Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lost and Found in Linear Time, Revisited

I shared a conversation with two dear friends tonight about linear time, or, rather, the absence of. We hadn’t glanced at the time once, and in the blink of an eye, more than four hours had passed. I remembered a previous blog post I had written about stepping out of linear time; they requested that I repost it. I wrote the original within a few days of hearing Caroline Myss talk about stepping out of linear time and of watching the season finale of Lost. Here’s a slightly updated version:

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; I seemed to have all the time in the world. My mother was careful not to fill our childhood days. My heart and breath constrict when my friends list the activity-packed lives of their children. “More is better--structure is better” has hit even 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 re-create 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 almost 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 in her wonderful book, It’s About Time. Many Americans are aware of only one type of time, the linear kind. There are unaware of the space between time, that of deep stillness and silence.

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 the 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.

Consider, for one non-linear moment, time as multidimensional, collapsing on itself. Think circles rather than straight lines; then think multi-dimensional. Think folds, like genetic structures. Think past lives, archetypal experiences, different times cycling back on each other. Think the TV show Lost during its last season—and if you did to see it, 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 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 in 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.

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. Creating jewelry
10. Spending time with special friends and family (especially children!)

What are your favorite ways? I invite you to step out of linear time and find yourself again!

Recommended Resources:

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

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is Love is Love

I left my heart...
For me, it’s all the same. Mother. Sibling. Child. Lover. Friend. Partner. Love is love is love. The feeling is the same. The way I express my love may differ, but it feels the same. It’s centered in my heart. Second chakra is generative. It is the home of our creative desire.

But love connects through the fourth chakra. Spirit merges with the human body through love, through the heart.

My three-year-old nephew understood this better than any adult. He asked, “Auntie Becca, why do you have to go to Greece?” and I answered, “It doesn’t matter where I am, how far away, because I’ll always be right here.” I touched his heart.

I send to you the glorious smile that radiated out of his face, the love that came pouring out of his little body. He understood what we so easily forget.

Love is always here. A heartbeat away.

Happy Valentine's Day! Wishing you much love and joy in 2011.

**Read other Love Sparks Blogging Festival posts here!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Case for Aquamarine Blue...or, Stifling Creativity

Before I start, a disclaimer: I adore teachers, even the ones who are bad at their job. Both my parents were teachers. My mother went back to school in her fifties to obtain a PhD in Education and then used it to teach teachers how to teach! So, please don’t misunderstand my intention. As you know, certain experiences in our childhood have great influence over us, and a seemingly insignificant incident from the first grade haunts me still.

It involved a color and an art assignment. It also involved creativity, freedom of expression (or lack there-of), and the misuse of power.
The simple fact that I, at the ripe age of fifty-one, still remember it, vividly, tells me it was anything but insignificant. A second fact, that this event involved a (once) beloved teacher, is even more horrifying. Children are vulnerable. When the adults they adore mistreat or hurt them, well…you can see why so many of us end up with messed up relationships and low self-esteem.

It was a simple thing. We were given an art assignment.
Media: pastel chalks. Advised color: aquamarine blue.

I don’t know if I needed blue for the sea or for the sky, but my teacher told me to use aquamarine blue. (Why she found it necessary to dictate my blue color choice, I don’t know. But, suffice to say, there were probably underlying control issues going on. Certainly something she could get away with in a room full of six-year-olds.)

So, I carefully checked all of the different blues and used aquamarine blue. What happened next is embedded in my memory. When I proudly showed my teacher my art piece she raised her voice, “I told you to use aquamarine blue, Rebecca!” I, a perfectionist at the age of six, was horrified and ashamed.

Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering what on earth is wrong with me, talking about aquamarine blue and the hurt I experienced at six because I wasn’t allowed to create an art piece, while other children in our world are suffering horrendous abuse. This is exactly my point. If something so small and seemingly insignificant still holds a piece of my brain property, what other occupied real estate is close by?

Perhaps this wasn’t just one woman’s need to control her first-graders. Perhaps this was an early indoctrination of following the rules (in a society in which the rules are mixed up), and then getting into trouble for following them! Perhaps this was a reflection of the devaluation of the creative, of the arts. Perhaps this was a mandate against personal expression and dissenting opinions.

I wonder, do you have any early experiences, seemingly insignificant, that still haunt you?