[This post is the last of a series that is basically a collection of field notes about my exploration of how we humans interact with time.

The past posts have pretty much covered at least some of the ramifications and nuances we humans have encountered as we play around with Clock Time and they point to the existence of other alternatives.

So, what happens when we throw away the clock?

Mostly, it seems, tossing out that irritating relatively modern contrivance is the start of taking a step into the Mystic, into Right-Brain Land, and into all kinds of other interesting spaces.

As your Poet-guide, I stand ready for our tourist walk along the River Time.]

walk along a canal
“Canal Walk” by Lorna Mitchell via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]
The annoying but eminently likeable “Be-Here-Now” people and the exasperating (and really intimidating) high-octane productivity mavens are in agreement about one thing:  the present is the only time in which you can actually take action.

(“Be-ing,” by the way can also be an action, they tell me.)

What the majority of these wanna-be advisors and gurus fail to emphasize (although they will acknowledge it in sidebars and skim-through once-overs in the introductions or appendices of their latest bestseller books) is that your Now is always built out of What-Happened-Before.

Of course (if they are any kind of insightful) they are likely to mention that your Now is the result or consequence of things that are no longer Here-Now.

British bi-plane that looks like a box kite
Bristol Boxkite Replica by Alan Wilson via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
And, while they will dance around the question of What-Can-Be, they cannot actually get around the big honking fact that the Future is all potentiality, both good and bad.  The Future hasn’t happened yet and nobody actually knows what it will look like.

Most of these guys will at least mention that before you can know where you are going, you do have to know where you are. 

In the course of things, they might tell you as well that in order to know where you are you do have to understand where you have been.


Everybody pretty much agrees that Now is the gateway through which you must pass in order to get yourself out of the Past and into the Future.


I am a poet.  I tend to get caught up in metaphors, and words and the images they call up captivate me.  I stand around slack-jawed looking at all the pictures in my head.

(This is always what gets me into the most trouble with both the hardcore “Do” and “Be” guys.)

To this tiny poet-mind came this bit of strangeness:

If you are always “in the Now” then you are always standing in the middle of yet another gateway with one taken-for-granted and mostly ignored Infinity (the Past) stretching behind you and another, new, uncertain and unknowable Infinity (the Future) stretching out ahead of you.


Japanese Shinto shrine composed of torii gates
“Fushimi-Inari shrine” by shankar s. via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
One reaction to this anxiety-producing paradigm is to dive into Cruiser-mode and say, “There is a reason for everything so if I leave it alone it will work itself out.”

This strategy only works out well if your primary ambition is to be compost.  Most people have other preferences.

aging lotus leaf that is dying
“The Last Hurrah” by Ashok Boghani via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]


I was reading Mike Rucker’s delightful book, THE FUN HABIT: How the Pursuit For Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life, when I ran into this thing:

“Intentionality, not hyper-optimization, is the ultimate goal of proper use of time.”

Rucker’s definition of “intentionality” is to deliberately live your life by starting with a conscious decision to adopt some sort of bias.  In Rucker’s case, that bias is “fun,” which for him means action-based happy-making activities.

For someone else, it might be a different bias. (There are so many.)

One person might want to make a noticeable dent in the world; they want to change things up.

Another person just wants to get rich and never have to worry about survival again.

Someone else might focus on developing inner peace and can’t understand why the other people around them just want to party.

And then there are those who might spend a lifetime creating beauty or building a haven or a fortress to share with others.

Hawa Mahal, Palace of Winds in Jaipur India
“Palace of winds….” by lensnmatter via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
We take it for granted that humans do have the ability to act — to be an agent and a catalyst for change in the world.

Every one of us will, at one point or another, throw down the same moves. Our basic walks may look similar, but the results of those walks vary.

Why?  Because even though the moves are just moves anyone can make, when a certain strategic move is appropriate for a particular situation, then the responses you get for making that move evoke reactions from those involved in the thing with you.

The results that arise from your interactions will vary.

The effectiveness of any move you might make, it has been repeatedly pointed out, are likely to be tied to their timeliness.  Appropriate ones made at the right time are way more effective than the same moves performed at a different time.

lunar eclipse
Total Lunar Eclipse 21-01-1019 (end)” by Giusseppe Donatiello via Flickr [Public Domain | CC) 1.0]
Ask any canny businessperson, martial artist or dancer.  They will all tell you the same thing.

