Tag Archives: time

Year of activism #45

As votes get counted in the USA, the most destructive hurricane in the history of Central America ripped through Honduras, a trilogy of daily typhoons hit Manila drowns the metropolis. We are all connected through these events in our common occupation of this little blue dot. While these things were going on, I was laughing, dancing, enjoying the good company of family and friends, listening to music, poetry and holding space for others to have conversations. I took time to recognise and celebrate the oldest continuous living culture on the planet in NAIDOC Week. This year’s theme Always Was Always Will Be, brought the centrality of the land to all that has past, all that is, all that is to come. More than once across the week I dipped into my own story to recognise my ancestors would have been part of the dispossession and now it is my generation to who the reckoning and restitution falls. The need for treaties continues to loom large in my mind about what is needed. The place of treaties as agreements and truth telling intertwines with our relationships to past, present and future. Time is indefinite, continuous on the move working away and threading and holding events, memories, actions, dreams in the past, present, and future.

How we mark time whether it be by the moon, the clock, the height of tree growing is embedded in activism. So often we are trying to halt the progress, or speed something up or even turn it back as a way to get to the justice required by the moment. The practice of mindfulness brings depth and width to time and the expanse of this world crystalized into tiny never to be repeated moments, cherished all the more for their fleeting nature. Just imagine if in every moment we were able to hold the time for justice. That is a practice that will take me more than one lifetime! I do try to bring the practice of welcoming the new day, each dawn, as a way of bringing all the time zones together and when I remember across the 24 hours on our axis on the ecliptic plane, that a new day is dawning somewhere right now. The constancy of this natural phenomena is surely an invitation to a new start while honouring what has gone before. This is perhaps the most profound version of a circular economy I can think of and it is linked directly for me to the relationship to the land, seas and stars and in my part of the planet, named and held by First Nations whose land and seas have never been ceded. Without an understanding of time, connectedness and circularity I am not sure justice can arrive.

The practices to restore, recover, regenerate, reuse, repair are all for renewal. While we might design out waste and polluting variables we have to design in, circularity. I am thinking of waste and pollution as how the turn up way beyond single use plastic to single use votes, single use volunteering, single use actions. single use conversations. All our lives depend on it and you have this power in each and every moment. Keeping the conversations going and bringing in the past and the future are essential, we need to know what has gone before and understand what is to come. The places of the futurist and historians are intertwined, the role of the forecasters and the archeologists, the lessons from epigenetics and immunologists are all connected. As activists we are always at a threshold, the point where change is about to happen, the emergent space, the place of new beginnings. To be fully present in that moment is a practice and when we come to the end of our days knowing we too are in this cosmic circular economy – the one household in which we all live. It has been a regular theme in my life since the 1990s, this relationship between household and economics and our home, and ironically I circle back to it often, reinforcing the notion that it was a generative and not extractive lesson from my twenties.

In Blackwater Woods

by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its name is, is
nameless now.

Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this:
the fires and the black river of loss
whose other side is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:

To love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones
knowing your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver New and Selected Poems

For more about: Mary Oliver

Promises to tomorrow #18 Time

Money is not the only currency and for most of my life, I prefer to think of time as my currency. I want to spend my currency in ways that serve me, my family and those around me. I don’t like having my time wasted, and will happily make a donation of money not to spend time on something perhaps someone else can do, and gift my time as my most precious gift to a cause or a person that may need my skill set or knowledge, love or support. Time is in a bank that is constantly being replenished, and yet you are in a constant of withdrawal transactions.

Not everyone’s time is treated as equal. We all experience having to wait. Recently at the Post Office in my little village the staff chatted away in front of me while I waited to be served, I wasn’t invited into the conversation and after a few moments I interrupted asking if I could be served as my time was important to me and I didn’t want to spend it listening to them …. I wasn’t rude but it was a close call. I saw their behaviour as being outside of the customer-at-the-counter service protocol. We waited an hour for a scheduled appointment with a doctor this week, who didn’t have the information, records or advice to provide when we got to see him – our time not being valued as much as his. We were in good company with the poor, the lame, the sick and frail – the kingdom of God literally in the same waiting room while the Pharisees and scribes were are their desks.  These are common experiences we all face.

There are different definitions of time – when I think something is urgent, I think now, immediately and recently discovered that for a colleague urgent meant within the week and another within a few days. We don’t have a shared vision of time and how its value in one another’s lives.   I would rather spend ten minutes looking at the sky and contemplating the beauty of a flower than in a waiting room, or at a counter, or looking at an inbox that still doesn’t have what I need to advance my endeavours. Waiting is not a bad thing … and I quite like the space waiting makes, like the pause notations on a piece of music, the quiet contributes to the overall sound … but I do mind my currency being spent by others when I am not invited to the transaction, but am effected by it.

Time is the most precious of resources and it is not renewable. My promise to tomorrow is to be careful of not accidentally spending someone else time or taking for granted the way they want to spend their allocation. Each moment oozes with the essential oil of life, gently, and sometimes furiously, fostered by impatience. I would love my vehicle to be the Tardis and life unencumbered by the frustration of my time being disrespected.