.
Indigenous constructs of time, on the other hand, are not linear. In contrast, time is everpresent, viewed more like a flat plane. The past, present and future can exist simultaneously. In this way, Aboriginal Dreaming stories are as relevant as ever today as in previous generations and eras. Compare this to the events in religious texts (such as the Bible) which, even though referenced (regularly by churches) today, are referred to as a time in the past.
By indigenous thinking, time is a boundless natural resource that ‘just is’. It follows, then, that it can’t be ‘wasted’ or used ineffectively. It is measured by the rhythmic changes in nature and availability of natural resources: native plants and animals provide visual indicators alongside specific weather-type events, such as fogs and wind changes. Essentially, time is a constant that cannot be misused.
Indigenous calendars are very different to western calendars.
This leads me to the millenial concept of FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out. If we are present in the now, valuing the present moment FOMO is eradicated because every instant is valued and appreciated – even if we’re not doing what we expected to be doing, at this point in time.
To me, these lyrics change the focus of western/linear time, from the busyness and rush and the fear of something BEING LOST … to a focus of looking forward, experiencing individual moments which build up a lifetime of richness and the wisdom of something BEING GAINED. This flips the perception of time as a commodity that is a burden, a weight, maybe even feared, which is either used well or wasted; to time as a wondrous attribute, and however it’s used, however it passes in any moment and on a daily basis, it’s building experience and memories that are valuable and valued.
It flips the rush into rest.
A gentle reminder to savour the now, as Julia “Main Babe” Nusbaum intimated.
It seems apt to finish this post with a quote (tributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, Bill Keane and no doubt others) that has resonated with me since childhood, which to me focuses on being in the now and appreciating the small moments:
Have a wonderful rest of your day, enjoying your time and space.