Setting Our Watches to Kairos Time
On Saturday morning, we drove to downtown Tampa to meet a friend and mentor of mine, Janet, for coffee at a local place called Sophie’s French Café and Bakery. We were near the University of Tampa, and there was an arts festival in progress on the same street as the café. We sat at a table among the eclectic collection of mismatched chairs and tables and caught up on life, writing, family and travel. We also discussed plans for a visit later this year during which J and I will help Janet move her belongings back to New England to start a new job.
While telling Janet about our plans to travel and write for the upcoming 12 months, I mentioned that since leaving my job I’ve had a hard time remembering what day it is. Janet responded, “You’re on mythic time now. You’re living in the moment on Kairos time, instead of by the clock on Chronos time.” Her statement stayed with me over the past couple of days, as many of Janet’s observations have, and last night I started doing some research into the concept of “mythic time.”
Chronos is the Greek word for chronological or sequential time. This is the time of clocks and calendars, and the time that most of us exist in during our day-to-day lives. Kairos is the Greek word for mythic time, or those periods where time seems to evaporate: creative spells, long runs, meditations, getting lost in a task, etc. Further research into Kairos revealed that the term can be translated as “the supreme or opportune moment,” a moment where one must choose to act in order to take advantage of an opportunity in front of them. A closely related phrase is Carpe Diem, typically translated as “seize the day.”
I also read that the Greeks believed that mythic time was the time during which the gods lived out and recorded their stories. These stories were emblazoned on the wheel of time as lessons for humans, and then the wheel was set into motion, forming Chronos time. The metaphor of living our life on mythic time, completely in the moment and taking advantage of opportunities as they emerge, is beautiful to me. This year will be a time for J and me to live out and emblazon new stories and experiences onto our past, new myths and lessons for how we will live our future together…whatever it will be. -M