Moving into Kairos Time

by Laura McCorry

Time has started to unravel a bit for me. As I move further into this pregnancy, I’m falling out of routine, becoming less attached to the segmented hours of the day. This is probably a good thing. I wake when I’m finished sleeping (some days at 8:30, some days at 6am), I eat when I’m hungry (always, always snacks before bed), and I’ve found myself baking banana bread muffins at 10:30 at night.

In Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle writes about two different conceptions of time, “Kairos. Real time. God’s time. That time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognize while we are experiencing it, but only afterwards, because kairos has nothing to do with chronological time. In kairos, we are completely unself-conscious and yet paradoxically far more real than we can ever be when we are constantly checking our watches for chronological time.”

The birth of a child is a moment like this, always outside of time. But you are also ushered into kairos at the death of a loved one. (I remember being shocked when I realized that practicing savasana, or final relaxation, in yoga is also a way of practicing death. It’s translation is corpse pose, after all.)

How can you practice both life and death with grace? I think the word that matters most is practice (meditation). Or perhaps grace. For me, moving into kairos is the same as practicing meditation. You allow yourself to move outside time, into space that is neither here nor there, you are not awake or asleep, you simply ARE.

The paradox of life is that we need both kairos and chronos. I need the immediate, tactile chronos, the skin, muscle, and bone of my hands dusted in flour, forming a dough, placing it in the oven, setting a timer (because humans being can move outside time, but yeast, water, and flour cannot if they are to become bread.) And I need those moments of timelessness, of seeing the moment arrive and stepping into it whole-heartedly, whole-bodily: when my toddler bumps her head and needs to be held RIGHT NOW, so I drop everything and cradle her in my arms.

I hope you are gifted the experience of time in all its splendored variation. The moments that are breath-giving and the moments that take your breath away. Moments of kairos when you allow yourself to be fully present; when you take in whatever sensation, thought, or emotion is most present, but practice not letting it define you. And when you need it most, I hope you find those life-affirming moments of chronos, of baking late at night, a solid grounding in time as we most often know it.

We hope to help you find that Kairos time on your mat at Yoga One, click here to view our schedule.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura(AT)yogaonesandiego(DOT)com

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