As #5 in a family of six kids, I was never home alone as long as I lived there. Really. Never. Ever. I left home to be educated in the ways of being increasingly independent. As part of that independence, I was working full time by age 19, while going to college. I explored my new city of Boston. I (saved up and) got my first walkman, discovered walking in the rain, and kept a notebook in my pocket to write poetic lines that I'm still drawing on today.
But still, I wasn't planning that time. I wasn't taking that time. I was learning about time, in between. By age 25 I was married, had my first child; by age 29, my second child. Fast forward a couple of decades and a half...
Because so much can be frustrating and overwhelming, overstimulating and confusing each day, I have had to learn to plan for time with Self. My most powerful mentors in learning this have certainly not been the economically comfortable, welcomed, educated, accomplished. Certainly not. These friends I have met in the course of being in community are the ones who teach me the most; those who have had such deep struggle and heart break. These are the people who have taught me the most beautiful prayers and displayed the most generous spirit. In their presence, I am embarrassed by the anxiety I claim that visits me and disables, or by my unpredictable energy/interest level.
What do we do; where to we go, to find peace within? Whenever I have tried to answer that from my head, a bunch of words come out of my mouth. Maybe those words are poetic structure but they are not useful. I have learned that limiting words make room for a deeper response. We call that place of response many names -- Self, Soul, Heart, Gut, Ground of Being. Sometimes we look up or open our hands and say God. Spirit. The Divine.
To argue about words is folly. To tune into, from that place within you, is always available to us... if we tend it. If we take the time, like we do with anything else. Such time doesn't need to be a amount, it just needs to be what it is.
I resist calling this "alone time," "solitude" or "down time" or "me time," "self care" -- anything that would be equated with some sort of guilty pleasure. To tend to ourselves is wise and necessary so that we can be and do better for others. (At the end of the day, I do take low-foam bubble baths so my stress and rpms of worried thoughts will be directed down the drain.) It helps some.
To tend to ourselves is wise and necessary so that we can be and do better for others.
Time with Self is a spiritual discipline for me now. It isn't always lovely and certain not luxurious. It is hard but clarifying. It is not meant to be a wall but a well.
Time with Self is potentially available to any of us if we have the mental muscle tone to withdraw from a moment to pray, breathe, empty out the mind. It can be as simple as that. We learn from those who suffer more than we do. We learn from those who suffer more than we do. We learn from those who suffer more than we do.
I hope this helps.