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.
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.
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 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
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
"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.
"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
It is a thrill to hear the passion and the wonder in
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
Time, All Time
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.
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.
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."
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Time is Now
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.
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
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,
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
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.