One set of appropriate and effective actions taken at a particular time will have certain often-predictable outcomes. The very same moves made at a different time are likely to produce sometimes radically different results.

An interesting side-effect of this phenomenon is this: The same strategies and techniques Rucker suggests for living a life biased towards fun could work for any bias you choose to hold to.

Go check out his book.  (I’m not going to spoil it for you here! Maybe later….) Clicking on the button below will take you to Rucker’s Fun Habit website:



Wise guys down through the ages all seem to advocate for living life deliberately and with intention.

Most of them will tell you that when you live with intention and you pay attention to the world around you then you begin to understand and perhaps adapt yourself to working with (rather than struggling against) the vagaries of Time.

When you see the Universe as a flow of energy and you see yourself as being in the middle of all of that, then you are more likely to be able to suss out how the free-flowing energy is moving all around you and the ways that energy can affect you.

Get good at that way of seeing, they say, and you might even be able to dance in the power of the Universe.

growing grass
“Subtle” by Remek Trzaska via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
This way of dealing with time does not work if you are living by the clock.

Chopping up time means you end up doing robot-dancing.  This can be fun, but it really gets sort of tiresome after a while and it makes you act more than a little bit weird.  Check out this 2021 You-Tube video, “Amazing Robot Dance Battle” which was uploaded by something(?) called “Robot Vall.”

(All of the text content for the thing seems to be in Russian so I’m not exactly sure what is going on.  It does look amazing.)

A lot of the so-called “crazy wisdom” stuff – our ancestors’ assorted ways of explaining the world to themselves as well as their attempts to adapt themselves to the thought-constructs they made up – has been called (and often poo-poohed) as “myth” or as “superstition.”

Maybe so.  Maybe no.

Whether those moves work the way you want them to, the wise guys say, depends on your own attitudes and perspectives that you have developed as you go walking along beside the River of Time.

a cascade of waterfalls in a river
“Walk around Hawes” by Allan Harris via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]
What all of that tells Poet-Me is this:

In order to play properly with Time, self-awareness and self-knowledge is the key. 


Understanding the role that your intentions play in shaping the inner world in which you are walking is very likely then to turn your ordinary life in the consensus-world into a whole other adventure, it seems to me.

Learning how to decipher your own intentions by examining, thinking on and feeling your way through what you’ve experienced in the past can be the work of a lifetime.

Once you get a bit of a handle on the hidden agendas you are carrying around in your head and your heart, they are no longer hidden from you. You will be able to see them and use them to turn Time the Chaos-Beast into your ally.

Don’t worry. You will not turn into a mystical bum if you set yourself the task of learning what your truest intentions are.

For one thing, just focusing on discovering those intentions by digging through your old stories can be freeing.

Working through your old baggage and mindfully throwing out the stuff you no longer need or can use in the life you actually want to build can free up a heck of a lot of energy, space and time for doing what you actually want to do.

stack of suitcases
“Suitcases at Dereham Station” by Les Haines via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
You start breathing easier.  The people around you start noticing that.

There are lots of other people with all kinds of great ideas and plans all around you. They’ve got a plethora of “opportunities” for a master rider of the Chaos Beast to consider.  You’ll have lots of decisions to make in all kinds of directions once you know where you are really wanting to go.

The return on the investment you make in learning how to know and claim your own self-definitions and to recognize your own intentions will be an increased ability to choose the direction you and the Beast will travel.

And that’s a good thing.

note lying on the grass
“Intention + Triolet” by Julie Jordan Scott via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]


Well, that’s it for the River series.  Thanks for hanging in there.  I do appreciate you.

As I’ve said before, Time has been a human obsession for as long as we’ve been able to rub two thoughts together.

There’s a whole lot of territory out there to explore if you are so inclined.

room with empty chair and open door
“empty chair with open door” by Raymond Zoller via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
You can go play now.


Here’s a poem:



And there it is yet again:
That awareness (most unwelcome)
Of the inherent impermanence in
All of the everything
That Life-Its-Own-Self offers.

Nothing stays.
Everything ends.
Wrack and ruin pervades,
Pushing in past cotton-candy colored
Dreams and schemes
That do not hold together,
That only fall apart.

It keeps happening, that,
And the moaning and the crying,
The wailing and the screams
Start up again….
The soundtrack for the sorrows
That drag you down, and down, and down.

