The Times In Between

comments 39
Creative / Reflections

“There are these moments, Hafiz, when it feels like Life called a thirty-second time-out or something.  Do you know what I mean?  Like when you’re getting ready for work, and you’re five minutes too early.  Or you show up to the store, but it’s not open for another couple minutes.  What are you going to do with five empty minutes?”

Hafiz and I were drift-hopping through the moon’s first arboretum like tired helium balloons caught in a draft.  My guide book was dangling between my thumb and my first two fingers.  I came down at an awkward spot and nearly took a digger over an embossed metal speed bump that was covering an extension cord so people wouldn’t trip over it.  The temporary lighting was for a photograph or something.  The first rose to bloom on the moon probably.  The chrysanthemum lobby was torqued.

“Hafiz—do you know what I mean?  Are you with me here?  There’s these little windows of lost time no one knows what to do with.  Your flight gets delayed.  The policeman is running your license through the system.  The nondescript pop-poof in the crisping sleeve comes out of the microwave a little cold in the center, even though you followed instructions.  Now you have to heat it again.  Your car spins the wrong way and you sink a fender into the snow, and you’re waiting for the tow truck.  The rest of life is so well-orchestrated, the way it moves with such incredible acumen and grace.  The way it staggers you on the whole.  I mean, think how we met…!  It’s surreal to even think about, but then there’s these moments.  These dead bands in the system.  They’re potholes of time that you can never fill in.  You know what I mean?”  I kept saying that.  “Hafiz—do you know what I mean?  Hafiz?”

He must have gotten a little over-exuberant or something for reasons completely unknown to me—he was hardly participating in our conversation today— and pushed off into a stride with a little too much abandon, because suddenly I was having a flash forward about the impacts of lunar colonization on the shatter-proof glass industry, and he was in the early stages of conducting low-g collision experiments with a young girl.  He’d had no choice but to wrap her up in a bear hug and position himself between her and the moon’s token oak tree.  And that thing wasn’t moving one bit.  It was representing all oak trees everywhere, and it knew it.

They ricocheted off the trunk, giggling like people who’d been injected with 200 cc’s of the funniest jokes of the previous century.  Like cowboys shooting paint balls at one another at high noon.  Like they’d mistaken a six pack of canned laughter for strawberry spritzers.  They landed on their feet, in the center of the arboretum’s aisleway, and gave an impromptu bow.  Somebody clapped and I got in on it.

Then we all ended up in the same waiting line for a short film about the impacts of reduced gravity on horticulture, approximately seven minutes too early.

I couldn’t resist.  “You see what I mean, Hafiz?”

“Yes,” he said.  “I do.  These are the moments set aside for gratitude.”

First I got hot and my face flushed and then I think I winced.  I tried to think of something smart to say about the absurdity of nurturing one’s gratitude practice in the waiting room of some malpracticing dentist.  But then, with Hafiz just standing there doing that thing he does that works in any gravity environment you can find, and that I still don’t understand, I had a flashback to how good it feels to feel good.  To just drop the rest of it.  And I picked that.  If you can just blunder your way into the choice, so far into it you can truly see it, then it’s easy.  Before I knew it the doors were opening for the movie and I wasn’t going anywhere.  I wasn’t ready.

“There’s not enough time, Hafiz!  Just five minutes!?”

He patted me on the head, and the girl riding on his shoulders did the same, giggling, and then they went to the movie.  And I just sat there on the carpet of the lobby of the lunar arboretum theater for approximately forty-five minutes, feeling good.  Feeling myself dissipate a thousand frozen moments I’d been carrying around with me into nothing whatsoever.

39 Comments

    • Well, we both missed the movie! It’s quite a long drive to make for a movie anyway… Why go so far to recreate what is already right here…?

      Peace
      Michael

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  1. A deep bow and a deep thank you. Every time I read one of your posts I get pulled back into presence, into gratitude, and suddenly and clearly remember that it’s not all that out there, but this right here that I keep forgetting, and then wonder why. It’s all here. Just this. This magic of now. It’s your words, or the energy behind then, or both, but I hardly need to get beyond the first paragraph and I begin to remember the truth. Life is full of ‘these little windows of lost time’. Thank you for reminding me what they’re for!
    much love and deep gratitude
    Alison

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Alison. A deep bow right back to you. We’re learning to sustain this awareness I think, and each time we return to it from wherever we’ve been, and discover it awaiting in the reality of one another, the possibility sharpens that we won’t turn away again. It’s an interesting process moving from seeking to find one’s way to peace, when it seems so elusive, and then to find you’ve found it, but keep giving it away…

      Blessings, Gratitude and Love,
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hee hee! I love it!

