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Lenedra Carroll

The Question of Time
by Lenedra J. Carroll


The "home" of the mind, as of all things, is the implicate order. At this level, which is the fundamental plenum for the entire manifest universe, there is no linear time. The implicate domain is atemporal; moments are not strung together serially like beads on a string.
—Larry Dossey

What Time Is It?

"I'm afraid I have bad news about that demo tape, Jewel," I tell her playfully. "I'm not going to help you make it." We are walking along a favorite stretch of beach; the low sun casts a golden hue on the foam at the water's edge. It swirls around our toes. For months now she has been requesting my help to create a tape of her songs to pitch to record labels. Each time I asked her to focus instead on deciding what she most wants to do. Now that she knows she wants to pursue a career in music she is asking again about making the demo.

The Architecture of All Abundance by Lenedra J. Carroll

Splashing in the sea froth at my feet I say, "Let's not do it that way! Making a demo tape and knocking on doors, trying to get others to listen, pitching you loud enough for someone to hear...all of that is part of an old way of working that has nothing to do with us. We don't need to participate in any of it. No one needs to really. There's an entirely different way to work in business. It utilizes the principles of the outgoing wave."

"What do you mean?" Jewel said, "I don't know what you're talking about!"

We stop at a favorite meditation rock and sit facing into the sunset. "What is needed instead, Jewel, is for you to know what time it is. Asking the question, 'What time is it now?' is a great way to determine what the next step is.

"If it was truly demo time, the demo resources would be more apparent. But when we examine our resources, there aren't any for it -- no money or people, no situations, or energy even, that would create it. Instead of forcing a demo simply because everyone says you have to have one, let's ask what time it is."

"Okay," she said, "What time is it?" She was flipping sand into the air with her toes, partially intrigued and partially annoyed, anxious to take action.

"It's not time for you to get someone else to hear your songs and give opinions about you. It's time for you to get your own feel for yourself as a singer-songwriter. You don't feel like a writer or singer; you're very uncertain about it, you've only written about a dozen songs. You don't know if you can keep writing, you aren't certain where they come from. You don't know if larger audiences will like your songs or if a fan base will start to grow. There is no place in you where you can own all of this yet -- this idea about yourself and your work, your talent, your audience. And you will need this self-knowledge to create from and take your dream forward. When we ask what time it is, the answer is that it's time for you to have that experience -- the one of performing and relating to the group that would become your audience, experimenting with your material, feeling yourself in the role."

The orange orb of sun dipping into the water interrupts our conversation and we sit quietly, our skin taking on a rosy sheen. I think briefly how grateful I am for Jewel's trust and her willingness to innovate.

"When it's time for a demo tape we'll know why and how. Right now it's clearly time for a small venue where you can perform your songs and interact with an audience."

We resume our walk along the molten water's edge. A golden retriever leaves its owner and bounds over to Jewel, begging her to throw the stick in its mouth. She wrenches it away and heaves it far out over the waves. The dog lunges enthusiastically into the sunlit surf.

After watching the dog she turns to me and asks, "How do I get a venue, should I call a bunch of coffeehouses or theaters? How do I talk them into letting me perform? When I get a show set up, how do I get an audience? Should I make a lot of flyers and advertise for a show?"

"That's more of the same straining to make something happen. Feel the energy that accompanies those ideas...you seem anxious and revved up just thinking about it."

"Well, what do I do? I have to do something or nothing will happen." Impatience marks her voice.

I laugh. "Taking steps just because you can, because you want to, because everyone says you should...it doesn't work -- or rather, it's a lot of work to make it work.

"You need to do what you love. Sit in your favorite coffeehouses and on the beach, write and sing and meet people. Hang with the local musicians you are meeting. Daydream a lot; flesh out your dream. Have fun with the idea."

"I already have," she grumbles. "That's all I've been doing for weeks and weeks. Nothing's happened."

