Time is weird. It’s all a matter of perspective as to how much we have of it. In our busy, rush-around lives we can feel pinched, pushed, anxious, lacking control, and needing to operate on auto-pilot out of a perceived lack of time. I want to share with you a different perspective on time that can – in a single moment – allow me to feel freedom and abundance instead of tightness and scarcity.
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There are a couple ways of thinking about infinity. We can look up into space, knowing that it stretches on and on, filled with more stars than we can conceive of. That’s big infinity. If we are scientists, we can do experiments and look through instruments to see smaller and smaller particles of matter, seemingly endlessly. That’s small infinity.
Time is the same way. There’s the big infinity of time that includes all of the past and all of the future. Then there’s the present moment – which I would like to suggest contains the small infinity of time. And this very moment can open up and stretch into all kinds of possibilities.
Perhaps we’ve all had those instants when time slows down and everything becomes very clear. We can experience a myriad of thoughts and emotions, take in much greater quantities of perception during such brief moments. People experience them during emergencies; athletes experience them when they are “in the zone.”
I had one the first day I arrived in Brazil and my friends took me to a backyard pool party. As soon as we walked in the back gate, 4 big Brazilian guys jumped out of the pool and came running over to me. They each grabbed an arm or a leg, carried me to the edge of the pool, and began swinging me back and forth over the water, shouting one, two, three in Portuguese.
At “one” I’m thinking, “Wow, this is an interesting way to welcome somebody!” At “two” I’m thinking, “Is this for real? They haven’t put me back down yet.” At “three” there’s the timeless moment at the farthest end of my swing over the pool. That’s the instant when anything could happen. Will they swing me back onto the pool deck? Will their wives intercede and catch me? Will the men all jump in with me? Or will they choose to….
Let go. Yep. With a big ker-splosh I land in the water, fully clothed – my watch, contacts and all. And I came up…What? This was the moment THEY were waiting for: my moment of choice. Anything could happen when I popped up out of the water: I could come up angry, scared, dazed…nope, I came up laughing. I chose to consider it a hilarious welcome to a new country and fun-loving people! And we all danced the night away.
I’ve discovered that we have access to those timeless moments whenever we want. Moments of choice.
When I do my movement practice of Nia, I pay particular attention to the micro-moments – the pause points between movements when all sorts of options exist. I may be up on my toes fully extended, hanging between 2 beats of music. Will I drop to the floor? Will I arc over into a graceful extension? Will I swoop and glide to the right? The possibilities of that moment are endless. It’s a small infinity!
When I’m fully present, I can notice the pause points on or off the dance floor, the tiny moments of choice in the spaces between moves, between words, between thoughts, between emotions. In the busy-ness of all that’s happening, I can take a breath and choose. That is the still point in the midst of motion, where anything is possible. That’s where I find my freedom. For me, it’s life at the center.
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