Time. Time. Time is slowing down. It seems to be disappearing. I am not living my life around time. I’m checking the time less.
I didn’t set an alarm last night, nor shut my blind expecting the sunlight or Honey the Dog to wake me, neither did. My inner voice – “come on Jim, it’s 10am, Monday morning. You need to get up” – it just wasn’t there.
Who cares what the time is. Time is now governed by sunlight, hunger, tiredness and Honey the Dog. A routine is still there, but no rush.
I stand in the shower, reflecting on life. I am there for a lot longer than usual. I am enjoying the hot water flowing over my body. There is no hurry to move. I just enjoy the moment.
I haven’t changed my only (non digital) clock an hour forward. I haven’t looked at it. I am not checking the time. I haven’t looked at my digital calendar for a week. It feels unfamiliar to open it. Just a few weeks ago, I would open it at least 10 times a day. Setting appointments, checking what I had to do today, planning the week. I am checking emails less. I am checking my communication Apps less. I’ve stopped watching the news. Time is standing still.
I take Honey the Dog for a walk to the park. I wait at the top of the steps, as another dog walker slowly walks down, one step at a time. I am social distancing. I notice 80s pop music filling the street, coming from a flat across the road. I look up and see a woman on the first floor, standing at the window, she has a pink top on.
I wave at her. I wave again. She waves back. We connect, an unfamiliar connection. I start to enjoy the music. Its a dance tune. I start to dance, slowly at first. Then more openly. I look up and she is dancing too.
She’s smiling. I am laughing. A distant connection. The first non-virtual connection in a while. She disappears from the window. The moment has gone. I walk down the steps and into the park.
I feel the sunshine, it’s hot. I am in my winter jacket. The changing weather governs time too. I remember the magical feel of previous years, when you finally make the decision to go out for the day without a jacket, knowing you will be warm enough. There are a few people in the park, socially distancing, having conversations from a distance.
I walk back up the steps, hoping to see the woman in the window. She is not there. The music has changed, it’s less dance and more unfamiliar. I feel a pang of sadness, I want that connection again. Then she appears.
We dance together again. She behind the window on the first floor on the other side of the street. Me out on the pavement. It’s hot. I hang my jacket on the railings. Why not – there is no need to rush to the next thing. I enjoy the moment some more. Honey the Dog joins in – barking and jumping up at me.
Then she has gone from the window. The connection has gone. I feel disappointed. I wait for some time, still dancing. She doesn’t reappear. I put my jacket on and continue on our walk back home.
I notice how slowly I am walking, how much more present I am. It is so quiet in the streets. I can walk across the road, not worrying about any cars coming. I don’t need to try to find a gap in the traffic to dash across. I am aware of each step I am taking. Aware of each foot moving forward. The weight of my body on my foot and the concrete below it. I am in the moment. I am not making an effort to notice, to be more aware, to be more present. It is just happening. I can feel the sun on my face. I can feel the dog lead in my hand. I am just being.
Time. Time. Time is slowing down. It seems to be disappearing. I am not living my life around time. I’m checking the time less. Moment, by moment. I am noticing.
I wrote that this morning. I had a conversation with my friend Fi last night about time. She didn’t realise the clocks had gone an hour forward until teatime yesterday. A couple of days ago, my mum had said she had started marking her calendar, so she knew what day it was. When I am talking to people on the phone, I have to pause and really think ‘what day is it today?’.
Without all our rushing about, with so much to do, travelling to work, going to appointments, being at work on time, routines around time, it feels we are taking our time. Who cares if something takes a little longer than usual? For me, it feels like something is changing. Stripping away the usual layers of life and connecting more to myself. Noticing the connections with others. Connecting more to nature. Taking time to be with a moment, rather than rushing to the next.
The rest of the day, continues pretty much the same. When I am outside, I feel so much more in the moment. Stopping. Standing. Enjoying that one particular moment.
I don’t look at the time, until Honey the Dog starts to get restless, she wants to go out and have her dinner. It is 7pm. I haven’t been for a run or a long walk. So we go round the graveyard, just as the sun is setting.
Then I sit in the living room and watch some TV on my iPad.
Today is the first day that I have felt more relaxed. I haven’t felt the daily struggle, coping with this enforced lock-down. It hasn’t felt so strange.
I don’t know if it is because yesterday, I had such a physical, no screen-time day. It feels like I am starting to let go.
I can honestly say that having my new office has brought a big change to my life. I come in here to sit at the computer. I go to the living room to relax. I go to the bedroom to sleep. The different spaces are working well for me.
On the downside, I have not thought anymore about developing my daily Zoom Chi Gong. So will have to wait until Wednesday morning, sorry about that. But perhaps I needed this time to come into myself some more?
For regular readers of this blog, you will know, I share one fun thing. I am lucky, that I am part of a WhatsApp Group called ‘Social Distance Walks…’. It was set up before lock-down, with a plan to meet every Sunday for a social distance walk. We only had one walk, before lock-down. But the group, shares loads of numerous, funny things. So I have an unlimited amount to share with you. Thanks to everyone on the WhatsApp Group for your contributions 🙂
So today, there is Round 2 of a quiz. Answers to follow in a couple of days.
As I come to the end of today’s blog, I feel drawn to my book collection, to share a quote with you.
My book collection is a very special part of me, collected over the last 25 years. I feel a tender closeness, to each of you, my readers. So choosing a book to share, is sharing a special part of myself.
I used to have 800 books, but in a time when I was trying to downsize, I gave a lot of them to charity shops. Those that remain, capture the essence of life, as I see it.
I scan over the 200 or so books. I am drawn, to a book that is very close to my heart. ‘Healers on Healing‘. Thirty-seven short chapters, written by the world’s leaders (from when I bought it in 1989) on healing, each writing on the “golden thread” that ties together the wide range of approaches to healing.
I flick through the well worn book. There are pencil notes, which I have made, through a lot of the pages. I am drawn to a chapter by someone who is dear to my heart, Ram Dass, entitled ‘The Intuitive Heart’:
“Whether our methods involve words or touch, meditations or medicines, our techniques and interventions are vehicles of transmission. What they transmit is an environment in which healing can occur. Just as in a garden, we do not “grow” flowers; rather, we create the conditions in which flowers can grow”.
I wonder, whether this lock-down is creating an environment in which healing can occur?
Thanks for reading.