    I love those moments. Sometimes I get so filled up I break out my chalks from my purse and scribble hearts or love notes on the sidewalk. Yay! You and Hafiz have great ideas.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Sarah,

      I love your solution to this problem, too– playing with chalk, love and a blank stretch of pavement. A perfect solution! Always a joy to have you visit here!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Karin!

      I try to have fun with simple ideas, and let them unravel and stretch their legs a bit! Glad you enjoyed it.

      Grateful as always for your visit,
      Michale

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Ellen! Good one. The Express Line at the supermarket is also rife with opportunity I’ve found… 🙂

      Blessings
      Michael

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  3. Another great one, Michael. I feel like you are onto “Adventures with Hafiz” compilation, which I would totally keep as my daily reminders.
    I like the “five empty minutes”. It made me think about turning the clocks back in the fall time, when we get extra hour back, I get overly excited about that, as if I already do not have that hour somehow. 🙂
    This piece reminded of my old post “Standing in line with Nikita”, which was not as meaningful as yours, but I think, amidst my confusion with what I was after, and the irony of capitalism vs communism thing, I had a similar underlying feeling when I wrote it — the gratitude for the emptyness: https://beehappeenow.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/standing-in-line-with-nikita/

    And my favorite lines: “I had a flashback to how good it feels to feel good. To just drop the rest of it. And I picked that”. I was recently reading maybe Ramana or one of his disciples about going from thought-thought-thought to though-space-thought-space, eventually feeling nothing but gratitude to all spaces, and nothing but the spaces.
    Have a wonderful surrender and feeling good week. 🙂
    Kristina

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Kristina. I look forward to reading your post. When you wrote recently in your reply to me about being raised in Russia I was really intrigued, since I was a child at the height of the Cold War (or what seemed the height to me) and always felt so strange about the way two large countries would point guns at one another as if it were a means of communicating. I always felt I had such a limited view, like there was a whole world I couldn’t see into for some reason. The veil was drawn.

      I have a second poetry book I’m slowly assembling that is almost entirely encounters with Hafiz, though not in this particular form. I enjoy exposing the frontier of acceptance within myself– those moments and places where we stop trying to be something other than we are… And just listen…

      Have a great week also!
      Blessings
      Michael

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      • Yes, I was born in 1976 in Lithuania, so most of my memories are from 1980 to mid 90s, which encompassed some underground youth movements of the 1970s, very COLD socialism of early 80s, perestroika of Gorbachev, the singing revolution of the 1988-89, Russian blockades, tanks, then finally freedom and learning to live all over again completely differently. You could almost compare that to the spiritual awakening process. 🙂

        Michael, the second book sounds wonderful, looking forward to it. I love the format of Hafiz encounters. They had taught me a lot in just a short time. Thank you so very much, and enjoy the writing. 🙂
        Kristina

        Liked by 2 people

        • We were born in the same year, Kristina, so watched these events from opposite sides of the curtain through eyes of the same age. I agree you could compare the trajectory of nations to the evolution of our personal thinking, which at least some of the time is related to the spiritual awakening process! Ha! I like it very much when the ideas and impressions we formed of countries and of one another are found to be erroneous, which is usually because we discover how to empathize more deeply with what is common to us all…

          Blessings
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Another winner! I often arrive early at places so I often have in-between time. It is often spent dealing with anxiety about the event or appointment , whatever. Sometimes I use it to plan my “strategy” or review my to-do list. It is so much cooler to spend the time in gratitude or Sarah’s way with art or play.

    living in my heart space is rather new for me, so it takes inspiration and examples. Thanks!
    And please give Hafiz a high five for me. Also Rumi sends his regards 🙂

    peace, Linda

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Linda,

      I often arrive early, too. It’s something to do with how I was raised… never aiming for just on time, and heaven forbid being late! Living in the heart space takes some transformation in our old patterns. Hafiz helps me see them, so I can flip things around. Hafiz is giving all of us high five’s all the time, and I’m pretty sure he loves when we stick our hand up. Rumi, too. Jesus. All those guys… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  5. My dear friend …I have missed so much and now you have brought me back to my divine purpose . I accept life’s pathway to ” find and still not understand ” . I stand today at a personal crossroad and I now am going to get a ticket to your ” lunar arboretum theater ” …thank you does not say enough Michael ….love , megxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Meg,

      Good to know you’re back and hope you had a lovely trip! This is it, isn’t it? “To find and still not understand…” and maybe also… “to be profoundly happy about it.” I hope the crossroad is a good one, and that you cross over into a land of grace and holy fragrance. Not sure the moon has that on offer just yet, though the arboretum is quite lovely… but this beautiful planet still does… What a divine tour we are on!

