time and direction

I had quite a few pictures that I was intending to share with you from the last week of holiday celebrations. But when I looked at them this morning, I thought, ‘the holiday is behind us’. Maybe you will see them next year, if we’re all still going then. But it seems that now would be the right time to relate to the new year coming up. And so, I’ve decided to write a bit about time.

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I suppose it’s only natural for us to think of the year that has passed, as we approach the new year, if only to weigh the experiences, good and bad in the perspective of having concluded a full year. We do much the same at the end of a decade, and we still remember all the wonderful commentaries at the end of the millennium, and how it was to look back at history for a few days. But the new year is also a good occasion to think about time, and how we relate to it.

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There are some people who spend quite a bit of their lives enjoying nostalgia… remembering precious moments, and wonderful experiences from the past, and since our memories allow us to glide over the pain, the embarrassment, the tension and the fear, the memory of things past often seem more delightful than they were when we were in the process of going through them. And it is not only that we are able to filter out the unbearable parts of the past. Our memories are pliable, and we are able to tell ourselves (or others) a story as we would like to remember it. In a way, our memories are often the story as we would like to see it or hear it. It is subjective. Other people like to work towards certain goals, or live in expectation. They know that at some time in the future, they will go off on vacation, or buy a new house, or a new car; they live in the hope of finding Mr. Right, or Ms Right; they wait for school to get out, or for the moment they will start the new job, or setting up their own business, or for the old folks to die so that they will get their inheritance. Such patterns of thinking start pretty young, and once we’ve gotten into the habit of rewarding ourselves by remembering the good ol’ days, or pushing ourselves forward with the incentive of imagining that things are going to be a lot better at the next stage of life, it becomes quite hard to abandon this emotional candy, and just live the moment. It was John Lennon that wrote in one of his songs, ‘life happens while we’re busy making plans’. And sometimes, life goes right by us, without our noticing.

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In this modern life style that we are living, we are constantly being entertained and stimulated, whether by stories or movies or songs or advertisements. Sometimes we forget ourselves in the adrenalin rush of this white water rafting that has come to take the place of life. There is action all around us. Sights and sounds, and every subtlety of emotion. But I would suggest that in order to truly appreciate this life, we have to have some quiet… and the ability to find our own completeness in the present; this very hour, this very moment.

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And to conclude this train of thought, I would like to mention once again the transgression of Moses our teacher, who was punished for his mistake by not being allowed to enter the promised land. He was our greatest teacher, and considered the most modest among all men. And so, it is all the more interesting to study his mistake, and learn from it. If you remember, the children of Israel were thirsty, and God asked him to speak to a rock, and water would spring from it. But Moses, our teacher, was sick and tired of hearing complaints from the Israelites day after day, without let up… and he lost his temper. Instead of talking to the rock, he hit it with his stick. Sure enough, the rock gave water. But it wasn’t the rock, he wanted to hit. And it was because of that, that he was punished.

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As we approach the new year, I would like to wish you, my friends, and myself as well, a year in which we will be completely aware of every hour that we live, and in which we will be careful to direct our love, and our thoughts, and even our anger, and our complaints in the right direction. May our words be like poetry, precise and meaningful, and our actions like the arrow, aimed and shot properly from the bow, and finding it’s way to the exact target. Happy New Year

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30 responses to “time and direction

  1. I have to concentrate on doing what you have said in your last paragraph. I must learn to enjoy life again and to pay attention. I have changed and I need to become a nice person again because the people I work with changed me into a horrible unkind person.

    • It’s only natural for us to react to the environment and the people who surround us for long periods of time. And I don’t think that we always have to be nice. But sometimes, especially in hostile environments, it’s very important that we listen to our inner voice… to our intuition, in order for us to be at peace with ourselves. You have to remember that you live most with yourself, and that you want to be happy. Humor can often help us to deal with difficult situations, even if we only amuse our own selves. My best wishes for a happy new year, GB, filled with good spirits.

  2. I love your insights and the way you craft words. And, as always, your animal photos! So amazing the way you capture their personalities.

    • Thank you so much, Jordan. It pleases me to hear that you enjoy my posting, because I enjoy yours as well. May the coming year be filled with health and happiness, and much learning, and peace.

  3. A lovely post, thoughtful and wonderful photographs.

  4. Thank you for this post! I do love that John Lennon quote and have referenced it myself in posts past 🙂 That said, in moving forward, I used a quote in my present post that you may enjoy: “I took some time out for life.” ~ James L. Brooks Have a happy and safe New Year!

