I’ve been thinking about time since listening to writer Jenny Odel speak of her book ‘Saving Time: discovering time beyond the clock’ and I’ve begun to discern the many lenses of time through which experience can be filtered and how each influences my mind-body-soul.
To my hearts delight migratory time has recently returned the house-martins to nest in the eaves of my house. Almost three weeks behind their usual time of arrival, I wonder if they feel their lateness? I treasure their presence and will delight in watching them as they patch their nests, hatch and raise their young until the shortening days inevitably call them to their winter homes when my heart will ache more than a little for their return and the springtime it signals.
In a different way, I feel the transience of time as I walk past the remnants of the churchyard on my way to work each morning. Humbled by the fleetingness of a human lifetime even when lived to old age, Mary Oliver’s question echoes in my mind ‘what will you do with this one and only precious life?’ Such moments broaden time for me and remind me to nourish my soul and begin the things my heart cries yes to!
Returning to Jenny Odel and her framework of time as visualised on the horizontal axis as Kronos (quantitive) and the vertical axis as Kairos (qualitative) time. Kronos time, named after the Greek god, whose Roman counterpart Saturn represents time in astrology, is linear and sequential. Abstracted from the natural world, in Kronos time an hour is an hour regardless of place, season or situation. Whilst not disregarding the benefits of coordinating through o’clock (of clock) time, I notice too much viewing through its lens often generates my racing anxious thoughts and squeezes pleasure and vitality out of my life. Whilst bringing order, the shadow of clock time it’s ‘not enoughness’ that can breed stress and fear through the pressures of deadlines. Surely there’s not enough time to get my ‘to do’ jobs done let alone for us to save the world from climate catastrophe! Implicit to horizontal time is the fantasy that there will be a finish line that isn’t death, that once crossed will allow you can relax.
In contrast is Kairos time, named after another Greek god to describe time out of time or right and opportune moments . Imbued with a different quality entirely, for me these states often arise within nature and are accompanied by a calm that is balm in a jagged edged world. Can you recall such a momentary state of absorption and oneness with Life where time spontaneously opens up and stands still? Such moments in vertical time reconnect me to the full depth of life’s mystery and human beingness and seem to be cultivated in the fertile soil of gratitude. I sense Kairos time as embodied, expansive and filled with a creativity that transcends the rules of possibilities and responds to life’s surges crescendos and lulls. Tasks that had seemed so burdensome that they’ve been endlessly put off suddenly get undertaken with ease and simplicity!
What changes when we become more conscious of the lens we are viewing time through and how can we positively influence our body-mind states? Could switching between Kronos and Kairos time become a conscious choice and regular practice that supports us amidst the challenges we face both personally and collectively. Odel encourages us to find a new vocabulary of time, understanding that our language of time shapes our relationship to it and thus how our reality feels; she offers us this question, who is keeping time of who?
Ali ROSE is a Registered Somatic Therapist, combining talking, clothed touch and movement to support you physically, emotionally and psychologically. Recognising body and mind as inseparable we give space to what the body knows and support the body-mind integration of life experiences. Click HERE to find out more about her individual therapy work.
Where Saturn is placed in your birth chart suggests areas of your life where you may experience restrictions, delays and limitations and could benefit from learn ing Saturn’s lessons of structure and patience (click HERE for details of astrologer Linda Day’s upcoming FREE talk at The Soma Rooms, Chepstow on Saturday 3rd June).