(Q) Gaia often says “life is long, but time is short” but what does that really mean? Is it a metaphor for don’t waste your life, or don’t sweat the small stuff? If time really is short, how much time do we have? And dare I ask, what then?
(A) It is both a metaphor and a warning. It’s been over twenty years since I heard it for the first time. I remember thinking that it sounded lyrical, but I didn’t take it seriously. I thought it was quaint in that Gaia way most of us recognize. When I hear it now it sounds like, “Be attentive to what matters, this is not a rehearsal.” Like you, I’m listening, learning, and asking questions. I am smiling at strangers, thanking my barista, and returning library books on time.
Life is long, is a nice way to say that life is infinite, ever evolving without beginning or end. It also describes how we feel about life in our younger years when it seems there is a lifetime of choices and experiences ahead of us. Time is short, is an indicator of how quickly time passes. Time doesn’t offer as many choices or request our approval. It marches forward toward a finite end. And then things get weird, because at some point time seems irrelevant and life seems too stretch. I think she is telling us not to wait until the end to figure it out.
Most everyone I know, including myself, would like to know what is near and next. Another version of this place or this life? Something altogether different? Mostly, I think we want to know that our life has meaning and matters to someone besides us. It does, of course, but we don’t always know it or feel it. That may come later when we begin to experience things as they are instead of how we imagine them, or how others tell us they are.
Now that we are between worlds, experiencing the dying of one and the birth of another, the meaning of life and the passage of time has a new urgency to it. I have been rereading some of Gaia’s earlier messages with a different outlook, looking for clues I might have missed.
I have been putting my affairs in order, as they used to say. I have been giving lovely objects I’ve collected over the years to new caretakers who express an interest in them. I have sent boxes of photo albums to other family members. I am not doing this because I believe the end is near, quite the opposite. I am feeling the first hints of a new beginning. Going forward I would like to feel lighter, less burdened by excess or the past. I am making room for the new.
How much time do we have? As I understand it, we have less than forty years to get our S#%T together for life as we know it to continue. Maybe less. We are a civilization of human beings who have more in common than we admit to. Time really is short and there is a lot to do in a short period. If we don’t get that now, a thousand more years won’t make a difference.
Mid-decade and later the challenges will be greater, personally and globally. We need to evolve quickly now and so does the earth. We are not at fault for everything that is happening, but many of our decisions have been faulty. We are living in a distorted world and corrections are necessary. Not coincidentally, the earth is undergoing a cyclical transformation that will affect us all. The truth is, we really are in this together.
What then? I can’t answer that yet, but we are not alone in wanting a better world than this one for ourselves and for future generations. There is help around us and I feel hopeful. It’s good to take warnings to heart as the heart is an incredible listening device among other things. My heart tells me we still have time to engage our efforts, adapt to new situations, explore new ideas, remember and restore inner guidance, and take significant steps toward a beneficial and inclusive future.