How to Curate Time

Seagulls at the ocean

“We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”
-Henri Cartier-Bresson

One of the great teachings of life is impermanence, the unstoppable flow of experience called time and change. In time, corn and tomatoes ripen, children grow up, and every relationship you have will end. How we humans long to escape death and elude loss…When we’re happy, we don’t even want to think about grief or loss, or slipping away from the inexorable embrace of time. When we’re sad, change is our friend. We know that the way things are is not how they will always be. “This, too, will pass” is the wisdom of impermanence.

Mindfulness works in a flash, like photography. When I click a photo or take a screenshot of a friend’s disappearing story, the cascading forms of constant perception stop for a moment, a moment that means something to me. In any instant of mindfulness, a flash of presence can calm you down. You can return to your senses, opening up to receive the intensity of aliveness, the vividness of how life feels here and now – capturing the memory for someday, there and then, when that part of your life is gone.

Try it now. Just by taking a mindful breath in, you can slow into this moment. Then, breathing out consciously — all the way to the fleeting pause at the end of the exhalation — you stop the timestream for just one or two heartbeats, pausing for a screenshot of stillness. To do this is to curate time. “Curator” is the Latin word for caretaker. By being mindful we are curating time, taking care of the vanishing moments of our life. We can’t bring them back, but we can mindfully, lovingly curate the time we do have here.

Love, Trudy

If you’re interested in the April retreat where I shared the grief of losing my little brother suddenly this spring, or my ongoing journey from cancer diagnosis to surgery and recovery, please follow @trudy_goodman on Instagram. Or if you use Facebook, my Trudy Goodman page ❤️

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