"That was before you were so clear about what you want to do, Jewel. That clarity will absolutely affect the results. You'll talk to people differently, notice things you didn't before. Hold your idea strongly in your Being, speak it in your prayers, imagine yourself in this new future you are conceiving of. You'll be amazed how easily, how naturally it comes to you. Trust the time it takes and enjoy the time. It will come when you are ready. The next step will make itself obvious. Don't take it until you see it clearly."

Two weeks later Jewel calls elated. "I have a gig!" she shouts.

"I was singing with Poltz on one of his shows at the InnerChange coffeehouse and the owner heard me. She wanted to know whose songs I sang and I told her mine. She asked if I had enough original material for a show so I told her I did. Then she offered me Thursday nights! I worked out the money with her and everything!"

It is a thrill to hear the passion and the wonder in her voice.

Timelines

When one allows everything to take a rightful place in the time flow, one comes into harmony with the natural, seamless, and amazingly effortless rhythm that is the natural order of all that is. Ease and even magic can happen, kismet, serendipity, good luck -- all of these have space to occur when we strengthen and clarify our outgoing wave and hold it loosely in the time flow. For Jewel's career, I had spent time clarifying her interests and goals, discussing her fears, strengths, liabilities, and then creating a very detailed five-year probability plan. I call it a probability plan because I feel projections depend on probabilities and probabilities shift in the flow of time and need to be revisited. They can and should, however, be intuited from the outset and revised with new input.

An important goal I had for her career time line was to allow it an organic development, giving her time to adjust in her psyche, to understand herself and her creativity, to know her fans. She didn't, at this point, feel at all certain of her creative ability, she didn't yet think of herself as a singer-songwriter and had little solo experience of her ability to capture an audience. Jewel needed time to discover these things and grow in confidence regarding them. As a nineteen-year-old in a crucial phase of development, a more accelerated plan would place her personal and creative growth in jeopardy. It was not something I could allow -- not as a manager, nor as her mother.

For that early plan I also established goals for record sales. My first projection was 100,000 in the first eighteen months following recording, 500,000 within two years, and 1 million following closely, with 10 million as the final goal. Jewel could not relate to these goals because she couldn't imagine how they could be met. She felt pressured by them. She was not able to imagine, in any concrete way, being bigger than her gigs at the InnerChange coffeehouse. Sales interested her far less than her music and the fans, so she focused on what time it was for her -- time to develop her creativity and relationship with her audience. As her manager, it was time to understand and plan the long-term career she desired.

A goal of this plan was to create a situation in which she was sought after by numerous record labels, which would increase the ability for her as an untried artist to get a more advantageous record deal. In addition I laid out a time line that showed the type of career we wanted to forge, based on other well-established artists with similar careers. I established goals and time lines for her development as a writer and actress. All of these goals guided the career but timeliness drove it.

Spiritual power molds physical and material conditions, but spiritual power is never in a hurry....Never try to force the door and to go into any condition by force; just wait and you will conserve all the power which will be necessary for you to accomplish your work at the given time. If things do not happen as you want them to happen, know that a better way is being found. Trust, and never forget that the true way is the way of love. Flowers do not force their way with great strife. Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun....Everything happens at the right moment.... — White Eagle

Demo Time

Jewel got her gig quickly, easily -- Nancy Porter, an enthusiastic supporter of music in San Diego, heard her jam with another musician at Nancy's coffeehouse, the InnerChange, and immediately offered her a gig. Jewel's popularity among young people grew rapidly; within six weeks there was standing room only at the coffeehouse. Then, without any effort on our part, one of the major record labels, Virgin Records, caught her show and approached her for a meeting. By the time we could meet with them, Atlantic Records also requested a meeting and we went to Los Angeles for two meetings without making even one phone call or inquiry to entreat other interest on our behalf. I maintain that this ease was due to our clarity and certainty. I have seen it proven again and again.

At that first meeting with Virgin Records, they were so taken with her that the meeting went long and we had to call Atlantic to say we were delayed. Then, on the way to them, we got lost numerous times. It was the end of the day, and Jewel was very nervous that we were keeping the president of Atlantic Records waiting.

