Have you ever noticed that sometimes a minute, an hour, a day can just WHIZ away? Yet on other days, the clock actually seems to be moving in reverse?
Well, come to find out, time is really not linear! The past, present, and future all kinda exist simultaneously and can affect each other. And sometimes time can bulge out and you can accomplish wondrous things in 25 minutes, and sometimes it can cinch up, and all you get done is absolutely nothing of importance. We all have these experiences of clock time not matching with lived time. So what’s really going on?
Historically, time was viewed as being more cyclical – marked by the cycles of night and day, the cycles of the moon, the cycles of seasons, the cycles of life and death. However, according to Appreciative Coaching, with the spread of Christianity, the old ways of viewing time shifted – theologians believed that the world has a beginning and an end and that certain events are unique and unrepeatable.
Then Sir Isaac Newton came along with his concept of “Absolute Time,” which became how the world interpreted time:
- Time moves along a fixed line from past to present to future; therefore, the past determines the future. A future event cannot change the past.
- Time is absolute – meaning it is experienced the same for everyone and everything and is not dependent or enmeshed with other factors.
But, as is often the case, modern humans are beginning to realize that ancient humans actually DID have it right. Time is in fact, holistic:
- Past, present, and future all exist as a whole and can influence each other, MEANING: Behavior change can be influenced not only by our Past, but by our Future, and our Present!
- Time is not objective – people can experience time differently at different times depending on circumstances. MEANING: “BECAUSE IT IS SUBJECT TO REINTERPRETATION, THE PAST IS AS DYNAMIC AS THE PRSENT AND FUTURE.” (Appreciative Coaching, p. 64)
But why does all of this matter?
Because, if time is a bit floaty and stretchy and re-writeable, then we have so much more capacity and autonomy to change!
We can re-tell our past stories to pull out the good bits. Instead of looking back at the past and seeing our future doom, we can look back at the past and tease out the stories that support us. We can also look into our future and use that to guide our choices in the present.
“Holistic social scientists believe that as the present changes, so do the meanings of the past and future, and as the past and future change, so do the meanings of the present – simultaneously.” Appreciative Coaching p. 66
I know I talk about this stuff like ALL THE TIME, but I’m super jazzed to learn there is science to support this, AND I think it’s important to constantly be reminded that we can rewrite our stories. I live and breathe this stuff, yet still I often lose touch with the fact that I have so much power in my choices. I want to add, that re-creating our life stories is not easy, especially if we have unresolved trauma in the body connected to the stories and experiences. This is why I think it’s so important to work with both the cognitive mind and the feeling body during this process.
If you are willing, I would like to offer you an experiment. First, I invite you to take a moment and check in with your inner state. It can be helpful to close your eyes if you feel safe doing so. What is the level of tension in your body? What is your heart rate? How fast are you breathing? Then take 5-10 minutes and do some free-writing on this prompt:
Describe one of your greatest accomplishments to date. It can be anything in your personal life, your work life, your spiritual life.
Are you done writing?
I am curious, if you take a moment and again reconnect to your inner state, what has shifted? What do you notice in your levels of tension, your heart rate, and your breath? How are you now feeling about your past, present, and future?
And with that, I’m signing off!
Space to be Human Lab
- If you are experiencing pain in your mind-body and would like help finding more space, ease, and room for more positive possibilities, you can book a bodywork session here.
- Last week I finished up my first year of Somatic Experiencing Trauma Training. If you are curious about how Somatic Experiencing (SE) work could help you slow down and tune in to the story your body and your nervous system needs to tell, reply to this email with your questions. Somatic work can be integrated into a bodywork session, or it can be done on its own either in-person or over Zoom.
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