What's the time?


This year, as well as organising the fun season of fundraising gigs that you see advertised on this poster, all happening in my home town of Poole in England, (we're half way through the season now and they're going well!) I've had another live project capturing my imagination and tapping into my creativity.

I realised at the beginning of the year that although I've been out there and singing the 'Songs of Freedom' I've been writing for the last eight years, the truth of the matter is that most people haven't been listening to the words and the messages that I've spent so much time writing into those songs. As my partner Harriet pointed out, that's just the way it is! Most people, like her, she says, listen to the first line of a song and then get caught up with the general vibe of it and ride along on the tune and they don't catch the rest of the words.

Anyway, whether that's true or not, I decided to take the bait and I set off, three months ago, to write a linking narrative, telling the real life stories and explaining the freedom messages apparently hidden in my song lyrics.

It's very much a work in progress! And it's been a very educational experience for me, taking something that I thought couldn't be easier to understand and coming to realise that what my songs mean to me is based very much on my own unique life experiences and my own idiosyncratic personal stories.

After four complete rewrites the draft narrative still has a good way to go but fortunately, I'm still caught up and fascinated by the challenge of finding the best way to say it all and enjoying the process.

Meanwhile, I thought it might be fun to share some little snippets from the half-finished narrative with you so you get some idea what I'm doing with my time this year.

Here's a story about something that happened in 1974. It get's down to the very heart of what my narrative is all about: - Enjoy!!

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'.......One day I plucked up some courage and asked Rudi if I could visit his studio and see the work he was doing. That was a very big deal for me! I was stepping into the personal world of a very successful sculptor; a much older guy who was also a hero of mine and a person who’d already done everything I wanted to do in my own life.

So when I got to Rudi’s corrugated iron shed of a studio in town I was pretty much on the edge of being awestruck but at the same time I was being determinedly strong and curious and open, as young people are. Busy admiring the amazing sculptures that spread across his old, wooden floored studio space and filled of respect for the vastly more experienced and more accomplished artist that Rudi was, I wanted to find out everything I could about Rudi Rooijackers, his work and his artistic vision.

After a while chatting and studying all sorts of things in the studio we decided to have a cup of tea. I was relaxed and I found myself asking Rudi, rather naively and very directly, how he had got to be a successful and famous sculptor. You see, that was top of my own agenda and that particular question was always on the top of my mind in those days. My ultimate dream was to be a successful sculptor and I really wanted to know how to do it.

Luckily for me, as it turned out, Rudi didn’t give the sort of answer I was expecting, at all. Dismissing the whole question of fame and success with a shrug of the shoulder he made some comment about the boring things he’d had to do to get where he was and then we moved on, talking and drinking tea. At the same time, Rudi obviously realised that I was a young man with a dream and a person who was looking for some useful tips and he wanted to give me something. Within a few seconds he was kind enough to mention something in passing about ‘Relative Time and Space’.

I was forced to ask, ‘What do you mean?’

‘Do you mean to say you have never heard of relative time and space?’ asks Rudi with a look of amazement on his face.

‘No.’ says I.

So he tells me.

‘Don’t you know, there are two sorts of time. There’s the time you see on the clock, that’s chronological time, and there’s relative time, the time that we live in, like ‘Now, Now, Now, Now; - experiential time!

And there are two sorts of space, the space that we measure in Kilometres or millimetres or miles or inches; that's the space around us that we call three dimensional space with measurable distances; and then there’s this space that we live in, here; experiential space; relative space! It’s living space! We live in relative space and time’.

The instant I heard Rudi say that, my awareness shifted as I imagine yours probably just did. I was suddenly in Relative Time and Space and I really ‘got’ what he was talking about. That moment was a huge revelation to me and I immediately realised that Rudi was sharing something very special with me. I was 25 years old and I’d never thought about there being two different sorts of time and space in that way until that moment.

By pointing at the clock on the wall Rudi made it clear to me in an instant, what sort of time that clock was about; how it related to what I later came to regard as something you might describe as ‘a wonderfully conceived everyday human system of time-keeping’. And at the same time, he made me see how that system of time-keeping is quite different and as nothing compared to another wonderful sort of time; Relative Time: the time we experience; the time we are actually alive in!

What I like about Rudi calling what was to me an amazing new experience of Presence, ‘Relative time and space’ is that it is so graphic and undeniable. There really are two different sorts of time and space, one that we’re all thoroughly familiar with because we’ve learnt to read the time on the clock or on our phones and we use those ways of reading the time and knowing the distance between places to organise ourselves every day.

Then, once someone reminds us that it exists, we remember the other sort of time. You may well have noticed that by shifting your awareness and tuning into the real meaning of ‘Now! Now! Now!’, by what I call, ‘Letting go into the present moment’, you can be in it relative time and space any time you want to be. There’s nothing difficult about it at all! It’s just that for some reason we keep forgetting that sort of time and that way of experiencing life exists.

For me that conversation and that experience in Rudi’s studio was like discovering a whole new dimension to life that I’d been blind to for 25 years. It instantly gave me a new sense of aliveness, as it does anyone who allows themselves to tune into Relative Time and Space and it gave me a hugely liberating insight into the comparatively complicated life I’d been living, up until that point.'

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There you go! That's my Rudi story from the 'The song of life comes through' narrative that I'm in the middle of writing. Hope you enjoyed it!


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