Wisdom for the Holidays–Timing is Everything

Timing is everything.  Time does not stand still.  Time changes all things.

Standing in a long line at a department store one day, my spouse asked, “Why do we always end up in the longest line?”  I responded, “Because we have not yet learned the virtue of patience.”

 He grinned and groaned simultaneously bracing himself for a philosophical treatise. I really can’t complain because I’m most often in the shorter line, the times I felt lucky.  It also works with parking spaces, too.  My spouse will vouch for me that 98% of the time I will find a parking space on a crowded and busy street.  When my sister, who is also aware of my “luck,” and I were in London and a friend drove us to the opening of Carmen we landed a parking spot  near the door of the theatre.  She looked at me and said, “It works here, too!”

 There is a secret about human movement that everyone should know—the secret of being in the right place at the right time.  Read carefully, because this bit of wisdom will serve you well during the busy holiday season.

 Movement is about timing, rhythm, and sharing space or proximity.  The secret of being in the right place and the right time requires a heightened awareness of movement and changes occurring in your environment including movement of people, air currents, moods, and anything susceptible to change. 

 Change requires movement which occurs in rhythmic cycles.  Athletes are keenly aware of this fact and they train to “peak” at the right time—at game time, or at a championship game, or during a tournament, because they believe and expect a “change cycle” in performance.  Meteorologists report on the rhythmic weather patterns and we prepare our daily routines around their predictions of fair or foul weather. 

 Humans are certainly creatures of rhythmic movements.  Each day we walk or drive by hundreds of people and it is a rare occasion when we bump into someone.  We call it an “accident.”  What do we do?  We say, “Oh, excuse me!”  Bumping into others is an inappropriate social behavior, and if done on purpose, it is a deviant behavior deserving punishment.

 Here are some rules about time and movement that we already observe:

 Rule #1:  We all watch and are aware of everyone else’s movements to prevent bumping into each other!  When you go to the malls and grocery stores the next couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, watch the wave-like movement of shoppers, especially when music is playing in the mall.   You’ll witness shoppers latching on to the rhythm and beat of the music in the way they walk and talk.  When someone zigs, you zag. 

 When you move in rhythm with your environment, you’ll get on and off the merry-go-round of holiday shopping with ease and comfort.  You may even drive into the parking lot of your favorite store just as someone is leaving, as if the parking space was waiting for your arrival.  What perfect timing!  A tip here is that a positive attitude goes a long way in making the rhythm work for you.

 Rule #2:  Timing is cultural!  This means our rate of movement is learned behavior, which begins in our mother’s womb.  We inherit and first move to the rhythm of our parents.  The Hawaiian hula expresses the calm, laid back and carefree aloha spirit of the Islands.  We call it ho’omalimali, or “take it easy.”  When I fly home to Hawaii and get the first whiff of Hawaiian air at the airport, I “automatically” feel less stressed and more relaxed. 

Rhythm includes proximity, or space of movement.  For instance we drive on the right side of the road, and when we push our shopping carts in the supermarket, do we push it on the right or left side of the aisle? And what happens when someone is coming down the aisle on the “wrong” side?  It trips us up!  One day I accompanied my daughter to the military PX in Fort Lewis, Washington, and noticed that the military store had footprints on the floor for shoppers to follow,  and if you wandered off in your own direction, you were kindly reminded to follow footprints.  When we go to another country or visit homes of friends we experience different rules of rhythm and movement.

 So, be aware of the different cultural rhythms and be willing to adjust to the change, as others are constantly making changes for you, too.   This is especially true in non-verbal communication.  If the cashier is moving slower than you, or speaking too rapidly for you, pause and adjust your synchronicity.  If you’re standing in a line and a child in front of you is moving and wiggling all over, it is not the child that is the irritant; it is the off-sync rhythm that is bothering you.  Languages also display different timing.  Do you notice how different languages have different rhythms and accents? Rule #2 requires discipline and effort to recognize and accept different rhythms, then to positively adjust for personal comfort.

 Rule #3:  It’s true and we know it–time stops for no one…which means that change is constant, so expect and recognize it, and make positive adjustments.  You’ll be surprised when what you are looking for will pop up right in front of you at the right time.  For example, you frantically look for pink house slippers for your daughter for Christmas.  Suddenly, you see a pair of red slippers with delicate pearl design.  Wow!   Rather than pushing the red slippers aside, you “suspend” pink, and allow yourself to realize that the red slippers will match her robe which has both red and pink colors in it, and the red slippers are fancy and she’ll love them.  How lucky you are to have been in the right place at the right time because these are the last pair on sale.  So the pink slippers changed to red with pearls and it worked because you “flowed” with change.

 How do you make these rules work for you?  First, a positive mental outlook is necessary to deal with changes, because when we develop a heightened awareness of all movement around us, we dance the “universal dance” respectfully.  We don’t “take up” space, but rather “share” universal space with others.  We stop getting irritated, and instead seek the comfort of synchronicity without blaming others for our discomfort.