We pulled into the parking garage at Atlantic in Jewel's Volkswagen bus just as the woman we were to meet was getting into her car to leave. As we apologized, she interrupted and said the president had to leave to pick up his son at day care. Jewel was crestfallen.

But the woman then added, "Well, it turned out to be great. The president said that he actually hates those little scenes where a group gathers in his office around a nervous artist who struggles awkwardly through some songs and then everyone looks at him to see what he thinks." She was almost breathless as she continued, "He suggested that what we do instead was have Jewel go into a studio at Atlantic's expense and make a demo tape so we can hear how she sounds, and then meet again and talk. He said you can keep the demo with no strings attached and even use it to shop for a deal at other labels!"

Apparently it was demo time. We now had a need that a demo tape would fill expediently -- we could use it to give to other labels who were becoming interested in Jewel. Word spread in the close-knit music business, other labels approached us, and soon six record labels were courting Jewel. From there the job was, again, to stay focused on what time it was. It was time to hold to our own clear understanding of our goals, her abilities and needs, and her career trajectory as we had outlined it. It was not time to get all caught up in the needs and ideas of record labels or the fear that we might lose an opportunity and so on.

It was time to get educated about the process we found ourselves entering into and time, as always, to ask the right questions. My question was, "What constitutes a truly great deal for a beginning artist -- an impossibly great deal even?" Typically a beginner can't get the royalties and agreements in a contract that a successful artist can so an artist will try to renegotiate their deal later, after they have successful songs. In our case, by understanding what would comprise an outrageously good contract and holding that goal, not hurrying into a relationship with any label, being confident that there was time and probability, we were able to get a deal so favorable that it left us with nothing further to ask for after her success.

Within three years of signing the contract we achieved all of our goals, ending that first cycle of her career with sales of 10 million records and a profound humility and gratitude for the grace in the process. Knowing what time it was led us to that enviable position.

Isaac Stern, the celebrated violinist, was once asked why the music played by other violinists didn't sound as good as the same notes played by him. His reply: "But it isn't the notes that are important! It's the intervals between the notes."

Concave Time

She hears her big brothers discussing the race. They are in track and field at school and one of them won the tournament so he is going to the big state meet. The conversation is all about the four-minute mile. For a long, long time, everyone thinks the record can never be broken. But then, unbelievably, a guy named Bannister does! And then amazingly soon someone beats that new record! And seconds continue to get shaved off by other record breakers little by little, year by year.

Where will it end, she wonders? Will they keep at it determined second by determined second? Then inch along by the relentless tenth of a second? Forging competitively and inevitably ahead to a zero point? Is it possible? Then what? The possibilities boggle her. Will they fall into a time funnel that narrows and narrows to no time? Is there "minus time"? Maybe someone could run it in less than no time at all. Or is "no time" a sort of time barrier like there is a sound barrier? If they break the time barrier what will happen? Will time cave in and the runner disappear like with a time machine? Is anyone afraid of this? Maybe professional athletes are a type of fearless explorer.

It's a lovely and yummy thing to think about. She imagines a shrine to the missing athletes who disappear into the time barrier. Where might they go? Will the world be affected, like if you go into the future in a time machine and change it and then that changes the past? Will anyone come back from there? If nothing seems to happen at all, how will we know if nothing really did or not? We could be changed and not notice maybe. These are some of her wonderings.

No Time, All Time

There is no time. Not really. This is profoundly true but difficult to fully grasp. Quantum science has fascinating explanations of this for those who are interested. Time is a construct. A human construct. Not all humans live so tightly bound in it as Westernized cultures do. Many cultures live in time with the seasons, the sun and moon rhythms, broader measures. They do not break things down into the millisecond.