A baby cries because she cannot
Grab onto and hold in her own two tiny hands
The rainbow that glowed so brightly in the sky.
She cannot stop the fading of a light
That dims and flickers, and then is gone.

Auwē, auwē, auwē….

Knowing that all of it
Is a part of the coming to be,
A part of the passing away;
Knowing that not one of us will abide
Except as a memory,
Except as a dream,
It can be the fuel that feeds
A wildfire of destruction that
Rips through your heart and mind
And turns your soul to ashes.

Or else…
(Gloriosky, praises be…)
Or else it becomes a part
Of the Eternal Story,
The one that continues on
Even after you have left the stage.

What’s it gonna be, bard?

by Netta Kanoho


Header Photo Credit: “the orbits of stars” by European Southern Observatory (ESO/M.Parsa/L. Calçada) via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]



[Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you….)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

4 thoughts on “STOP PUSHING THE RIVER — Part 6

  1. I would like to share that I recently had the pleasure of reading an article that provided valuable insights in poetic form. The author touched upon themes such as intention and awareness, which are important aspects of my daily life, and I found the article to be very enriching. 

    I am curious to know how long you have been writing poetry and what you have learned from it. Did you possess this level of wisdom before writing poetry, or did your natural observations lead you to gain a deeper understanding of things?

    1. A, thanks for your visit, your kind words and for your questions.  Those questions do make me think.  

      I have been a poet all of my life.  My definition of a “poet” is a person who notices things.  My way of doing poetry is to dive into a pile of life’s puzzlements, conundrums and paradoxes and try to get my fool head around the things. 

      (I do like when things make some sort of sense to me.  My equilibrium depends on it, I suppose.)

      The other part of being a poet is the need to go tell everybody else what you found.  It’s a jones for those of us who are not very good at hiding in closets and ducking into corners and things like that.

      Humans who are noticing sorts seem to lean either towards being scientists or poets.  The major difference between them seems to be that scientists do like to measure things.  Poets aren’t quite so interested in that. 

      Mostly poets do rules-of-thumb things.  It drives those scientist types crazy, that.

      Many scientists also have this disturbing tendency to cut things up so they can learn all about the who, the how, the where, and the what of everything.  (Never mind if what they are studying dies in the process.)

      That tends to drive poets crazy.

      Both sorts of noticing people do tend to focus down sharply into the things that interest them, but it seems to me that a lot of scientists are more likely to become obsessed about knowing a heck of a lot about only a very few things.  (The best of them know a heck of a lot about the all of everything, but those guys are a rarity and are probably the finest kind of poets there are.)

      Poets, while they are a lot into being curious about all that stuff too, mostly start from a curiosity about how it all fits together and, most importantly, WHY it’s even there at all.  They tend to accumulate a lot of rubbish and clutter up the place with all kinds of thought-concepts that can get in the way of seeing things clearly.

      Both sorts, if they’re any good, tend to want to get to clarity in their thinking.  They just go about it differently.

      It does seem to me that, like everything else human, the poet-scientist polarities are on a “spectrum” of sorts.  Some noticing sorts lean more towards one end of that spectrum than the other, but they are all people who pay attention to what is going on.

      Long answer to short questions, I know.  It’s a character flaw.  (Sorry!)

      As for the “wisdom” label, I just have to laugh at that. 

      Myself, I think we humans came up with that label to distance ourselves from the crazy-making noticing sorts among us.  It’s like labeling someone or something “special.”

      The “special” label has given rise to the “special” discount (for stuff that doesn’t sell at the regular price) or for “special” education which is often used as a box that’s convenient for containing neuro-divergent thinkers.

      It seems to me that “wisdom” label is often used as set-up for a line of statements like, “Oh, sure, you are walking really fine and things are going most excellently for you, but that’s ’cause you’re WISE (and special).”

      This statement is usually the lead-in for laying out all of the reasons why whoever is speaking cannot do whatever is being considered or suggested.

      But maybe that’s just me having a snark-fit.  (Sorry!)

      Anyway, thanks again for the visit.

      Please do come again.

  2. DashDNations says:

    I have to admit, I’m a planner, I plan and plan and plan, but then when I comes to putting those thoughts into action, I tend to back off. Sometimes I have these great ideas, and I put in the work to set it up and have everything I need in place. I spent six months in glacier national park and haven’t written a single article about it yet. The quote about only in the present can you act really hit me.

    1. Good!  Go do, DashDNations!  You will like it.  Honest!

      Please do come again.

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