Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Do We Limit Our Success by Limiting Our Construct of Time

Written the night before the full moon, September 18, 2013, while on Vancouver Island.

On this eve of the full moon, heading into the autumnal equinox I am struck by the passing of time; how we delineate it and its meaning. Specifically, I am curious about time and success. Do we limit our success, by limiting our construct of time?

Moon Rising Cowichan Bay, BC
Earlier this evening, a colleague and I joked about how the organizers of The Labyrinth Society's 15th annual gathering used the tides to arrange the timing of workshops. We mused over this action and how it would never work, or be accepted in the context of "conventional time". Most of us are bound by our wrist watch; roped into our 24 hour cycle bisected by the morning snooze button and the last tv program we can watch before having to hit the hay in time to get up and do it all over again.

On Vancouver Island, where I presently find myself, they talk about "island time" - they say time has an "ish" at the end, so for example 7:30-ish; I like it! I am fortunate enough to be on "ish-time" in Los Angeles (due to my own intention). What I find even more striking than "ish-time" though, is our larger society's lack of connection to the nature around us that defines time in a deeper and more meaningful way than our wrist watches or alarm clocks. We don't consider the impact that the way we think about time has on success, or at least our perception of success.

Twenty-eight days pass and a new moon cycle begins. The equinoxes and solstices come every three months marking the changing of the seasons. The tides rise and fall, ebb and flow, and nature works it's magic. In spring animals are born, in fall food is harvested - nature has her time, and everything moves through its cycle to completion, to success. But somehow, we humans put tremendous pressure on ourselves to do things in a certain way, by a certain time. Get a college degree by this age, get married and have babies by a certain time, buy a house, get in with the right job, have enough saved for your retirement by a fixed age, and so on. If we don't meet the expectation, then we are not successful.

I am especially aware of this as I age - nearing 50, I have not kept up with "the Jones" - I don't own a house or have a million dollar IRA with a retirement date in sight. I remember my grandmother telling me that by 40, if nothing else, I should become a postal worker so that by the time I was 62 I could still get in a good 20 years. On society's terms I might not be considered successful.

But what about my time? This is my life. Why am I living on someone else's agenda? Is there only one way to be considered successful? What I am aware of is that by noticing the passing of time in the context of nature, I see that  everything has its time and is successful; this includes me. My "success" has, like the tides, ebbed and flowed. Like the full moon, my success has waxed and waned, and like the turning of the seasons, my success comes in cycles.

"We do without doing and everything gets done." ~ Richard Blum

What about your success? Do you notice a pattern? If you don't feel successful right now, be patient, keep doing "your" work. Your time will come around again.

Practice engaging inner wisdom.
Begin to notice time in different ways. Get up with the dawn, or go to bed with the sunset. Pay attention to the phases of the moon, or the coming of the solstices and equinoxes. What about 7-year transitions, or time in the context of the seasons of your life? Ponder your successes within the various rhythms of time that surround you.


  1. Thank you for the post, I find it deep felt! I wrote a post a week or so ago about a painting I did based on some writing of my mothers about "time"! I never thought though to equate time with success, success is such a personal and cultural phenomena.

  2. Thank you Art Lady for sharing! I'm not sure what happened, because I posted a response right after I saw your post, for some reason it didn't publish :(.

    I read your post in your blog and found it to be very interesting! I appreciate you sharing and staying connected. I look forward to continued dialogue.