A bit on time

In his profound and beautiful book, The Edge of Sorrow, Francis Weller talks of meeting his mentor, Clarke Berry.

Our first meeting, over 30 years ago, was unforgettable. When we sat down, Clarke reached to his left, placed a hand on a large rock lying on a table, and said, This is my clock. I operate at geologic speed. And if you were going to work with the soul, you need to learn this rhythm, because this is how the soul moves.” Then he pointed to a small clock also sitting there and added, It hates this.”

Funny enough, this passage stopped me in my tracks. It struck me as one of the deepest truths that there is. Indeed, Weller comments that this was the …single most important thing [he] ever learned about therapy….” The structure of time that we use to organize our lives is a wonderful tool. A calendar allows me to schedule a coffee with a friend for October 8th, 2019, when it’s only September 6th. Indeed, I did just that. Our dog sitter put our vacation we just took on her calendar in June of 2018. I’m sure the massive light rail construction project that is unfolding about a block from my house has a complicated calendar that outlines hundreds if not thousands of tasks and milestones. It’s amazing what we can do with structured time.

Yet, it’s only a tool. It is simply a means by which to organize. Healing, on the other hand, is not organized. Neither is growth. In fact, I’m beginning to think of those two things as one. These things happen on the scale of time that is necessary, something that we can’t influence the way we think we’d like to. We have to simply be present with what is happening, and trust that the soul will take us in the right direction. It will. Of course, it doesn’t always feel like it. And what is right” may not look at all like what we think. It’s certainly not on the kind of timeline we’re accustomed to.

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