Soft Time

Last week, taking advantage of the wonderful warm weather we've been having in the UK, my partner and I visited Ham Wall Nature Reserve in the Somerset Levels.  After walking for a while, we sat on an extraordinarily comfortable hand-hewn wooden bench in the warm sunshine, looking out across the reed beds to the water beyond.  As we watched the ducks, moorhens and swans in the water the air was full of the sounds of booming bitterns, cuckoos, reed warblers and the beautiful song of the blackcap. 
In that one perfect moment I was overcome by a sense of well-being.  I felt completely content and at peace.  I wasn't doing anything much, I wasn't achieving anything at all. I was simply drinking in the natural beauty around me:  just being and enjoying the moment.

Spiritual writer and teacher Gill Edwards describes this kind of experience as 'Soft Time'.  Soft Time embodies those moments or periods of time when you're completely wrapped up in what you're doing and enter a different, almost timeless world.  As she puts it in her book 'Pure Bliss' they are "intensely creative and fulfilling periods when everything seems to flow … blissful periods of simply relaxing and being-in-the-moment…"

In the hectic life we all seem to lead – with endless 'to do' lists, terrifyingly packed schedules, looming deadlines and multi-tasking (all characterised as living in Hard Time) it seems to me that "Soft Time" is becoming increasingly precious.  I confess that I often fall into the trap of trying to pack too much in and end up feeling pressured, overwhelmed and stressed – and it's not much fun for those around me either! 

What constitutes 'soft time' for you?  Is it gazing at a wonderful painting or sculpture?  Exploring rock pools or looking for seashells?  Lingering over a latte and watching the world go by?  Or being utterly absorbed in a good book?  When was the last time you enjoyed some 'soft time'?  To quote Gill Edwards again, "When we live in Soft Time we feel more present and alive.  We tap into our inner wisdom with ease.  We are more focused and creative and perform at our peak…  Living in Soft Time also releases our true potential…

Sounds great, doesn't it?  Whatever you do, don't let Soft Time become an added pressure, but, rather, be aware of the need to make space for it if you can.  My guess is that even a few moments will nourish you immensely.  

(c) Annabel Sutton, May 2011

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