I believe in biological time.
From as early as I can remember, I have believed that I am a soul in a body. This notion helped me cope with my difficulties growing up. I was one of those clumsy nose-in-a-book types who often ran into things or stepped wrong, because I just wasn’t paying attention to where my body was in space. I often misjudged my trajectory passing through doorways—I still do from time to time.
As my body entered puberty I gained a lot of weight to avoid dealing with all the physical issues my development suggested. But as I grew, I grew gradually more comfortable in my body, through dance and through music. I lost weight.
I have always moved to music. I took ballet as a kid, and modern dance in college. I did a lot of dancing when dating. I don’t know if I was a good dancer, but I know that I was immersed in trying to express the music with my body.
I began playing contrabass when I was eleven. The physical, temporal discipline involved in playing in an orchestra, coupled with the spiritual essence of music, helped me integrate soul and body. I’ve always loved music and I’ve always loved moving to it. Coordinating arms and hands and fingers in musical time requires such concentration that I quite forget the separation I experience otherwise.
When I fell in love and got married, I began to understand being biological. The first time I felt totally biological was when I was pregnant. I had to wait and experience the unfolding of nine months til the birth. Watching my daughter’s growth in the ten years since has changed my perception of being human. Natural time moves in cycles and seasons and acts powerfully upon us whether we are aware of it or not.
Another aspect of biological time always strikes me when I work at the computer. It’s like entering a time warp; you sit down and =boom= an hour is gone. I get so accustomed to the instant results to my online searches that I go crazy waiting for my dog to finish thoroughly smelling something! I see this in my daughter and my students as well. Without the constant stimulus and frequent rate of change that modern technology has conditioned them to, they lose patience. Machines can separate us from our natural biological condition. Yet if you watch a toddler, at the uninterrupted focus she gives to just trying to move water, you can recognize a more natural state of being—truly in the moment.
Playing music, where the pulse approximates the healthy range of the human heartbeat, keeps me grounded in the here and now. I breathe, I feel my muscles tense and release. I walk with the man I love, I revel in sunrise and sunset, I marvel at the progression of the seasons, and watch my daughter grow.
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