Our trip to Belize was remarkable. Every day was a mixture of cultural explorations and nature adventures. We had the opportunity to make tortillas with a local Mayan woman, Mrs. Bo, in her home, visit Eladio Pop and his family on their cacao farm, and go to two Mayan ruin sites. We jumped off of waterfalls, hiked, kayaked, snorkled and went spelunking. Our guides and others we met were incredibly open to all of types of questions. We talked about everything from the diabetes epidemic (Belizean’s call it “sweet blood”), to the issues around the surprise upcoming election, to a more recent trend towards Protestantism, and to the rituals of daily life.
On one of the hikes, I was talking with a fellow tourist about the concept of time. She said that she once learned that two of the ways that cultures look at time are linear and circular. In a linear society, there is always a feeling of pressure and loss. Time can never be recovered or revisited. Time thought about in a circular way leaves room to connect moments and feel the presence and meaning of the cycles of nature.
The feeling that I’m losing time has become such a huge part of my life even though I fight against it. I’m constantly playing with the concept of time, I’ve been trying to slow down and relax more in the midst of the energetic frenzy that is New York City. Sometimes, when I’ve had a particularly busy day and I’m heading home thinking about all of the things that I have to do, I’ll intentionally slow time down by stopping to talk to someone on the street or visiting a local shop. Time becomes connection as opposed to a task list. With this new framework I learned in Belize, I wonder how I can expand my understanding of time to include the circular as well. Let me know if you have any ideas!