Breaking time down to its most minute increments has the effect of getting our face so close to it we no longer can operate within the big picture. Remember the story of the blind men who were trying to understand an elephant by touch? One, feeling the trunk, declared it to be long and pliable. The men at the elephant's knee, or tail, or side had extremely different ideas of what the elephant was. Focusing only on one limited view, we form ideas that we then live by to our limitation.

The four-minute mile was a record long believed to be unbreakable. In fact it was thought to be humanly impossible. Athletes and coaches declared it impossible; physiologists thought the mind and the body would not be able to endure the strain. Most people agreed, but Roger Bannister did not. He was not deterred from his belief that he could break the record. He said, "It all starts with desire; the drive to be the best. Fueled by my faith in my training, I will overcome all obstacles. I am brave! I am not afraid to face anyone on the track. I believe this is not a dream. It is my reality."

On March 6, 1954, Bannister accomplished what was hailed as one of the greatest feats in history. He ran the mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds. He showed it to be possible and just forty-six days later another athlete broke his record. Since that time a small group of superb athletes has continued to break that time barrier, setting new records.

Time is a barrier indeed. As we live within its confining territory at greatly accelerated speeds, we create for ourselves a reality that vaults forward. We continue inventing faster and faster machines, more timesaving devices, more precise clocks, counting every moment, placing an ever-higher value on time. It begins to feel that we are careening through space with little time even for thought. Indeed it is true. Our thoughts race as does our pulse. Adrenaline floods us as though we were in flight from danger. Time, a tool we constructed to serve us, now rules our day. Time is money and there is never enough. We constantly try to "make" time for more activities, more work, more meetings. But making time is a much more accurate idea than we pause to consider.

There are many things that "make" more time. Music makes time - it can alter our awareness of time and induce states of seeming timelessness. Intense focus such as exercise or intent work or play are known to do the same. Inner stillness makes time and can even end time. Love creates a timelessness, as does joy. These are all known to affect the physiology in ways that alter the consciousness of time. In slowing down, we do not lose productivity, as we fear. Instead, we are able to hear our thoughts and the voice of our soul. Effortlessness is accessed that reduces our friction within the so-called time frame.

Dismantling Time

My eldest son, Shane, had an unusual experience regarding time. For many of his young and teenage years he had a frequent visitor to his dreams, a man called Bashi-Kâ. This mysterious man would have night chats with Shane about intriguing issues. During the time Shane was in Europe at college, he played with the idea of time as it related to his homework. He tried to reduce the amount of time needed for homework by changing his assumptions about it. Rather than assuming that long hours were needed - the prevalent idea at the school - he decided not to make it about time at all. Instead he focused on the benefit he wanted from the study, and relaxed into studying until he felt he had received that benefit. He soon was able to complete his work so effortlessly that he no longer needed every minute to complete assignments; he now had every weekend to travel and many evenings to socialize. And his grades improved to nearly all As. It was such a dramatic change that it caused him to wonder about the nature of time.

This questioning seemed to trigger an extended series of dreams with Bashi-Kâ. He was unaware of many of them until his roommates began to tell him he was sleep talking. One roommate found Shane's nighttime mumbling annoying and began to sleep on the living room couch. But the other was intrigued and took notes. He reported that Shane was having conversations with someone called Bashi-Kâ about the nature of life. The roommate wrote many things down and found it all rather fun and often deeply thought provoking.

Then one morning Shane's friend woke him urgently, pointing with wide eyes to the nightstand. There was Shane's watch on the nightstand, completely dismantled with all the miniscule little screws and workings lined up in tidy rows. On his notepad next to the array was scrawled a poem in Shane's hand:

Time is of the essence
Both chapter and page
Meant to be thought
Not kept in a cage.

With no watchmaker tools available both boys were at a loss about how it had occurred or how to get it back together. After the initial wonderment, they began to recall the night's dream and sleep talking. It seems that Bashi-Kâ had been instructing Shane on the nature of time.

