Time & Timelessness


In practice this week, I had such a strong sense of having all the time in the world, while simultaneously knowing, there’s no time to waste. Such an interesting paradox to think about being trusting enough to know I have all the space I could ever need, while at the same time holding a strong boundary in my living around not wasting one bit of it.

Is it possible to hold both? 

I know for me that when I am in practice, in the woods, tending to the medicine garden, making food or medicinals, engaged in a meaningful conversation, creating content or writing, time expands, and I am gifted with all the space I need. It often feels like I have been at something for weeks or months because that is how endless it all feels. I think this kind of timelessness becomes available to us whenever we are engaged in truly heart-felt and meaningful activities. Times where we are so focused and absorbed in what we are doing, that we lose ourselves in a kind of uninterrupted, everlasting, Divine expanse that seems to go on and on and on.

The experience of time opening up in this way gets harder and harder to come by when we allow ourselves to be at the beck and call of the incessant ring tones and buzzing of the machines that never leave our side. Despite all that we have “gained” with the technologies, what has been lost is not easily apparent to us because of how hard it is to measure the value of something that can only be known and felt through intentionally creating the opportunity, distraction-free, of timelessness.

For those of us who have had that experience, perhaps we can see beyond the allure of the pinging. But what about those generations who have never experienced that feeling of open-ended time and what it has to offer. Will they even know something truly precious and life-giving has been lost to them?

Which brings me to boundaries. A clear line in the sand must be drawn so that we do not take our days and lives for granted. So that we do not forget for one moment that life is short, and that it will be over before we know it. This is a vastly different approach to life than the frenetic and stress-filled pace that many of us live by where we are cramming more into a day than can possibly fit there. This approach to time leaves us depleted, guilty and overwhelmed. It is based on scarcity on the one hand and on an over-consumptive attitude on the other; where we never have enough of the most important things and where we are mindlessly too full with too many of the wrong things.

But as the old saying goes, “There is no time like the present.” Meaning? If you sense time has gotten away from you, that you are approaching it in a profane way, it is only in this moment that you can decide to do something different. To choose to make time sacred. To make it worthy of the one life you have to live.

Pick Your Hard


I fast once a month. It’s hard. Even though I’ve been doing it for years, I start dreading my fast day the night before; fretting about how I’m going to be able to pass through the discomfort. And where I’m typically not hungry until around 11am, on a fasting day, I wake up hungry. Then, I stumble through what I need to get done as best as I can given how I’m feeling. Even though I know what to expect, it never seems to get easier.

This week, I heard someone say that whether you choose to take care of yourself or not, both are hard. So pick your hard. This flies in the face of the world we inhabit where we are constantly being steered towards doing what’s easy, what’s fast and what’s convenient. More to the point, we’ve been educated to believe that nothing has to be hard. We’re all supposed to feel good all the time. We’re all supposed to be winners.

Everyone gets a medal. Everyone finds a four leaf clover at Disney World. Everyone’s everything gets a pass these days because we don’t want anyone to feel excluded.

But here’s the thing, experiences in life that are difficult and that we find a way to meet and be strengthened by, give us something to be proud of. Give us a sense of who we are and what we are capable of. Give us an inner strength and grit to cleave to our values and what matters most in a world at a loss for both.

And that’s why I fast. Because it strengthens my resolve and my determination to remember and honor the preciousness of food. Because it serves as a counterbalance to all the excesses we are constantly being force-fed to indulge in. Because it reminds me of what I will do to keep myself in health.

It’s hard to have a long overdue conversation, and it’s hard to carry what is unresolved.

It’s hard to make changes in your life, and it’s hard to not feel good. 

It’s hard to take the time to discover what your offer to the world is, and it’s hard to work at a job you hate.

It’s hard to admit to the limitations of what you can and cannot influence, and it’s hard to try and control what you cannot control.

It’s hard to learn about who you are and what makes you tick, and it’s hard to live believing the wrong things about yourself. 

Pick your hard.