 Next, believe that the universe wants to and will supply our needs and all we need do is ask.  We help the process and increase our chances of attaining what we want by believing, visualizing and expecting positive outcomes and they will happen.  The trigger is belief and a positive attitude.  For example, if someone pulls into the parking space at the front door of the store right before you do, know and expect that there is another space waiting for you—for the universe supplies everyone’s needs.  Relax, stay positive and find the rhythm of the universe at the moment.  It will guide you to your parking space.  

 Finally, positive thinking and expectations include not wishing ill on anyone nor envying your neighbor’s property or success.  Negative attitude blocks all opportunities coming your way.

 So my special wish for you as we move into the holiday season is to think positively, visualize and expect positive outcomes, and be aware of and embrace change.  Find the rhythm and dance the dance and you’ll be the luckiest and happiest person standing in short lines, and finding all the right gifts by being at the right place at the right time.

 P.S.  You may want to read The Dance of Life:  The Other Dimension of Time by Edward T. Hall, my favorite cultural anthropologist.

Snowed In Cabin Day

Cabin Life 3 – Life’s harshness sculptures strong people.  Humility overcomes strength and births love.  Today my cabin becomes a classroom, and my Spirit Self (SS) challenges me to seek her fully because she is the real me.

Saturdays are for exploring, after filling all my water containers, checking my oil supply, occasionally cleaning out my oil stove, and sanitizing my cabin.  A typewriter ribbon doesn’t last too long, and it is a good excuse for a drive to Anchorage, but today is a full “snowed in cabin day.”

Today the snow is falling steadily.  My typewriter at the table faces the front window overlooking my little porch.  I tie my green curtains to the side and watch the giant snowflakes fall softly, like light cotton candy balls piling up rapidly, inch by inch until the front steps are hidden.  Silence embraces me, her friend, and I search my bookshelves for lively entertainment.

I receive telephone calls only at the office.  My cabin is without telephone and television.  With no wires connected to my cabin, a telephone is impossible.  The hill has bad television reception (according to the previous tenants), and I have my little portable radio that I bought while in college and it catches only three stations.  The clearest reception is a Christian Bible station which intermittently becomes static nonsense.

So books and the electronic typewriter are my true indulgence, and my Spirit Self constantly challenges me to seek and define my higher self to gain knowledge and understanding beyond the physical realm.  I am permitted…no, invited… to step through a veil just by closing my eyes for a clearer vision of a life without regrets, and a promise of a destiny not without struggles but certain completion of my life’s purpose fulfilled.

My cabin time is to chart that road—so says SS.  This morning nothing on my bookshelves jump out at me, so I sit once again at my typewriter, letting SS type at her will.  I am a woman with gifts and graces not meant for storage with mothballs, but to wisely grow and fulfill my purpose.  She further instructs, Study and work to find your higher self, redefining and acknowledging your values and rediscovering my attributes.

SS loves sitting on my shoulders whispering in my ears.  She is my higher self and we have deep discussions, and today we discuss “passion.”  Ah, passion, so carnal, it wreaks havoc with the physical body as it cries out in pain, ecstatic joy, deep sorrow, yearnings and longings.  Those are the cries of mental anguish or pleasure, and the lie is that such emotions are only met and remedied in the physical realm with the aid of medical devices, drugs and counseling.

No, it is the spiritual that looks at the physical “child” (for that is what I am) in the eye and says, “Those are just emotions, feelings that belong to another place and time.  They are not forever.  I am forever, and in me the pain and sorrow fall away.”

Oh, Spirit Self, what of the joy and love?  They are emotions, too.

 Jen, there are emotions, and there are truths.  Love is not an emotion.  Love is, just as your spirit is, just as God is.  Joy is an attribute of love, and therefore, where love is, joy abounds.

The greatest love expressed to us, oh Spirit Self, has been the sacrificial love of Christ.  And there were much sadness and sorrow in what we call love.

Again, Jen, you must discern the physical from the spiritual.  There is physical pain, and Jesus expected it and endured it.  However, it was through the knowledge and promise of the spiritual world—the world of His kingdom that Jesus overcame.  We are spiritual-physical beings, and not physical-spiritual.   When you understand this truth you will master your emotions.

Although I speak with SS a great deal it helps me to put my thoughts on paper in an orderly fashion.  She encourages me to write and oftentimes I feel she is dictating my writing.  It’s like painting a picture—you never know the result until it’s done.  And while the artist is at work she becomes one with the paint and the canvas and she paints the picture that is already there, inside of her, and she mixes colors and brushes and dots and smears paint on paint until out of all the thoughts and blobs a picture emerges, and she exposes the simple, plain truth she has learned.

© Jennifer Lee and WomenNewDefinitions.Wordpress.com, November 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Jennifer Lee and WomenNewDefinitions.WordPress.com is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Lee and WomenNewDefinitions.Wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.