Musings on time and spaciousness

Musings on time and spaciousness

Time is an interesting construct. We divide it up into minutes, hours, days, and years. When an event of cataclysmic proportions takes place in our lives, we divide it into Before and After. Before the wedding; After the art show; Before the divorce; After the kids moved to college. Much like Dionysius, who devised a system of counting time to do away with the memory of a ruthless emperor.

“The first year in Dionysius’ Easter table, “Anno Domini 532,” followed the year “Anno Diocletiani 247.” Dionysius made the change specifically to do away with the memory of this emperor who had been a ruthless persecutor of Christians.” – via LiveScience

Time as a cyclical construct

Then there’s the question of the quality of time. Is it linear? Is it cyclical? We see it as hours and days and years that stretch before us, but does time really work like that?

Do we march relentlessly forward, or do we spiral back to events, lessons, cycles, coming back to them with greater awareness each time?

My work with the moon cycles predisposes me to believe that time is cyclical. The moon cycles through her phases; the years cycle through seasons; each century cycles through similar themes that come up in different guises.

This isn’t some New Age fanciful thinking, either. Such reflections on time go back millenia.

“Consider, for instance, the view of Empedocles, a prominent philosopher in the 5th century BCE. He argued that, along with the four classical elements, the world was a mixture of two fundamental forces: Love and Strife. While Love is the attractive force that brings the elements into harmony, Strife serves to divide them. History, Empedocles said, cycles between eras in which Love dominates, eras in which Strife rules, and intermediate intervals in which Love and Strife are mixed in equal quantities.” – via

I can agree with that notion. We are seeing the rise of Strife, or so I believe, being played out on the global stage – with the politics, trade wars, cyber attacks, the protests in both India and now in the US, and even the coronavirus.

Much as the world witnesses the rise and fall of these two fundamental forces, I believe that we too, in our own individual lives, witness this same rise and fall. Time, after all, is big enough to hold global strife and individual love at the same time, it is us humans who often find it difficult to hold both.

Interestingly enough, even in this time of strife, I am seeing an intermediate interval in which Love and Strife are mixed in equal quantities in my personal life. I am holding the deep hurt, sorrow and anger at the rising Islamophobia in my country, and the complete disregard and callousness towards migrant lives; witnessing the Black Lives Matter protests; living through the uncertainty of these times; and also enjoying the simplicity and the spaciousness of life in the time of coronavirus.

On spaciousness and inner work

“All forms of becoming require spaciousness in one way or another; mental space that allows the mind to expand, emotional space for feeling to flower, and physical space in which to move.”
― Dana Hutton

Let’s talk a little bit about spaciousness. I’ve been examining the contours of spaciousness in my life recently, and there are various strands and facets to it – the reduction of stress; the removal of too many choices; a sense of being cocooned from the outside world; almost non-existent screen time….

Working from home has stripped away the stress and the hustle of the daily grind. No more do I wake up with an eye on the clock; chop, chop, chop or you’ll be late for work. There’s no more rushing to get ready and then having to jostle for space on the road while crawling through traffic to get to and back from work. And don’t even get me started on the stress of making polite talk or wondering what people must think of this quiet girl who keeps mainly to herself and seldom joins in on the office gossip.

Then there’s the removal of choices. The most important purchase decisions are what groceries we need to buy for the week and keeping track of the inventory of spices and pulses in the pantry. There’s nothing else that we can buy anyway – it’s only in recent days that stores have started opening for online deliveries, but when you’re not stepping out of home, why would you want to buy fancy clothes?

Added to that is the fact that there are no trips that we can plan. Which means there are no decisions that need to be made on what to do over a long weekend and no associated angst when your plans get vetoed.

And our lack of screen time, by which I mean limited television and no streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or all the other platforms out there; plus a self-imposed clamp down on social media time has opened up not just time, but also a creative outpouring of ideas.

When you’re not just voraciously consuming other people’s content and immersing yourself in the collective toxicity that is on full display online, your mind slowly expands – that has been my experience, anyway.

This new found spaciousness is ripe for inner work…soul work…nurturing and nourishing the creative fire…feeding the muse…delighting the soul.

How one does that is different for everyone. For me, it looks like whipping up a cake, watching the sparrows on the tree outside my window, looking up at the ever changing colors and patterns in the sky, sharing deep belly laughs with the husband, painty time of course, diving deep into archetypes and tarot, weaving my dreams and working on bringing them slowly into reality.

This spaciousness, this simplicity, is the gift of 2020 – the gift I didn’t even know that I needed.

On the importance of time and spaciousness for deep inner work

What has 2020’s gift been for you?

{I know it can be challenging to look for gifts in the midst of a global pandemic. Our lives are all so different, as are our coping mechanisms. If you are struggling, this guide on dealing with loneliness, boredom and anxiety may help. xx}

Posted in Soulful living.

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. Very interesting, Shinjini. Like you, the anger at the injustice runs deep. Also like you, I’m enjoying the freedom to be. The lockdown and social distancing seem to be just what the doctor ordered for us introverts! 😉

  2. I’d like to believe that time always has a mixture of love and strife instead of alternating between them. It’s a difficult time right now yes, but it has its silver linings, maybe not to all of us though. I’m glad to have had this space during this period too, with a lot of time for introspection. It was nice to read your reflection on time and space. 🙂

    • When you look at it from a global perspective, I do think there have been times of strife – the two world wars come immediately to mind. Although I do agree that there are some silver linings at this time, and thank God for them! Thanks for dropping by, Darshana!

  3. Interesting thoughts Shinjini. I never thought if time is linear or cyclical. Now, if I think I feel with up and downs, it’s not linear. I agree that no rush to wake up early , finish chores and run to office now due to work from home and sadly, no decisions to take about weekend family trips 😷

    • I’m loving working from home. Honestly, I didn’t think I would enjoy it, and I didn’t think I’d be disciplined enough to manage it, but I did and I am! I wish I could a long-term work from home option from my company; that would make me supremely happy!

  4. That’s interesting! I’ve not thought about time from that perspective though! Your post makes me think.
    This period has been difficult yet it has brought my family together like never before. I’m very thankful for this abundance!

  5. Pingback: Symbolism of the owl: a philosophical + spiritual exploration - Modern Gypsy

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