Some Thoughts On Time

Some Thoughts On Time

By Eve Chalom

Eve Chalom is a two time world competitor in ice dancing. She is currently a dance/movement therapist, a performer in both ice skating and modern dance, a yogi, and a figure skating coach. She is continually exploring the connections between dance/movement therapy, figure skating, and life in general.


I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how good it is to be in the present.  Just be present.  Just be in the present.  Be here now, etc. . .  What’s wrong with being in the past or in the future?  I remember a beautiful modern dancer, a majestic male dancer in the Graham company, teaching us peons class at the Ailey School.  I shuddered when he walked near because we were all afraid of him.  He elegantly demonstrated a walk across the diagonal of the room, to demonstrate the ability to express an understanding of time.  At first, he walked bringing the past with him, his head and back being pulled magnetically towards the past as he walked away from it.  As he moved away from the corner, the past lessened its hold on him and he was able to walk erect, completely present.  Then, as he continued forwards towards the other corner, he took on a sense of projection, an air of moving forwards and embracing the future, an optimism, a strength, and courage.  For him, he was able to make artistic choices as a dancer about time.  His feelings about the past, present, and future were expressed by his body.  There was no judgment about the pull of the past or pushing forwards towards the future, because it was a choice.  When there is the ability to choose, and one can move freely between past, present, and future (even if only in our minds), there is a freedom, a wholeness, and three dimensionality.  There is also an opportunity for an exploration of one of the poles to inform the other two.  Sometimes, by diving back into the past, I inform the present and the future more.  Sometimes, by looking forwards to my dreams for the future, it makes me see more clearly where I am coming from.  Also, the more I explore the two poles, the more clear the center is made to me, and I can find easier where to rest in peace in the present.

I have spent much of my life operating in the future, always pushing forwards, being ahead of myself, and anticipating.  If I was a car, my car would always be driving forwards, usually going too fast.  Today, I found myself balancing on one leg, leaning way back with my head tilting back, and my back arched, and my pelvis tilted under, like a dive back into the past.  Maybe I might have to spend some time back here to balance out all the years I’ve spent in fast forward.  Maybe by allowing myself to sink back into the past a little, even if just through my body in a symbolic way, I might actually be more present.  It is similar to how I find myself needing to sometimes step back from a group situation, to give myself more space.  By giving myself more space, I find that I am more present and able to be more attentive to the group process.  Maybe going back into the past for me gives me that space I crave to be able to face the present moment with all that happens there.

I feel it’s human to experience the past (nostalgia, longing, fondness, shock, dismay, letting go) –and to be more accurate, these are current feeling states about the past.  The future (hope, dreams, projections, worries, longing, plans, excitement and anticipation, expectations)  The pregnancy.  The possibilities that we need to dream and inject our minds with, like a thought bubble in a cartoon, to allow space for things to happen in the future and to give our energy a shape.  The present, I love because it is so solid.  There is nothing like a body completely in the present, with its full weight and breath, like a tree trunk with its roots in the ground and only feeling the breeze that makes its branches move.  The feeling is delicious and addictive.  And elusive if I try for it too hard.  It is natural for our bodies to make adjustments to time, to settling into the present moment, sometimes being pushed a little forward or pulled a little back, finding the balance of being able to enjoy that deliciously centered place, where the palms turn upwards to rest on our knees and we feel that we are able to receive gifts.  Most importantly, a gift from ourselves, where we have given ourselves the gift of time.

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