I. Time is a coordinate necessary to locate an event
The most important time each day is 6:30 to 7:30 am, when I make coffee, tend to chores, prowl around with the cats looking for birds, gently wake up my wife, and cozy up to talk about the dreams we had, or the day ahead, or our worries, or the specific quality of light that fills our house at this hour. Too sleepy to be hurried, I am slow, soft and clumsy in the mornings. I yield to the brightness of the day as it arrives.
I am a part-time teacher, part-time dancer, part-time choreographer, part-time administrator, part-time director of a company I founded, part-time student, part-time somatics practitioner, and a part-time gardener. I aim to devote part of my time each day to contemplation, tenderness with the pets I parent, reading for curiosity and pleasure, dealing with emails and planning ahead. The things I will not make time for include: social media, working out, ironing clothes. The things I want to create more time for include: cultivating vegetables, learning to weave, being in my studio practice, and beaches.
Adopting a part-time life – that is, one in which my labor encompasses a multitude of continuously shifting jobs – is the choice I made in order to have room for artistic process and continuing education. In the normative culture, the variability of this lifestyle is mostly seen as ineptitude, as weakness. Part-time life is a transitory state, something you pass through on your way to maturity, success and security. Staying too long makes you a slacker at best, a failure at worst. While I’ve learned to reject these toxic narratives, their stinging judgements continue to play in the background. If all my commitments are part-time, am I doing enough for any of it to matter? Are these threads in my life so short that, at any time, one or more might fall away? And who would I be then?
To sustain a sense of productivity and purpose, I’ve been crafting a counter-narrative about my part-time living: I am a highly adaptive creature, with the mobility required to move swiftly and elegantly through many environments. My capacity to inhabit various roles means I invite more perspectives into my daily experience. I am collecting new skills that strengthen my resolve to know the world in more ways. This is a survival strategy and philosophy of the heart.
III. All the Time
In our contemporary vernacular, time is most often referred to as a commodity – something to have, to take, to spend, waste, save, or steal. But what about all the things I do that don’t consume time - the ongoing processes flowing through me, taking place in cycles independent of clock or calendar? My body (my resourceful and wise self) can do these things all the time:
Orient to space
Make myself new though cellular division
Regulate my temperature
Integrate my history
Cope with gravity
Move my attention around
Perform my identity
Digest food and turn it into usable energy
Soften my commitment to my habits
Shift points of view