Internal Clock

(by Chichi Chan, translated by Sylvia Lee. Original post in Chinese: 內在時鐘)

” In Sudbury Valley School, everyone has time.”

There is no bell in Sudbury Valley School.
Children do what they love doing with absolute certainty that their activities will not be abruptly halted by the sound of a bell. Whether it is finishing a book in three consecutive days, or spending six years entirely on fishing or drumming, there is never an utter of “not enough time” or “I need more time” anywhere. Time, is eternal in the here & now.

The same cannot be said for the schools in Hong Kong. Few schools allow children to run around during recess, let alone playing to their heart’s content without being interrupted by the roaring of The Bell. Doing something to the heart’s content has become a luxury in the children’s lives.

Every person is unique. We are born with unique internal clocks that drive & guide us individually. This is most obvious when we observe the infinite variations of sleep patterns in babies. No two babies ever have identical sleep patterns, some are even at the poles. And yet, from a very young age, we are “trained” to adopt a unanimous external clock dictated by the society. Everyone must wake up & go to work or school at the set time, regardless of the conflicting indications from our internal clocks. We have been forcefully disciplined to deny our internal rhythm, to neglect the whispers of our souls.

When I was a child, my father used to ask me,
“Did you put your heart into your school work?”
We, as humans, put our heart into things we love or are passionate about.
Heart, is where the internal clock resides. As we disconnect from our internal clocks, we disconnect ourselves from our souls, our true selves, our passions & our love.
Over the years, we have acquired many survival skills to combat our everyday situations, to better our abilities to function in the modern world at the expense of our humanity. The murmurs of our hearts, the hums of our souls were silenced. We have learnt to forget who we really are.

I often wonder if, from childhood, we were allowed to follow our unique internal clocks, to wake & rest as guided by within, would our lives as a collective be vastly different?
How wonderful it would be to have every one of us living every moment of our lives according to our own internal rhythm! Everyone to live to their heart’s content.
How wonderful indeed!

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