How do you measure time? By the number of things you’ve accomplished? Appointment to appointment? Meeting to meeting? Action item to action item? In box to out box? Or are you old school and prefer to follow those twelve circular digits?
Time changed when I had my first child. In one instantaneous moment my clock switched from a day planner to a feeding cycle. Day, night, weekend, weekday: these things are foreign to the feeding cycle. All I knew was “two hours from now” everything will repeat; change, feed, burp, play, nap. There were no coffee breaks, vacations or sleeping-in on feeding cycle time.
Over the next few years feeding cycle time stretched and convoluted into a new clock, meal time. It was kept by the appetite of my child’s stomach: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. All manner of things could happen between the “eating hours” but under no circumstances could they be skipped, pushed, bunched or finagled.
Five years passed and August came. I walked into a school building with my daughter and walked out with a new clock. There are two numbers on it: school starts, school ends. Life is measured in days: Teacher Work Days, Holidays, Class Party Days, Test Days and Snow Days. When a mother of school children tells you she’s living one day at a time, don’t mock her. She’s literally living Day to Day. I’ve got eight years left and then, after one long ceremony, I’ll be on empty nest time.
New Year’s resolutions are our feeble attempt to manhandle time: gym time, family time, reading hour, down time, meditative minute, and the social hour. Whatever it is we didn’t have time for on December 31, by God, there will be time for it on January 1st. Unfortunately, clocks do not inflate. This is why forcing time to work around our overnight aspirations rarely works. Lifestyle determines which clock we live by more than any goal or desire.
Or you could give all that up and just…
Yes, it’s true. Time is a man-made invention. Caveman Cal wanted to hook up with cavewoman Camella but they kept missing one another. So Camella suggested they meet when the sun was swallowed whole by the land. Ta-dah! TIME. Does this mean we can only date at sunset? Does it imply that one never chats after sixty billion stars light the sky? Or that we only eat during short shadows? When did Time start dictating our life?
There is time as we know it, that pesky thing blinking away on our nightstand. The ancient Greek word for this is Chronos (as in chronology) and then there is Chiros time which is well known in the Christian faith. “This is God time and is not so much about measuring the moment as it is about the meaning of the moment. It’s special, distinct, holy.” It’s beyond the now, beyond limits, beyond numbers. It’s measuring life by experience. Once you’ve taken a single breath on Chiros time no other clock will do.
It’s that moment when you connect with a soul mate. The world around you stops, or maybe it moves faster. It’s quite impossible to say. Suddenly your whole identity has slipped away. You may have children or you may not. You may be 37 or 47 or 97… or all of them at once. Who knows? You had someplace to be and something to do, but that was before here. There is only the here and it’s sweet, rapturous knowing, it’s certainty. Yes, the Chiros clock runs on certainty.
Chiros time is immersion. It is life in focus… consummation… is there anything else besides this? You don’t know or care to ask. There is only being, doing, feeling. Every cell, every beat of every moving mechanism harmonizes into the experience. There is no time, no measurement, no number line, no ticking, no alarm, no stop, no start. Only… and simply… THIS. It is the face of serendipity and coincidence and fate all wrapped up in ludicrous Technicolor.
Imagine if Cavewoman Clamella had arranged to meet Cal on Chiros time. If she had told him to look for “the joining” instead of the sunset our lives would run more on experiences; less on increments. Instead of “Snow Day” we’d have “slip-sliding over frozen powder”, instead of the “Monday Staff Meeting” we’d have “community brainstorming”, instead of “lunch time” we would have “trying a peanut butter and applesauce sandwich under the oak tree”.
Getting on the Chiros Clock
How does one live on Chiros time? Start at the beginning. Forget waking up to “What have I got to do today?” Oh no!! Chiros days start with “What shall I experience.” You’re no longer fixing breakfast. No siree Jimmy Dean! It’s the pleasure of breaking seven grain bread between your molars. It’s the warmth of sunlight on your purple yoga pants. It’s the pleasure of owning purple yoga pants. You’re not “grocery shopping”. Pooh- Pooh! This is a creative culinary challenge. It’s about creating magic with nothing more than a skillet, oil and a vegetable section. It’s dancing to Pandora as you pick out pancake mix. It’s adding blue cheese to the recipe when no one else in the world dared to.
Living each day by focusing on what you want to experience is a good start but the fastest way to own a Chiros clock is to do what you love. When I write, I’m on Chiros time. When my friend Ame paints, she’s on Chiros time. When Caren works with horses, yeap, she’s there too, living God’s time. This ability to leap into Chiros time with such ease is one of the biggest reasons we must find our passion and wed ourselves to it. When we do we are living at a more sacred pace.
I offer you a challenge: give up as much of the Chronos time as you possibly can for the Chiros clock. I challenge you to measure time, to measure your life, by connecting to the experiences you live. I promise you this… it is the only clock we should keep.