    • Yes, you’re right. That’s a great quote from Brooks. It tells us something important, but it also amuses us… and that is a great delight. Thank you for your good wishes, and I wish you too, a year of health and happiness, and many great adventures.

  5. Hi Shimon, it is indeed mid summer in South Africa (every Friday evening SA time) a new Weekly Photo Challenge appears on the Dailypost@wordpress you interpret the theme anyway you want to but the photos you post must be your own photos. When you have finished your post you go and leave a comment on the Dailypost so that people know that you are taking part. This is the link to the current one http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/weekly-photo-challenge-winter-2/#comments perhaps you would like to join?

    • Thank you for explaining that, GB. I have enough challenges in my day to day life, so I don’t look for any more. But I always enjoy looking at other people’s photography.

  6. Hello, Shimon,

    I enjoyed your post very much, and the pictures are wonderful!

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. orlando gustilo

    Thoughts about time are called forth on epochal changes like religious holidays and calendar events like the New Year and I welcome yours in the midst of what we call winter in the Northern Hemisphere. I love culture and the way humans have thought “our world” into being by calling portions of experience a name, like time or God or me or now, while I remember too that outside of words the world may exists beyond the names I give it, without the order I must place on it so I can exist in it i.e. feel I have a hand in shaping it. Thank you for a thought-provoking blog, for sharing your vision of our world, and a joyful living-in-the-now.

    • It is true, Orlando, that there is a world beyond our existence, and beyond our experiencing it. Sometimes, in rare moments, human beings can merge with something greater than their own senses and expressions… and then usually, there is less chatter… but words are definitely a very important part of human rationality, accompanying us even in our solitude… and a signature of our being alive… thank you for your comment.

  8. “I would like to wish you, my friends, and myself as well, a year in which we will be completely aware of every hour that we live, and in which we will be careful to direct our love, and our thoughts, and even our anger, and our complaints in the right direction. May our words be like poetry, precise and meaningful, and our actions like the arrow, aimed and shot properly from the bow, and finding it’s way to the exact target. Happy New Year”

    Thank you for such beautiful thoughts. Your writing touches me deeply. I am so happy to have found you here in the blogosphere. Great wisdom, kindness, joy and love shines through your words. You inspire me to do better, to be better. I thank you sir. Happy New Year to you too.

    • Thank you very much for your comment tshang. I was curious to get to know you better, but found it difficult to visit your blog. I would appreciate it if you could work something out for me.

  9. “May our words be like poetry, precise and meaningful, and our actions like the arrow, aimed and shot properly from the bow, and finding it’s way to the exact target. Happy New Year”

    Happy New year to you too dear Shimon,…. This was so beautiful wishes… Photographs fascinated me too. Thank you. Blessing and Happiness, with my love, nia

    • Hello Nia – I read your quote on Shimon’s post, and I think it is beautiful. “May our words be like poetry, precise and meaningful, and our actions like the arrow, aimed and shot properly from the bow, and finding it’s way to the exact target.” Who is it by – do you know? It is so universal.

    • Thank you so much for your comments, and for going back and checking out my different posts. May this be a year of learning and flowering, and love. What a pleasure it is to have met you.

  10. Your words show your gentle heart, Shimon…already living what you have wished for all of us in the year that followed your post….

  11. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    I didn’t know this story of Moses, Shimon, and to be honest with you I don’t know what to make of the Bible at times EXACTLY like this fable. I mean, if if this is a true story it is absurd. He cannot enter the promised land because he hit a rock – it makes you think ‘what a ridiculous God when others rape & torture, and that’s their reason’. It is natural – precisely because we are humans – to lose your temper. So really, I don’t know what to make of that.

    But I love going back into old posts – you know that 🙂

    • It’s not quite as absurd as it seems at first look. We believe that there are basic rules which apply to all people. Rape and torture are forbidden even at times of war. But there are other acts for which a person is judged according to his own standards. The more aware he is, the more sensitive he is, the more we accept of him. A teacher or a parent is treated with great respect in our society. But at the same time, he or she is expected to act with much greater sensitivity and understanding towards others. We’re not all the same. Whereas it might be ‘natural’ for an ordinary worker to curse if he makes a mistake or injures himself with a tool, a teacher or leader is expected to overcome his anger, frustration or disappointment, and behave differently. I’m so glad, Noeleen that you check out the older posts, and always enjoy your comments.

      • WordsFallFromMyEyes

        Thank you for this perspective, Shimon. I understand more now. I really appreciate you took a moment to explain it more.

        I love checking out older posts – often people speak of something impending and then to jump ahead a year and see where they’re at…. I really enjoy seeing how people developed through their own blog. My pleasure! 🙂

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