For Whom the Bell Tolles

A few years ago I read Eckhart Tolle’s book, ‘The Power of Now’.  I got it. (But not really.) I mean, I thought I got it at the time. Most of it made some kind of sense to me then, but over the past few months I’ve realized that I hadn’t fully grasped the concept. I am finally understanding things that have been so elusive to me on many levels.

S l o w l y, but surely, (and thankfully), I’m finally starting to awaken.

One of the things I’m always mentioning in my blogs and posts and conversations with friends, family and clients… is that time is always “lost” on me. For years I’ve tried to understand why as children time moves so slow. But as adults… the older we get, the faster time speeds up. It wasn’t until I was listening to Tolle speak about time and clock time and how we relate to it through the ego that I finally got it! It actually is very simple. And I laughed at myself because this had been such a conundrum for me for far too long.

As a child, my time lasted forever. I rarely paid attention to clocks because the adults always did. I was so absorbed in whatever I was doing at any given moment that I would lose track of time simply because I was never concerned about it. As an adult, we rely on clock time for nearly everything we do. As a kid, my summer was like a year. As an adult, my summer is already planned and spoken for for the most part and is practically already over in my mind. As a kid, a day off from school felt like it could have been a week. As an adult, a month feels like it sweeps by in an instant. We view an entire month’s worth of plans on the calendar… we think about the past, we plan for the future… we tend to our responsibilities and obligations that need to be met. Work, appointments, travel, life, expenses, seasons, etc etc.

The reason time moves so much slower when we are younger is because we are not concerned about time. Kids are always in the present moment. They are fully engaged in the NOW. As adults we are always thinking, planning, worrying. Some of us live in the past while others always live in the future. We go back and forth and randomly touch down in the present moment. When we are in the present moment and honestly being in the now, we have no limits. There is freedom that I’ve missed by not fully realizing this until now. I can’t help but wonder if everyone else knows this already and I’ve just now caught on… but in any case… I’m just glad I finally understand it.

My month in Italy felt like six months. And NOW I know why. There were no clocks at the villa. The sun would rise and set and the moon wasn’t shy about making its appearances right on time. I was busy practicing dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing). I was in the present moment and very aware and awake at the villa. My senses heightened. I was fully engaged.  The Italian culture already knew about this long ago. I think about the times I feel so free of time and know it’s when I meditate and when I paint. I’m always in those moments. And now it makes more sense than ever.

All of this made me think about someone who was in my life for a few years. When I was with that person, I was present. I was so excited to be with their essence and always tried to make the most of the time we had together… so it felt like a vacation no matter where we were or what we were doing. It was easy to lose track of time. And now I understand why. Together we were fully present. We had a shared space that was filled with only us and our focus and our experience of being together. It felt good. It felt safe. It felt sacred. I always felt “home”. This notion of being present and living in the now for ourselves is a truly amazing gift. When we can be present together, as individuals, it’s amazing. I guess as we get older and start to have more responsibilities placed on us, we lose a good deal of just being. Living in the past or in the future will always take away our time.

All this said, I am taking the time needed to plan for things that need to be… but also making time to be present in all other things as much as I can. I feel a little silly posting something like this that is, in all honesty, difficult for me to explain with words, but hopefully it makes some kind of sense. I don’t even know if I have any readers on here, but my hope is that I do and  something might ‘click’ at some point if I share enough of my thoughts/feelings/insights. Who knows.

What I do know is I feel blessed to have finally figured out where my time goes and how I can let it go and yet still have it.  I bet I don’t start off my posts anymore repeating that I can’t believe it’s already “this time” or “that time” of the year already because now I know. My question has been answered. It’s like the bells finally rang for me.  Thank you Mr. Tolle.

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
— Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)

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