19 Jan To everything, there is a season
Could you change your thinking about time?
I have been reflecting on my own relationship with time and how it seems to go fast and slow at the same time. There is a feeling that it is scarce and I have to do everything now because tomorrow is not guaranteed. That does not help an anxious soul like mine so I have been thinking about the natural rhythms around us. The seasons. Our life cycles from infant to elder. Many Indigenous cultures understand that the natural cycles as they are connected to the land, water and nature. The western-built world has removed us from these natural world rhythms and has us in a perpetual state of doing, going, and working in a more linear fashion.
There is a passage in the Bible and made popular in the ’60s by The Byrds that made me think we might need to reconsider our relationship with time. Maybe it isn’t linear but cyclical?
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What does the worker gain from their toil?
I have seen the burden God has laid on humanity.
(s)he has made everything beautiful in its time. she has also set eternity in the hearts of humanity;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and do good while they live.
Part of the colonial/industrial mindset is to capitalize humans as assets and monetize time and output. It is set up so you don’t question the path you are on or the embedded narratives of more money, societal status, hierarchy, or and getting a better job title.
When you stop and pause, whether in an official sabbatical or in a daily practice of reflection, there is an opportunity to dig into those societal narratives and find your own. To start you on the path towards a new relationship with time, this Mary Oliver poem “Invitation” may provide the perfect reflection for you:
Oh do you have time
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.
Or perhaps, our Sabbatical Society membership may also be what you need to pause. Each month, members receive an email of digital exclusive goodies just for them. Check out the reduced prices for 2021 in our shop and you too can receive the member email that will invite you to pause, reflect, and enjoy life for a few minutes.