I am currently writing about my recent trip to the north of Spain, incorporating not one but two Paul Gehry buildings, most famously the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and at the other end of the spectrum the cathedral at Santiago de Compostella, the ancient destination for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago (St James), where I had the surprise privilege of playing the organ during a Sunday mass.
As I write, one of the constant themes running through my mind is the concept of Kairos, which has become ever more important to my philosophy of life. From the Greek, meaning “the right or opportune moment”, it is different from the better known word chronos, which describes sequential time, as it incorporates a qualitative element which depends entirely on the person using it and the situation in which they are using it. My moment in Santiago is an extreme example of this, but I now actively seek out kairos moments every day, using them as an opportunity to push ahead with my goals and ambitions, and give thanks for my life so far which has brought me to where I am now.
Driving back from the beach the other day – ok, my kairos moment today may be thinking again about how lucky I am to live an hour or so from both the beach and the mountains! – I had another one which became more significant the more I thought about it and the further I drove. Having been with my daughter, who understandably wanted this last beach day before the new school year started to last as long as possible, I was no more keen to head back, but did not particularly want to drive back in the dark – the sun was already setting as we were dragging ourselves out of the water (and the sand car I always build for her as my father used to do for me). But it soon became clear that this was indeed “the right and opportune moment”. Dusk on that familiar road back is always beautiful, especially at the end of summer, when storm clouds hang over the hills and are set on fire by the setting sun. Every time is different and being a bit later, I had yet another variation to admire, as dark valley walls became a foil for the fading light reflected brightly on the Ebro river.
Then, as I climbed the hills that mark the South West edge of the Plain of Lleida, a sense of anticipation began to build of the fierce storms inevitably brewing in the Pyrenees on the other side of the plain. Already, I could see the odd flash between the rocky peaks. The contrast of the light blue sky between the sea clouds to the West and the stormy blackness to the East was incredible. We reached the top and the black sky was punctuated almost constantly by orange glows and white flashes across the entire horizon. The occasional escapee lightening bolt at the edge of the storm cracked the blackness, as if mirroring the parched earth that so desperately craved the nourishing moisture within the towering cumulo nimbus clouds lit up by the apocalyptic explosions deep within the storm.
So yes, once again, I had an immense sense of kairos satisfaction which completed an already sublime day. I encourage everyone to look for moments in your every day lives which can give you inspiration to push ahead with your goals and dreams while appreciating the present – the here and now. That, for me is kairos. May you also have kairos moments every day. 🙂