If you’re a linear thinker then you like the idea of time being a very neat and tidy concept. We have seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years…you get the point. Linear thinking is how we live most of our lives going from task to meeting to appointment. But there are moments in our lives when something interrupts the flow of time. These can be frightening and yet exhilarating moments! It just depends how we respond to them.
One can see a timeline and consider it to be chronological in nature, going from set point to set point through a series of life circumstances. But the interruption in time doesn’t work this same way. There’s another word for this and it comes from the Greek word Kairos. It’s basically a cycle in time that will send our lives out on a potentially new trajectory.
Think of one of these Kairos moments as a loop in the middle of the timeline.
The drawing above is simple but it gets the point across. We go through life nearly on autopilot. Then a moment in our life takes us by surprise. Maybe it’s a death of a love one, new job, catastrophe, birth of a child, illness, win the lottery – who knows but it can be a good surprise or a bad surprise. The idea is that it takes your breath away and has the potential to alter your way of thinking.
When one of these moments happens we can basically have two responses. The first is to ignore it as if nothing happened at all. The second is to go through an evaluation process to learn what you can while the event is still fresh.
If you notice on the right side of the circle, you’ll see the word reflect. This is when we ask some questions. What happened? What emotions am I wrestling with? Who around me can I talk to about this?
This side of the circle is powerful and essential. This helps us process what’s going on. It’s about chance to admit that we could and probably should come out of this thing differently. The only problem is this is where most of us stop in the cycle. But there’s a whole other side that can really make this worthwhile.
The left half of the circle is about response. This is when we actually do something with what we learned through our evaluation and processing. If we just process and never act, we’ll get nowhere. In this side of the circle, as we make our way back to the timeline, we make a plan for how to implement change. We find the people in our lives who can come alongside us and hold us accountable to actually do what we commit to doing. And finally we determine check in moments to assure that we’re following through.
Now the really cool part of this circle is what happens when we reemerge back into our normal routine. Often the learning of the circle, from the pausing to the planning and implementing, will move us in a slightly new direction. It’s like riding a bike. When we learned to ride bikes as kids, we were able to go places faster than we could without a bike. In this case, when we learn the value of these interruptions in time, we’ll be able to get places we couldn’t have gone living in the monotony of a chronological existence.
So the long and short is be on the look out for interruptions to your day. Not all of these interruptions are bad. As a matter of fact, one of them might send you on a new path to a God ordained destination. Happy time hunting!