The flipping of time, part I
Time is in itself a weird construct, but the way our bodies and inner systems react to it is even weirder. Or, sophisticated is perhaps a better word.
I believe we have all had those experiences when you wake up right before your clock rings, because your system just knows that today is important. Or when you wake up even if your clock didn’t ring, and your kids - for once in their entire 12 years long life - didn’t wake up early, but you can still juuuust make it to school if they swallow their breakfast and wear yesterday’s socks (not too much to ask). Or when somebody asks you the time and you simply guess, only to see afterwards that you were spot on, +/- 5 minutes.
Your system somehow knows time. In one way or another it is able to code some sense of time into its operational center, even without us working consciously on doing so. I actually think that this is a very natural ability, which is unfortunately more and more lost in a world where we don’t have to check in with ourselves and feeeeeel where we are, but can simply stay surface level and have everything served/thrown to our senses constantly. How many of us don’t even acknowledge that we are tired and that it’s time for bed because of the 24 hour screen service? But I digress.
Let me get to my point: My system has apparently encoded the three years of our expat adventure at some deep level of my being. It has sort of taken the ‘three years’ noted in our contract as the external input, sent it through all its filters and programmes, installed within me some sort of energetic hourglass, with the end result being that I am now walking around with this strange feeling that time has flipped. That more time has passed than we have left. It is running out. We are (slowly, but still) nearing the end.
It started a few weeks back as the two year mark began to show in the horizon (the shape of my hourglass is apparently somewhat lopsided. Sooo… I guess it is actually correct that your outer appearances mirror your inner state, ha!). Well, here we are already, rounding the 2 years mark.
The weird/sophisticated thing is that rationally, we don’t even know at this point whether we will be going home this time next year. Or whether we will stay a little longer. Or a lot longer. This is actually one of the recurrent topics for us, and probably for most expats. The only thing we know for sure is that our feelings about this delicate matter change almost from day to day.
At least that is how it has been all the way up till now. Somehow, this internal flipping of time seems to be sending us a message: ’In your minds you might still be running the pros and cons lists, you just go ahead and continue doing that. Meanwhile, we will start wrapping up here.’
Bobles are being sent up from the deep. I suddenly hear my self asking the children how they want their last time here to be. What they want it to be characterised by. What they really wish that we get to do before we leave. We now talk about that. About gratefully making the most out of the time we have left. Not because we have actively decided to put it on the agenda, but because that hourglass has been flipped deep inside, and a whole set of cogs and wheels have been put in motion to create this force that is just pulling us away, like the tide.
Even if this is such an intangible thing, it doesn’t seem like you can fight it. Much less deny it. Nor do I think I want to. The interesting question to me then becomes: ‘How do I work with this energy?’
Of course we can still decide to stay longer. And, as stated, we are undecided. Most of all because our daddy will be starting a new job in the company he works for here in the beginning of the new year, and he wants to stay open to whatever that brings. And just as much because our two boys just started Junior High, and we want them to have some of that experience and grow from it. And not least because we are all doing well. Living here, even during Corona, is not an experience of drowning, trying frantically to swim against the current. In fact, that current brought us here in the first place, the five of us on a tiny raft built from beliefs in going with the flow, following the adventure, trusting the stars.
But with this new inner state, we can’t just remain open and indecisive. That is not good enough any more. It takes a negotiation now. And even though we accept that and show up at the negotiation table - Kim and I on the one side, inner state-hourglass-shaped-tidal wave on the other - there is no flipping back. ‘You are not staying here forever,’ it says, ‘get moving.’
So - get moving is what I should do, and what I have been doing these past weeks. There is movement in this energy. And it wants to work with me. Well, wonderful.
Acknowledging whatever it is that is going on inside of you is the first step in allowing it to move through you. These past weeks I feel that so much has opened up for me, and I have had access to more energy and ease, creativity and crafting, love and laughter. Whereas earlier on during our stay, I have struggled to gain a feeling that I spend my time here wisely and purposefully, I now work and create in a flow that keeps me engaged and happy. A new level of meaning and direction has shown up, and I just move along. It feels goooood!
So, that is one way for me to move with this tidal energy.
Another way is for us to begin to truly realise who we have become, what we have left behind, what we want to bring along. This work is deep, centering, and incredibly important, I feel, not just for the coming year, but for the time after that too.
Related to this is the whole project of envisioning and creating our move to Denmark. Deliberately, I don’t say ‘our return to Denmark’, because I so clearly feel that it could and should never be simply a return. Because time has passed, everybody has changed, life has happened. Our countryside house is there, waiting for us, and we all look very much forward to living in it again, but in my mind I have started rearranging the furniture and thinking about other ways of letting new energy in. It would be wrong to assume that we could all just fit into the ‘prior to the US-box’. But that doesn’t mean that great parts of what was in that box can’t come along.
What I am trying to say is that I want the adventure to go on. To be completely honest, my biggest fear is to return(!) and become so absorbed in the everyday business that we loose the larger perspective and forget to seek the flow, spread our wings, and dare to fly.
In a sense, what I want to do is to stay so open and so in touch with the tide, that we float on our raft into our Danish home and life, and - who knows - perhaps also further on one day. If anything, the feeling of vast, endless opportunities for creating your life is what our stay here has given me. Another is the realisation that your life is lived in stages. It really isn’t just one life. The more you acknowledge this, the more you get to proactively design these stages and add your touch to them, and the better you become at letting go of what was before. Realising your dreams, taking them seriously, is what I am talking about. Dreams are not there to haunt you and leave you bitter and empty. They are there to escort you, to bring your focus deep within to that place where the sky is clear, and the stars guide you.
I will be writing a part II to this blogpost in which I dive more into the whole ‘should we stay or should we go-expat concern’ that has been our companion from day 1, including some of the reasons why it is not going to be the US forever for us, yet also touching upon the way of seeing the world through a whole new lens that this experience brings. This all accounts for some of the essential causes why time has flipped, I believe.
Actually, it is not that time is running out. It is more that I am beginning to realise that I can add sand, time, life to my hourglass. New sand which I trust that the tide will bring us to on that adventurous raft of ours.
Till next time, may you all float and flow on your unique rafts.