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Time unbound—Kairos? ⌛

3things jordan myska allen personal growth relatefulness stayinlove Apr 11, 2024


The linear progress of time is so engrained in my meaning-making I find it surprisingly difficult to step outside of it. But upon close inspection, it seems to be an extremely useful mental model overlaid on a happening that’s much more all-inclusive. I can hardly even write about it without invoking time oriented frames.

Why does this matter? One example: We often therapeutically look to the past to see the “origin” of a particular habit. Eg: “My parents ignored my crying, so I learned to ignore my needs to cope, and now I only date people who don’t care about me”. Hence, a really helpful question in (some forms of) analysis: “Do you remember when you first felt that?” Often, when we find that “first” feeling, we see from our current vantage point that it was based on a mistaken assumption (“of course my parents loved me and my needs were important! I only developed a normal defense mechanism because that’s all I had”), and we can “release” or rewrite the narrative in such a way that we no longer find it compelling. For example: “Now I can look for my needs, and make sure to vet that anyone I date cares about what I care about too”.

But the change is always in the here, the power in the now. What if, instead of the distant-past causes recent-past causes now, what’s really happening is NOW is the origin, and I then assign meaning onto my so-called “past” to support comprehending the incomprehensible now? In this rewriting, whatever is happening now is the cause, and the past are the effects. This is of course true for the future as well.

The important bit for me is not necessarily the importance of “now”; the important bit is that even “NOW” is a construct, a way of navigating a seeming infinity of happening that’s all interconnected—whether through time-and-the-big-bang, or quantum entanglement, or God, or something else. Now requires not-now, reifying a conceptual overlay of time onto something… what that something is I’m struggling to speak to. What other conceptions of time are there? What have you experienced? Yesterday I heard about a timeless experience a friend had giving birth. Fate is an example of linear time, but where causality is in the future. I have the impression many indigenous cultures saw time cyclically. I’m confident there are many more I don’t yet know, but I’m excited to lean into them, and learn from you guys, and others.

Again this feels extremely practical. Not just in the foundational physics of relativity and quantum mechanics that underpin our ‘material’ universe, or the damningly mundane and impactful quagmires we put ourselves in around (tax) deadlines, quarterly reports, and overloaded schedules. But also in relatefulness, where in the depths of personal and communal, conceptual and the experiential intertwinement, the nonlinear nature of time reveals itself already transforming us.

We often see situations where someone seemingly ‘resolves patterns’ or ‘heals ancient’ wounds in a seeming instant, without trying to, often without even being able to explain the causal mechanism. They just know that something is forever different. I think that often, a different time-construction is at play, and we can tap into this by remembering how free we are to “choose once again” in whatever moment we’re in. I choose love.

P.s. I think it’s useful to mention here that I believe in being on time. It’s a very functional frame, as I mentioned, especially for coordination: It allows us for example to have over 40 sessions a week online, to send this weekly email, and offer tons of cool stuff at our upcoming Relateful Camp. But ideally we can develop the agility to choose and use our time frames when they suit us in service of truth and love, not have time use us.


With love, Jordan


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