which I needed to bend my efforts. But then, this morning, I began mulling over the whole concept of taking the time to do something and knew it was time to write another post...aimed squarely at yours truly. (And if any of you see some benefit here, then...bonus!)
I had a bit of a Eureka moment when I thought about what taking time means. It's not about taking precious time away from other things we deem more worthy. It's not losing time. It's taking ownership of time. We take it into our keeping.
So with that notion in mind, I thought of a few things for which I need to take the time on a regular basis. Perhaps some will speak to you, as well.
Take the time to:
To people of all ages, even to those on opposite sides of the "fence," whatever fence it is that divides us. Perhaps, especially to them. It doesn't mean we condone their opinions, but it does mean we recognize them as fellow human beings. And, really, if we are arming ourselves for whatever social or political battles we see fit to engage in, then we sure better know what the other folks are saying. Not just saying, but feeling. And that, my friend, takes real listening. Not just listening with our ears, but with our hearts and minds.
To the sounds of nature. There is another world out there, beyond our human making, and it is alive with sound! I find the best time to plug into that world is early morning before so many of us fill the air with our vehicles, and lawnmowers, and radios, and words. It's a reminder that we share this planet with innumerable other beings, ones that live their lives alongside us and, if we listen, fill it with beautiful and fascinating song and chatter.
I'm aiming this specifically at my writer-side. Reading enlarges our world and allows us to live vicariously through a universe of characters, both fictional and historical, who go places and do deeds beyond our ken. As a writer, immersing myself in a well-written book helps inform my own writing for the better. ("Just look how effortlessly this author spins dialogue..." "Those short, punchy sentences really help build up the tension in this chapter..." etc) And even reading less than stellar material can be a literary object lesson. ("Whoa. I better watch out for these kind of run-on sentences in my manuscript...")
An especially difficult concept since this seems to be simultaneously time-wasting and self-serving. But, honestly, how well can we do the other more "important" things if our health suffers: mental, physical, or both?
Now, this next bit of self-care will surely bring out the scatological fifth-grade humorist in us, but it's important to take time to...poop. Yes, I said it. When I grew up, our family bathrooms were devoid of reading material. We were encouraged to spend as little time there as possible. It wasn't until I began visiting the bathrooms of friends that I discovered the whole "reading room" concept. ("What the heck are all these magazines doing in the bathroom?!") Needless to say, years of chronic constipation taught me that some things just can't be rushed.
Take time to rest. If we grind ourselves down to the bone (again, mentally or physically,) there is nothing left with which to carry out that important work we are driving ourselves to perform. And sleep. Oh my goodness, food of the gods. Science is now telling us that sleep isn't a waste of time; it's essential to our brain cells to regroup and revive and keep on ticking away.
Think of this as a subset of Self-Care. Even the most humble of meals, deserves our attention. After all, without food, where would we be? Nowhere. And, I've been told that focusing on each bite we take, really tasting it, noticing its texture, is one way to slow down our consumption and actually eat less. Eat less, enjoy more. Mindful eating. Sounds reasonable to me. And, lucky for me, I'm married to a man who loves to cook! Win/win! (Time to pull this post together because I smell something delectable coming from the kitchen...)
-There are many more things for which I need to take the time, but this is a start. I welcome your own thoughts on taking time in the comments, below.
Thanks for stopping by. Y'all come back, now!