Things About Time

The trouble is, you think you have it... Time, that is. These words have been attributed to Buddha but they are actually a paraphrase of something the Yachti shaman Don Juan said in Carlos Castenada's Journey to Ixtlan: 

"There is one simple thing wrong with you – you think you have plenty of time … If you don’t think your life is going to last forever, what are you waiting for? Why the hesitation to change? You don’t have time for this display, you fool. This, whatever you’re doing now, may be your last act on earth. It may very well be your last battle. There is no power which could guarantee that you are going to live one more minute."

Living in the constant reality that any moment may be your last, or that of the people around you that you love changes the whole game. We wander around like zombies, already dead to the phenomenon that we live finite lives with an absolute ending that is totally unpredictable. We walk through life rituals, many that we hate, punching the proverbial clock until it runs out. Every single day death chases a cocentric ring around my own life, circling ever closer to me as it hits families and friends that I know without warning, taking husbands, daughters, mothers, sons, wives and fathers. Best friends, cousins, aunts and uncles... Every minute the larger "We" loses another loved one and the circle tightens down a little smaller, a little closer to home. 

Even if you believe that life goes on after death - some glorious golden-streeted, angelic-chorused hall of eternal bliss - there is no escaping the fact that for those of us left behind, death means the end of relationship here, the end of seeing, touching, talking to the ones that we lose. 

We all know this, but at the same time we make decisions every day to put off  chasing the things and the ones that we love and doing the things that make us who we want to be. We avoid hardship and inconvenience and pain, we take the comfortable pathway to a paycheck, to conflict-free relationships that require as little of us as possible. And at any moment, the chance to rise to a challenge could be gone forever.

 Our grandparents lived in a time that had their mettle tested through some of the roughest turmoil that our country has ever seen, and it produced a generation greater than any in our history. They raised their children, however, with the ultimate goal of getting past hardship, glorifying convenience and comfort and enjoying the enablement of technology developed in answer to back breaking labor and time consuming menial work. Two generations later and we are technology dependent, and the worship of convenience has escalated to shocking heights. Injustice has become a hashtag, and battles  have left the trenches of foreign wars for the mud slinging campaigns of social media offenses. We lack the motivation to tackle the worst enemy of our destiny: the person in the mirror. It's easy to armchair quarterback the failing world around us than it is to be the change that we want to see in the world... We can get to that later, right? Later is a myth. 

We get the college degree of least resistance to get the job of maximum benefit to achieve the optimum number of vacation days for golf and video games. Retirement is the golden standard of success. To be able to STOP doing things we hate. But retirement is as mythical as later. Why don't we stop now? Why don't we chart a new course through some rough waters to do the things we love for the rest of our lives? The conversation of destiny and passion is all but forgotten. And to risk financial stability for the scary reality of launching into an unknown dream is relegated to Hollywood. Heck, we're so scared of failure that we don't even leave our parent's basements.  

And time goes by. Every minute is one closer to whichever end we are fated. One more opportunity to seize the day, capture the moment, has passed. I feel it keenly when my friends and family members lose loved ones suddenly. There really is no time like the present, because it's the only time that we are guaranteed. I hope that where I am in this moment is exactly where I need to be to realize exactly who I am. I was created for the purpose of loving deeply, sharing broadly and pushing limits. Even here and now in a high school classroom, watching the rain slither it's way out of a dark grey sky, I can do that, and intend to. 

Hats off to all of you, my friends, who have dared to risk greatly and win the day that you are living in. I see you and I love you for it! 

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