Time Isn’t Meant to Be Filled

We need the space to breathe. On the struggle between doing and being.

Vincent Van Patten
4 min readJun 30


Wakayama, Japan. Photo by the author.

Words carry weight when there’s breath in between. A poem shines not shrouded in type, but when sparse like a tree in a desert, stark against the empty, pale sky.

Time doesn’t need to be filled.

A man-made construct, our minds play tricks; we believe we’re missing out, falling back, wasted — if each second isn’t used to move in conformity with the ticking clock.

When our time comes, we may wonder if we did enough.

But what are we really here to do?

Perhaps nothing more than watch time go. Flowers blooming. The rising sun. And notice how it opens us.

Coming from someone constantly listening, reading, watching, typing, my mind says do, but my heart says be.

In the morning I get up and I go, engaging in various pursuits.

I’ve built the pressure like fire beneath a kettle. I feel I’m not living up to my own expectations if I don’t keep up.

I love this shit, but I need to release. We all do.

In the night, in the darkness, I let go of the weight. The day’s been written.

I find clarity in moments of surrender. We mustn’t be anxious if not doing; this time is needed, and I allow it. Cherish it.

Let myself enjoy it.

The space between the moments is just as vital as the moments themselves.

Waiting for the train to take me home, I walk to the end of the platform in Kobe, Japan.

The tunnel opens upon a world of midnight blue; the earth, the night sky. I look up at the cold, lucid moon.

The smell of darkness after an afternoon of rain is sweet and damp, fresh from the intermittent storm.

It makes me happy to watch the sailing, luminous clouds, wondering what they’re telling me.

Simplify; go deeper into less.

In the doing we’re running from ourselves, our thoughts, the silence, when in that silence the answers are found.



Vincent Van Patten

Exploring what lights my soul on fire ❤️‍🔥 Living in Japan. For my writing, podcast, photography and much more, check out vincentvanpatten.com