The Finish Time

While I was writing this chapter, my deadline for delivery of the final manuscript was looming at me. Taking my commitment to the publisher seriously, I began to feel pressure and anxiety about whether I would be able to finish on time. I fidgeted and fussed and wrestled with the writing, growing more anxious and less productive at an alarming rate. I recognized the irony, of course -- I was writing about freeing ourselves of the confines of the calendar and clock-oriented time structure while feeling totally bound by it. I challenged myself to apply the principles to my writing.

First I brought myself into the present where there was no deadline. The deadline was in the future, but in the present moment there was only protected space for writing. I determined to focus on writing instead of getting finished, remembering there was no time and there was all the time I needed. I held that place and felt immediate relief.

Then I hit on an idea that intrigued me. I read that studies have shown that many people with multiple personalities heal much faster than normal (bones and cuts heal quicker) and that those people often report they have a personality assigned to be in charge of their healing twenty-four hours a day, visualizing, praying, learning about health. I decided to try assigning a "part" of me to work on my book during my sleep. I passed a noticeable night -- each time I woke I remembered dreams about my writing. On waking in the morning I recalled several paragraphs that I was working on just before awakening. I went immediately to my computer and typed them in. Those paragraphs, without edit, follow in the section titled "Holding Time." Over the next eight hours I wrote seventeen pages that flowed effortlessly, requiring very little reworking.

In one of my dreams I was instructed to connect with the reality in which my book was already finished and to hold that idea as I was writing. This changed how I related to the project. I had the energy and relief of completion instead of the pressure and dread of the work ahead. Doing this while keeping my awareness on how elastic and expandable time is, staying in the moment, and working in my dreams brought the book in on time with far greater ease; I even had time to play with friends, exercise, and take lovely walks on the beach.

Learn that eternity is now, the future is now. There is no past or present or future as separate periods of time - all are within the soul's embrace now. It is your reaction to the now which is your future. — Anonymous

Holding Time

There is a distinction between fearfully avoiding a moment and creating a pause. When waiting indecisively in confusion and fear, we are looking and acting outside of ourselves, dependent on others' ideas and outside resources. But by purposefully allowing a pause, we use the time gained to clarify and strengthen our position. Allowing our clock-driven sense of time to dictate our action and nonaction jams up the works, compresses the moment, bringing in stress and limitation. As we step away from this addiction to time, we can know the true nature of each moment.

A great power is found in this ability to hold, to contain the energy. You can feel an energy building around an enterprise, a project, a dream and an enthusiasm and excitement for the project. It is then most tempting to press the go button and begin to take steps to move it along a fast track, or engage others to become involved. Yet that is the precise moment when it is best to be quiet, to contain the energy, holding our own counsel. We can watch while staying steady in our thoughts and visioning. The idea and plan grow clearer, steadier, and their wave frequency begins to emit that clarity and strength. This builds an energy that is attractive. It is magnetic. It begins to attract the required resources. Broadcasting the idea too soon, taking action prematurely, can disperse the energy.

Splitting Atoms

Take a mental look at the picture of an atomic bomb detonation. We have seen, and been fascinated by, these pictures. I know what intrigues me about them; it's watching the energy pattern. The atom bomb does not scatter its initial force; it has an extremely concentrated ground blast that sends out waves of tremendous force. Then a powerful column thrusts upward and a platform mushrooms out but does not disperse broadly. Then another column moves upward, again forming a platform or mushroom cloud on top.

The early stages of a dream are like that initial impact or detonation. If the first impetus is concentrated and held until precisely the right moment, it will produce a strong physical column and then the platform will form.

Holding the energy can begin to feel like sitting on a bucking horse - it takes skill to hold on. We want to take action. We think that if we are not in action then nothing is happening. We believe we have to make it happen. We feel anxious that the opportunity will be lost or others will beat us to the idea, or we are so excited we simply cannot wait. Moving ahead for these reasons is like getting a plane off the ground with only enough fuel to get halfway to the destination. The primary wave tone of the project is unsteady, fear based, unclear. The progression of the work will reflect it. It will take far more effort to complete it; there will be more stress.

