Friday, July 16, 2010

Buried Treasure: A Matter of Time/ Time and Time Again

Seth Apter of The Altered Page had a great idea, as usual.  He thought we should re-post one of our favorites from the past, as everyone may not have read it, and he would then post, on his blog, the links to all this BURIED TREASURE.  I thought this was brilliant, because I'm a slow-poke who often doesn't keep up with my blog reading.  Which brings me to the topic at hand: TIME.
(I kind of cheated because mine's a two-parter.)

  PART 1: A Matter of Time
Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali

Time has become somewhat of an issue with me lately.  To put it bluntly, I've been very stressed out about it, or, more specifically, about a lack of it.  When I'm doing anything, particularly artwork, I feel guilty about the 400 other things I should be doing.  A lot of these things just don't get done.  For example:

Cleaning the house - I mean really, doesn't it just get dirty again almost immediately?  There's practically no reward in it whatsoever!  Yet it must be done- again and again and again.

Cooking - The same thing only worse.  It takes at least four times as long to cook something as it does to eat it.  Then you have to clean it up!  

Errands - Do I really need to go to the post office, get the car washed, or buy laundry detergent?  I'm willing to bet no one ever died from not doing any of those things.  Which reminds me-

Laundry - Ugh!  Can't I just throw the dirty clothes away and buy new ones?  No, wait, which takes less time, washing clothes or going shopping?  Maybe I could just order them online, yeh, that might work... but it would be awfully expensive.  I'd have to get a second job, but then I'd have even less time to do what I want.  Aaaaaaaaaghh!!

Of course, the things listed above are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.  I think you can see my problem.  I just can't seem to find much time to make art.  It can literally take me days to do a blog post!   And the business side of it, well, forget it!  I have to choose- I can do art, or do the business, but not both.  Without the art, business is beside the point, and the art without trying to sell it is...well, not getting me any closer to doing it full time.

All of this results in me feeling pressured and nervous, always fretting about something I don't have time to do.  Not very Zen, eh?  So, since I can't get this time thing off my mind, I thought I'd use my blog to do a little exploration of time.  I mean, what is it, actually?  Why does time seem to zip by when we're doing something we enjoy, but crawl so slowly when we're, say, sitting through a boring class, or waiting in line?

Salvador Dali

Timothy Ferriss,  Four-Hour-A-Week Entrepreneur, states: "Conceptually, time is the framework that allows us to put experience on a continuum. Practically, time is a non-renewable resource that determines the redeemable value of almost all renewable resources on a personal level. Income, for example, cannot be traded for experience without the requisite hours or minutes. Time is the master limiting factor."  

Oh yeah, I hear that, Timothy!

 Nude Descending a Staircase,  Marcel Duchamp

"Time is the fourth dimension. The passage of time is an illusion."We have this illusion of a changing, three-dimensional world, even though nothing changes in the four-dimensional union of space and time of Einstein's relativity theory."If life were a movie, physical reality would be the entire DVD: Future and past frames exist just as much as the present one."   - Max Tegmark, Cosmologist. (MIT)

I like this idea better, but how do I make this work for me?  If all moments exist at once, why can't I just move to another spot on the DVD?   Maybe Carl Sagan can help me out:


Okay, I'm not so sure that was helpful, but I do love Carl Sagan!  I think I'll have to continue my time exploration later, because, yes...I'm out of time.

PART 2:  Time and Time Again

In my last post, I kind of ranted and raved about my arch-nemesis, TIME.  I'm sure most artists, especially those who, like me, work a full time day job, can relate.  At this time of year, it's easy to start freaking out about not having enough time to get things done.  I've gotten lots of empathy, which I truly do appreciate, and even an idea or two.  The most intriguing one was to "command time", requiring "just a tiny change in thought."  (Thanks, Cat!)  Apparently, Cat has been reading up on her General Theory of Relativity, a la Einstein, who happens to be one of my personal heroes.  Here's how he sums it up:

"People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between the past, the present, and the future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."  -Albert Einstein  

Here are a few other thoughts on time that I thought I'd share with you.  This one's pretty funny:

The line between science and mysticism sometimes grows thin. Today physicists would agree that time is one of the strangest properties of our universe In fact, there is a story circulating among scientists of an immigrant to America who has lost his watch. He walks up to a man on a New York street and asks, "Please, Sir, what is time?" The scientist replies, "I'm sorry, you'll have to ask a philosopher. I'm just a physicist."  Clifford Pickover, Nova Online

 So, I thought I'd check out what philosophy has to say.  Here's a bit about the Tibetan Buddhist perspective:
Kalachakra Mandala: The Wheel of Time
The word kalachakra means cycles of time, and the Kalachakra system presents three such cycles – external, internal and alternative. The external and internal cycles deal with time as we normally know it, while the alternative cycles are practices for gaining liberation from these two. 

According to Buddhist thought, we humans discriminate between past, present and future, and we give them substance by attaching name and meaning to them. This everyday notion of time is not reality and is based on fundamental ignorance (or avidya). Unlike the Christian concept of time, time in Buddhism has no beginning and no end.  In order to awaken to true reality, one must do as Hesse's Siddhartha did - i.e. eliminate the concept of time by realizing that it has no substance. This is how [one] attain[s] wisdom and enlightenment.  -The Conscious Universe  
The question is, how do we make these ideas work for us?  eHow has some suggestions on How to Transcend Time and Space: 
*  Meditation is one of the best-known ways to transcend time and space.
In the Moment  by Laurel Julian
* Try attending a trance dance, ecstatic dance or another movement class where there is no talking allowed in the space. Allow the music and movements of your body to take you outside space and time.  