Getting Stung In Life


We got two new hives of bees this year. It’s been a nightmare. Since the very first day, they have been “overly” aggressive. I put that in quotes because I am quite sure that from their perspective, they are doing what they need to do. Nothing more, nothing less. But as someone trying to be in her garden, communing with nature and the bounty of the Earth, without being hounded or stung, it has felt over the top for me.

At times I have been outraged by this situation; threatening to others that I was going to set fire to them in the night and murder them all. I have rerouted my morning routines in an effort to placate them. I have avoided the garden and sent my husband, fully suited up in his bee suit, in my place. I have covered up, prayed, appealed to them in my mind and sent them love. All to no avail. They continue to do what they do, which sometimes means, stinging me.

All of this has left me with a hint of PTSD and a good dose of paranoia whenever I hear their telltale buzzing sound. It has even transferred over to my experience with the bumble bees who I get along with quite well; having no concern to be face to face with them when my head is poking around inside the flowers they are on while I am weeding.

Today, one of our bees landed on my basket of flowers while I was harvesting some fruit. I watched as the anticipation and fear of getting stung, again, welled up inside me. I looked around to see if there was more than one, having created of late in my mind, horror movie scenarios where hundred of them are attacking me.

There was only one. That gave me pause, and allowed me to see that with all of the stories I had in my mind each time they were around, or not, I was trapped inside a self-made hellish narrative where I was conjuring up fear before anything even happened.

We do this all the time. We anticipate all kinds of things we don’t want to happen; believing that our fears and worries will somehow prepare us. Will leave us in control. It’s all an illusion. Worse yet, our conjured fears rob us of the enjoyment of life and leave us with the impression that the world is an awful and dangerous place, and the best we can do is to clamp down on everything we are afraid of. Control it. Get rid of it. Make rules about it.

But to live a good life is to get stung sometimes. It is to face the fears of the moment that are born of the ghosts of the past. It is to recognize that it all gets to be here; the things we hate, the things we are afraid of, the things that offend us.

And so, when I add it all up, the getting stung against all of the angst I have created around this, getting stung is not such a big deal after all.



Recently, I heard a teacher say that to try and convince someone else of what you want for them, no matter how true or noble, is to take on their karma. Those words stopped me in my tracks, and left me feeling like I had stepped on a garden rake and gotten whacked in the face.

I began to think about all the times I had tried to get a person in my life to see something, or to want something. All the times I had tried to convince someone of something. Anything. All the times I had thought about how this person or that person, or the world in general, should do things differently. Do things the way I thought they should be done. And it didn’t matter one bit that I could justify to you that I only wanted what was best for them, when the truth is, I couldn’t bear what another was doing, for one reason or another.

Frankly, it was overwhelming to imagine taking on the karma of dozens, hundreds, even thousands or millions. Imagining myself weighing in on what all these people should or should not do. Want or not want. Believe or not believe. Sometimes having said it outright, while at other times thinking it.

This is something we all do. All the time. If you doubt this, watch how often you try and get someone to see things as you do, or try and get them to take your suggestion about how they should live their life. And it doesn’t even have to be about the big moments. It can be as “small” as what they “should” do about a difficult co-worker or whether or not they should buy something.

Watch how often you listen to the news or look out into the world and believe that you know better about what another person or group should or should not be doing.

And then, imagine taking on all of that karma. All the baggage, known and unknown to you and them, that goes with why and how they act as they do. All the karma around how they got to where they are now. All of their hurts, disappointments and dysfunctions. All of their projections, anger, blindspots and expectations. All of their insanity, fears and sadness. Even all of their past lives. Everything they need to account for, now becomes yours. Whoa.

It is so incredibly tricky when it comes to how we relate to others. So challenging to be in relationship without making what others do or do not do be about us. About our need to have them act a certain way so we can feel safe, connected and valued.

If this resonates and you want to join me, start by watching yourself in conversation with others. Catch yourself trying to convince someone of something, anything. For this to work though, you will have to be very, very good to yourself; as in not judging or shaming yourself when you see what it is that you are up to.

And when you do notice what’s happening, ask yourself, Do I want to take on this person’s karma? Do I really want to be responsible for how things turn out for them? And when you find yourself in a dynamic where another gladly hands over their choices to you about what they should do, run.