During the "holding phase" we refine our project, asking questions, growing in understanding of what it is, why it is, and how it will be. We can distinguish its correct relationship to us and the world it will take form in. This clarity builds a power into the project. By repeatedly asking what it is time for, we take only the action appropriate for the moment and avoid scattering our energy. We can monitor the energy. If it has gone flat we may have fallen into uncertainty, waiting in fear. But if it is still building and we continue to hold, we will come to know when to engage the glorious man-made illusion of time. We will then be in harmony with the greater rhythms of the universe, which allows the outcome to serve both our immediate goals and the greater goals of the soul.

The Time is Now

Between here and there, between then and now, there is no time and space. There is no time; there is no distance. There is only this extremely pliable moment now. And now. And now. During the time that I was ill and had no money for house and car payments, I was told to pray for what I needed now. I was being asked to come into that one dynamic moment, the only truly vital moment. Either side of this moment is the past or future - both are subject to the intense friction of time and space.

Time is a convenient illusion; created to navigate this plane of existence and the agreements built in here. It is a structure to organize around; we can certainly use it to our advantage. However, it has become a context that we are impossibly bound by. We can loosen our attachment or even step out of time altogether when it serves. We can hold both ideas simultaneously. Understanding that a certain reality exists somewhere down the river, we can intend it to be so. At the same time, we can know that there is no distance from here to there, no time between that time and this time we are in. Becoming now-based and relinquishing our obsession with time we reduce the stress and friction that wears away at us in our ever-accelerating lives, costing us dearly in our health, energy, and quality of life.

There is an Immediate Intelligence. And by "immediate" I do not mean fast paced. It is a Timeless Intelligence that emerges in the moment; in it is all wisdom, all knowledge and love. It is now-based. It is present moment-based. And it has access to all eventual outcomes and therefore knows a wisdom that is at once courageous and still. Courage has in it the connotation of action. Stillness brings with it the idea of sitting in receivership, though not passively. These two qualities emerge in that Immediate Intelligence available to us as we slow our bodies, slow our thoughts and minds. As we ease away from our constant focus and addiction to time, we discover there is a vast and eternal universe to experience.

There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of head or hands. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my customary bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumacs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around. I grew in those seasons like corn in the light, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. —Henry David Thoreau  


Excerpted from The Architecture of All Abundance: Creating a Successful Life in the Material World by Lenedra J. Carroll © 2001.  Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, California, www.newworldlibrary.com.


Lenedra J. Carroll
Lenedra J. Carroll is an accomplished businesswoman, singer, artist and author. She is also the manager and mother of recording artist Jewel. Growing up on a homestead in rural Alaska in the 1950s, Lenedra was surrounded by a vast, unspoiled wilderness that served as her primary teacher. In this setting, she became deeply connected to the rhythms and cycles of nature and consciously integrated these natural principles into her being. Through observation, practice and persistence, she developed a deep spiritual understanding of what it means to be a spiritual being living a very human life. It is this wisdom and understanding that informs and directs her own life and creative endeavors and inspired her to write The Architecture of All Abundance.

Lenedra is a compelling speaker, teacher and performer. Her unique story, engaging wisdom and consummate philosophy of life leave audiences deeply satisfied, renewed and with a clearer vision for their own lives. She has been a performer most of her adult life, including recent performances at the Vatican, the Nobel Peace Prize Concert and Christmas in Rockefeller Center. Her recent television appearances include Oprah Winfrey, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Regis & Kathy Lee, CBS This Morning, The View and Lifetime Applause. She has also been featured in USA Weekend, the Reader's Digest, Us, People Magazine and other printed press.

Over the past several years, Lenedra and Jewel have created a unique partnership to promote positive influence and change from a worldwide platform. Their partnership encompasses several for profit businesses, as well as their humanitarian foundation, Higher Ground for Humanity (HGH). HGH promotes global community and individual action to inspire positive change.

 

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