kairos–Greek: a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. Wikipedia
18 years ago on Halloween weekend, I moved to Asheville to take a new job and to live in a place I loved. As I was preparing to make the move a friend showed me an ad for a rarely available cottage in Biltmore Forest that was for rent. The only contact information was a post office box, so I sent a letter of interest.
3 weeks went by without a reply and I was looking for something else when I got a call one morning from the owner. “Robert, this is Mrs. McCarly. You wrote about the cottage for rent.” I knew who this woman was because my father had known her husband and had spoken of him before. Within 2 more weeks, I was moving in.
The place was beautiful! Hardwood floors, a big stone fireplace, a bright, sunny bedroom all surrounded by 3 acres of forest and a small stream with deer in the yard early in the day and at sunset. It was just the remedy for some hard times I’d experienced over the prior couple of years. I was living alone in this natural wonderland with quiet beauty all around.
After I’d been there a while, I noticed a shift in my perception of the world. Whereas before I’d lived exclusively on “chronos” or chronological time, now I was living more on “kairos” or soul time. There was a different tempo to my life, a greater appreciation of the passing of the sun across the sky and the beauty of nature that surrounded me.
I wrote an article for Science of Mind Magazine entitled “Living on Kairos Time” that was accepted for publication. Chronos time is where we all live—by the clock; getting up by the clock, working by the clock, and sleeping by the clock, a relentless cycle. What I found in the forest in Asheville was healing time, time where the clock was a lesser factor. From my years of participating in men’s groups I know most men, since childhood, have never had the space to just be. Most men I knew had become human doings, rather than human beings.
Einstein said time and space are pretty much the same thing, so what I was creating in that kairos time, was space. Chronos time had not led me to a place I wanted to be. My only option then was to create some space in my life to rethink an assumption that I was having a life, rather than living a life. The former places me in the role of a victim of fate, of Odysseus on stormy seas, at the mercy of the gods. The latter places me in charge of my life. It implies that I can choose the way I will live my life, choosing to be the victim of no man.
The 3 years in the forest taught me many things, but the most important take away was that I created some space in my life. No longer was there just one way of looking at and thinking about my world and my place in it. Living in kairos allowed some breathing room. It gave me the first opportunity in many years to just be and create in myself the life I wanted to live in the next chapter. In short, I developed a more creative outlook based on enjoying life and I gave up some of the negativity I’d absorbed over my life to that point. It was, as in all things, a simple (not easy) shift in thought and attention that has made all the difference.
I am infatuated with this duality of “chronos” and “kairos” time. You put it so eloquently – I want more kairos time. Coincidentally, I was in the forests of Asheville last week (and toured the Biltmore Estate). I wish to return soon as I felt the space created by the mountains (not available in the Midwest) and abundant trees.
Biltmore and Biltmore Forest are unique and mystical places. I really believe, as the books propose, that strong ley lines intersect in that area. The mountains and near water have always been catalysts for checking in to kairos time for me. Thanks for your comment.
Thanks Tim, I’ll see what I can do about sharing some of my music. One of my resolutions this year is to go record over 2 dozen of my songs for posterity. Bandcamp.com looks pretty cool and your music is great. Very nice guitar work. I’ll listen some more and thanks for reading my blog!