* Make a commitment to spiritual growth. The more you practice living in the present moment and loving yourself, the more you will experience pure moments of superconsciousness.
Spirit in Flight, by Laurel Julian  
Busy yourself doing something you love. Crafting, reading, painting, singing: Do anything artistic that you enjoy. If you are truly focused and love what you are doing, time and space with dissolve. You can even transcend time and space while doing household chores!Turn your creative outlets into a ritual. Set intentions for what you want while you are creating.
Wait a minute, wasn't that what this whole TIME thing was about in the first place-  not having the TIME to do what I love?  Is that ironic, or what?  I guess I've come full circle here; it has been pretty cathartic in the end.  I guess it's TIME to stop whining and get back to making art!
By the way, I'm pretty sure the part about household chores is a lie! ;)

Don't forget to check out all of the BURIED TREASURE!


  1. You've listed all the things that get in the way of making art. It drives me mad that as quickly as I do the chores they become undone again. Aah well, at least we are not alone in this struggle for time.

  2. I first realized the "time element" you allude to the first time I started stone carving. I came home after wards (3 hrs buzzed by like nothing) and on arrival home, could not sleep for quite awhile, as the "creative/timeless" part of living beat out the non creative aspects of time, even for a short moment.

    I still remember, hearing Alan Watts on my transistor radio sunday mornings on kya in SF, in awe at his laughter and over all philosophy. It was one part that turned me into who I am, of this I am sure.

    Nicely done & Cheers!

  3. wow, time, my favorite enemy, second only to guilt... if Einstein had been s woman, I wonder if he would have devised a theory about the relationship between the two. I'm going to think on that...

  4. Sharmon, you have spent some time here with my "favorite of favorite"
    topics...what was it again? Oh YES! TIME! That "thingless thing" out there which rules us in every way.

    thank you for the meditation suggestion (again) is RIGHT with me like that also....

    BTW, I have not gone anywhere, blog almost every day, or two or three...actually, when I find the T I M E.......grin!

  5. Cool blog. Thanks for checking out mine too. Texas has their own music is awesome! Do some exploring here: By the looks of your music taste you would love some of our bands down here!

  6. So many aspects of time and how so many things can take time away from the studio-- and yet all such a part of life and living-- if you want to eat or be clean or rest :-)
    but we are all in the same boat.

  7. Thanks for a really interesting post. I think I should take some lessons from my 8yr old son Nico. He has Asperger's Syndrome and he rarely has any concept of time (which can be frustrating!).
    if I say something is happening in 2 days time he gets confused and I have to write it on a chart. He lives totally in the present, all that's important to him is what is happening now.

  8. Thanks for visiting my blog. I really enjoyed what I read on yours so far. I can relate. I also saw Seth's invitation for buried treasure and decided not to do it because I didn't have the time!

    Somewhere recently I read something that helped me with this issue, that it is not really time that we have to work with but energy. If we can find the ways in which we can get our energy to work best, and you mentioned some of them, like meditation, then we can sort of shape shift with time. It is kind of amazing what can happen!


  9. 聰明人之所以不會成功,是因為他們缺乏了堅忍的毅力。.......................................................

  10. You have such a way of pulling it all together...

    I believe this is the best synopsis of time... and how time can seem to be ruling us... that I've seen...I love the images you plugged in...truly a buried treasure worth bringing back to the surface.

  11. Patti- I never thought of that, but you're right, they must be related.

    Jeb, I hate to admit it, but I probably listen to more Texas musicians that Kentucky. I do like bluegrass, but I listen to Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Gut Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Nanci Griffith... Musically speaking, Texas rocks!

  12. Erika, I do like the way you think! Energy probably has a lot to do with it, in more ways than one. I'm going to work on that one!

  13. I remember your 1st post on time, and it's elusiveness! Commanding time, taking control of it rather than it controlling us, sounds empowering! Though I sometimes feel pressed for time, I realize it's the one thing I do have an ample supply of, until I don't - and then I'll be gone. But until then, it's the one thing that's always here with me - time to spend as fully and richly as I possibly can. My awareness of being immersed in the time I'm using while I'm using it, living it, experiencing it - that is my challenge, rather than seeing it as past or escaped, or somewhere I can't reach... very interesting topic!! thanks Sharmon ❤

  14. A great buried all the info about time! I think about contemplating time and use of time but, don't you know it, I never have time! Thanks for sharing this, was def worht seeing again or for the first time!

  15. Douglas Adams writer of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy has my favorite time quote... "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so" I know that is a bit silly, but whenever time is pressing me I remember that quote and it makes me a bit giggly and then I can relax a bit.

  16. I just love this post so much. I write pages and pages about time myself, trying to understand it, figure it out- but it always alludes me. Loved reading all of your definitions and philososophical contributions on time- and most of all- the thought that time never stands still. So we are blessed and should try to identify and feel each of our moments the very best we can- never know when we will have our last. Thanks for this wonderful time you've given me- just heavenly!!!


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I'm happy to reply here, but may not always have time for individual emails.