Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lost and Found in Linear Time

I listened to Caroline Myss today; she was discussing stepping out of linear time. I’m also reading Leslie Keenan’s book, It’s About Time. And I just saw the season finale of Lost…so ,I thought, this must be the right time to discuss time.

I recently realized that midlife has much more in common with adolescence than just hormones. Sure, my face has been breaking out, and it’s the first time in thirty years that I’ve had to watch my weight. But, I also find my mind drifting back to my younger years. As a child I had (the illusion of) huge blocks of unscheduled time. I would read for days, often staying up all night to finish dime store romances. My family spent three months each summer at our mountain cabin. I played the piano for hours on end. I lost track of time and seemed to have all the time in the world. My mother was careful not to fill our childhood days. My heart constricts and I become short of breath when my friends list the activity-packed lives of their children. More is better, structure is better has even hit our preschools. Little three and four-year old lives are filled with organized controlled stations forcing them to “play” in socially-specified ways.

Linear time monopolized my life from medical school onward. To be honest, for eight years, I didn’t have a life. After I completed my residency, I attempted to recreate what I had as a child…three months off annually. I worked part-time and traveled to Greece, but eventually ended up in a high-powered full-time position that just about ended me. As soon as I completed my board exams and paid back my student loans (which took only two highly-motivated years) I moved to Maine. There, I worked part-time and, with the help of the four seasons, slowed down. Once again I was reading, practically every night. I was meditating, shamanic journeying, learning from mystics, immersing myself in nature, and living the hermetic life. I loved it. I was reminded of something…me! Then I moved to Greece and became a hermit of a different sort, surrounded by community.

When I returned to California, four years later, linear time once again took over my life. It wasn’t until I hit forty-nine that I suddenly yearned to travel backwards. At midlife, my life once again stood still.

The Greeks have different words for different types of time. Leslie Keenan discusses these different types of time in her wonderful book, It’s About Time. Many Americans are aware of only one type of time, linear time. Many not only live without silence, but may actually prefer constant noise. Just as stillness is more uncomfortable than movement, silence is more uncomfortable than noise.

I love stillness. I love quiet. It may make me a difficult neighbor, but it feeds my soul. If you are running non-stop, if you fall asleep before you can complete your prayers, if quiet and stillness make you uncomfortable, if you are one of those people who asked me what I did for eighteen months when I lived in Greece, or if I was bored or lonely when I lived in Maine, then you may be missing out on important gifts from non-linear time—regenerative capabilities, intuitive and archetypal wisdom, spiritual guidance, creative birthing, lightening-speed change--just to name a few.

Just consider for one non-linear moment, time as multidimensional, collapsing on itself. Think circle rather than straight line; then think 3-4-5-dimensional. Think folds—like genetic structures. Think past lives, archetypal experiences, different times cycling back on each other. Think the TV show Lost this last season. And if you did happen to see Lost, remember what happened to the characters that were passing through time too rapidly…that’s right…bloody noses and headaches, followed by death! Packing more and more into linear time has the same devastating effects as jumping rapidly from point to point in time. Both result in our being lost in time. If all we get are bloody noses or migraine headaches, then we’re getting off easy.

If you happen to be lost in linear time, the following are a few places where you may be found:

1. Become aware of your breath (never seems to work for me, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you!)
2. Focus on your senses (Come to your senses!)
3. Focus on now—not past, not future
4. Immerse yourself in something you love, something you’re passionate about, or with someone you love or are passionate about.
5. Connect with nature
6. Receive body work—massage, acupuncture, or other forms of energy work
7. Practice regression hypnotherapy
8. Create a meditation or prayer practice
9. Be still; be quiet
10. Create rituals

Recommended resources:

1. Caroline Myss’ upcoming book Defy Gravity, Hay House Radio Sacred Contract talks, and websites: and
2. Leslie Keenan’s book It’s About Time
3. Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now
4. Current season of Lost
5. Brian Weiss’ books such as Many Lives Many Masters and his regression CDs, such as Spiritual Progress Through Regression

My favorite ways to step out of linear time (not in any particular order):

1. Taking a walk
2. Prayer, stillness, quiet
3. Regression meditation
4. Listening to music
5. Playing the piano
6. Reading a good book
7. Traveling to Greece
8. Writing
9. Yoga
10. Spending time with special friends and family (especially children!)

Step out of linear time and find yourself!

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