      Much Love,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

        • Let’s not jump to conclusions here, H. I’ve savored a few tempeh-bacon-nayonnaise-and-tomato sandwiches in my day. Though to be totally fair on this point, I was absolutely thinking of the uncured, maple-rubbed, hickory-smoked, antibiotic-free, sustainably-farmed, Vermont-based pig bacon that we’ve come to enjoy here on any given Sunday. You got me!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    That’s one thing I really try to do, especially the last couple of years. Every chance I get. Every moment in between. It’s purely selfish, as gratitude makes me feel so good. I can’t say I’m always successful, as some situations sort of get my goat, and gratitude goes out the window. But, I’m with Brad on this one. That’s a road crew I’d be happy to work on.
    In gratitude for your blog Michael,
    Mary

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mary. Gratitude is one of those feelings we tell ourselves we shouldn’t have to force, or work at in any way. It should just flow. And then we hit those skids of goat-gotten moments, and the gratitude dries up. That’s when it matters most though, in a way. It’s amazing how a subtle change of focus can bring us back, and help us re-discover the bounty that is always ours. Usually I find myself ingracious when I feel I’ve lost something, or am missing something, or don’t have enough of what I think I need, or am losing the board game badly… 🙂

      Much Love
      Michael

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  7. Bravo!! Once again, you wrap your message in a delightful lesson delivered ever so gently by Hafiz! Sometimes it is hard for me to tell if Hafiz is actually teaching or if you are…perhaps you both are 😉 Much love to you, Michael ♡

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Lorrie. I think what’s happening is this feeling inside of me I’ve grown accustomed to calling “Hafiz” shows me something, and then I explore it, and these pieces come out. I enjoy the moment of discovery, and the play of putting it into words… and appreciate the resonance you bring to this fun!

      Love to you also, Lorrie–
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Michael, I’ve read this wonderful piece of writing and I am sitting here making a sound that I am not too sure how to put it into letters, but it’s a hmmmmm noise, the noise of a gentle but stubborn yes, I feel this. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Harlon,

      It sounds like the moment of reluctant acceptance, when the resistance realizes gratitude has it not only outgunned and outmanned, but has better perks to boot! Ha!

      Peace,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Ka,

      Sounds wonderful– the art of gazing into moments. I can get on board with that pretty quick… True seeing always brings a hidden bounty into view…!

      Likewise on the fabulous days on earth!
      Until the next one!
      Michael

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  9. Michael,
    Minutes, minutes and more minutes of free time. We often tell ourselves there’s not enough time, yet we always seem to find it in unexpected places. It is being conscious of those free minutes that makes it all the more precious. I like to think of the universe like a big gum ball machine, you dig for the pennies in your pockets, find one, and slip it into the little metal slot, turn the big knob with your two child sized hands yet at the same time trying to hold your hands below the chute so that you don’t lose it to the muddy puddles where children had stood doing the same thing a moment before, and you hear the churning of the gear and the sliding sound of the prize and with merriment you find ten gum balls falling into your hand instead of one. In excitement you tell anyone around about your magnificent bounty and realizing you now have extra, start giving it away to the onlookers because you are so blessed and when down to the last one, realize there’s one more soul waiting for that piece, you give it over and feel not sad, but so very happy because you know there’s another penny in your pocket and the gum ball machine never runs out. Minutes keep turning up. They are the pennies you found waiting on the ground that you slipped into your pockets so that you could turn one into ten. Magical world and gratitude for each and every minute….would you like a gum Ball?
    I loved this story, you must tire of hearing that…but I do😊
    Peace and love,
    Always,
    Kim

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Kim,

      I love your gumball machine response, and yes, I’ll take one please. Thank you! The universe does seem to keep inserting these little bounteous minutes into even the busiest of schedules. It is amazing how that works. When we step up with innocence in our hearts and turn the crank, and blessings spill down in quantities we can’t even hold in our tiny palms. Writing inspiration is kind of like this too, in a way. It comes and you give it away, and it just makes room for more! There is an insight in that… Thank you as always for your kind comments and presence here!

      Have a great holiday!
      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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