Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Lately, it seems that everyone I speak with has been finding that time is not moving in the way it used to. Most commonly, I’ve been hearing it described as “weird.” My theory is that this is partly due to the disruption of many of our regular routines. But there is also something else going on. Under “normal” circumstances, we tend to perceive time in a very elastic way – sometimes it flies by, and other times it crawls painfully slowly. Usually, this is directly connected to whatever activity we are engaged in at the time. When we are immersed in something we love doing, we find ourselves in Flow, and time loses all meaning. When we are doing something we really don’t enjoy, the minutes can feel like hours. Overall, though, we tend to live our lives in perceived chronological, linear time, or Kronos, as the ancient Greeks called it.
The strange passing of time that many of us are experiencing right now feels very different from Kronos. And I’ve heard several people refer to this state as Kairos. This is another ancient Greek term for time, but for time that has moved beyond the constraints of Kronos. Kairos as when we find ourselves in a moment of “broken time,” when it no longer follows our perceived linearity. It essentially bends, creating a bridge between our physical three-dimensional world and the imaginal realm that and allows us to connect to the eternal, if we choose to. Kairos is a combination of time and place that generates the opportune environment to use actions, words, or movements to create positive change.
In a recent interview, Michael Meade, author/storyteller/mythologist, described the moment of George Floyd’s death as a moment when time stopped for all who witnessed it, placing us in awe of the tragedy. It is a moment of crisis like this, where we can choose to go deeper into the darkness of it, or to use it as an opportunity to heal. And we have witnessed myriad people around the world choosing the path of healing through marches, protests, letter-writing campaigns, donations, speaking, listening, asking for change. At the same time, the pandemic has changed the way we live, move, and relate. This contributor to Kairos time has also been an opportunity to see how our usual habits affect ourselves, others, and the world. So, I am taking this time to reflect on what works for me and what doesn’t, how I affect the world and other people, and what changes I need to make to help make the world a better place.