Time is Elastic

October by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild, Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost–
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Have you ever stopped to consider that your experience of time is elastic? It passes slowly when you’re waiting, swiftly when you’re playing, it’s too short when you’re in a hurry and too long when you’re racked with worry. Time itself likely doesn’t shift, but your perception of it does in many ways.

Regardless of the speed at which time appears to be passing, there are always openings that allow you to gain new understanding, control or mastery over areas of your life which were previously beyond your grasp. These openings can be constructed as well as discovered.

The mediocre person rarely sees the openings afforded him by world around him. The average person recognizes and seizes the occasional lucky break, that is, openings that come his way serendipitously. The outstanding person not only seizes upon those openings given to him by chance, but he also creates those openings just as an archer sizes up his opportunity and responds to it with great care or as a weaver creates his own situational context by interweaving the weft thread (which he controls) through the warp threads (which are fixed and held under tension).

So it is in living. You have the opportunity to interface with a more or less fixed pattern of circumstances which are shaped by the conglomeration of cause and effect in the world around you in any given moment. You can handle that warp with artistry, mindfulness and creativity or you can follow out old patterns, without much thought, care or appreciation for the experience.

Some people spend their entire lives simply going through the motions. They grow up, they work, they retire, they die. They avoid the openings that would likely lead them to new levels because they are afraid of the unknown. And they certainly wouldn’t go out of their way to create those openings. That, alas, would be at the bottom of their list of work to be done in any given day.

Others embrace life, seize upon the openings that come their way and do their very best to construct openings for others, which in turn increases the likelihood of more openings in the future. Both can happen in the space of the same time and the choice as to which pattern emerges is entirely up to you.

Which will it be?

8 thoughts on “Time is Elastic

  1. Colin

    Opportunities as a whole are interesting things. They come and they go, and often they don’t come back in the same way that they occurred initially. I think one of the most important life skills is learning to move with the cyclical nature of opportunities. If you try to push and make an opportunity where it is not appropriate, you will end up tired and frustrated. It is much easier to work with the natural rhythms of life, where you can make opportunities that are seamless and smooth. If the weaver tried to make a certain pattern at the wrong time in the process, it wouldn’t work. It’s the same idea. As we learn to really respect life and work with it instead of bullheadedly trying to push our own agenda, we will find that our day to day existence can become like surfing on top of the wave instead of being caught under it.


  2. TW

    In recent times in my life I have experienced events that would cause most any person to pause and seize the moment. I have found since this time that indeed, time itsself can be manipulated by a conscious decision to be present and alert to the many blessings and opening that present themselves in any given day, and there are many when you decide to look for them. Life is precious and I have noticed that when I just go through the motions at any point, the day ends quickly with an empty feeling attached to it. When I am in the moment and present with the ones I love and doing the things I love to do, the day is rich and filled with an energy that I can only say invigorates me and helps me to get through even the toughest chalenges. Thanks for your post, here’s hoping that all your readers embrace your words. Wonderful poem!!


  3. MMc

    Time can be our adversary or our ally depending on the circumstance. Wishing time would slow or hasten is a red herring that takes takes our awareness from the areas where we do have sway. I’ve felt so powerless that I felt all I could do was hold my breath and wait for the storm to pass. I’ve also had the experience of being in the worst of times and becoming conscious of the control that is always ours. The seed for the opening has often started in my heart with thankfulness, forgiveness or appreciation. These active attitudes seem to precede the opening that can sometimes appear as a miracle. Wonderful post-thanks.


  4. Isabelle

    What a great reminder (or introduction) to the importance of appreciating time by being in the moment, and as my husband often says, to be “alive, awake and aware.” Time is going to go by either way, so why not look for the openings and the opportunities to truly live.


  5. Coco

    The comparison of the weft thread to the control we have in our lives is excellent. Your vivid depiction today of the opportunity to live the uncommon, expansive and I’d say more meaning filled life is a perfect example of how we can create openings for others. You just did. Thank you.


  6. Ricardo B.

    The latter sounds much more attractive!
    Our momentary awareness does intersect time and space, and it’s the quality of that awareness that determines to a great degree what is to become of us and the world around us. I’ve noticed the sharper you are, the timelier you are in recognizing the various gifts of opportunity, the more you grow and develop as a person. A tricky thing is to not ‘judge’ what that opportunity looks like or have preconceived ideas as to what it should look like for you; I think many a good stepping stone in personal advancement has been squandered on this basis. You don’t have to like something for it to be valuable. Now to further consider how to share opportunity with others and to open spaces for others to develop and exercise, that’s a monumental blessing for now there is a heightened value in the passage of time as more people are sharing in an enriching experience which creates the potential to further enhance the world round about. Carried all the way through, there’s no telling to what can come out of carrying this attitude in life!


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