Tuesday, September 21, 2010

it's about time

I've been hitting a wall of late in terms of word flow. Oh, I have ideas, and usually they come to me when I'm out in the pasture scooping up piles of manure. But when I've sat myself down with the intention of writing I find only that I have chosen avoidance and really gotten nowhere. It's been very hard to concentrate and it's been very hard to put my finger on the point I'd like to make.

The last time I posted was the last time I had a few hours alone...16 days ago. When I say alone I mean A.LONE. No one but me around. At my home. Alone is not, in my book at least, when I'm in the office and everyone else is down in their rooms watching tv or on the computer or playing a game. Alone is they're gone and I'm here. No interruptions.

Facing the fact that life is so full that in sixteen days I haven't had another period of alone time, except perhaps a car ride by myself, makes me stop and shudder...because a soul needs more time off, more private time, than a few hours every 16 days. And that being said, I don't really count the moment, this moment, as time off, since everyone is here with me and I expect to hear "Maahh-ahhm" called from downstairs at any moment, or the click of the bedside light as Mark gives up on me coming to bed at a reasonable hour and turns in himself.

But tonight I was reading about my friend Maya's adventures on her blog, Tales from the Tour, and it hit me that right now her life is as opposite to mine as possible. She is travelling across the country and back, sharing her poetry with others and teaching poetry workshops. She is driving, by herself, thousands of miles. She is meeting new friends and some old, sleeping in their guest rooms, eating at their kitchen tables. Sharing stories and smiles and favorite coffee bars.

And did I mention she's alone? All by herself? No one to talk to but little old Maya?

[Our house was her very first stop on her Tour de Word and it was a magical couple of days. She helped us feed the equines, she accompanied me to a friend's farm to pick up fresh eggs and raw milk. And then, she taught two writing workshops in our living room, one for teens and moms and one for younger kids in our homeschool community. All three of my boys participated with enthusiasm, Harry said afterwards that it was the first time he felt inspired to write in his life. (And boy, did he deliver!) Ben, who ran away from home (temporarily, you know, for a few minutes) several months ago when I insisted he write something, sat on the edge of his seat all night, gazing intently at Maya and then writing with furvor when given each assignment.]

I know Maya from the days when I attended Wild Writing workshops at my friend Laurie's home in Alameda. Those were lovely times when I spent hours on myself, crafting poetry or narrative, looking deep within myself and then letting it all pour forth from my fingertips and the ink of my pen.

And that's where I come back to my point. My life, rich and full, fast and furious, is missing a very key element. The element of time for me to draw or write or meditate or craft or walk or ride or pick through the racks at the thrift store. I need to carve out an hour or a day or a weekend for just me, regularly, repeatedly, before I evaporate before my very eyes. I have all sorts of dreams for me: time to improve my blog/writing/photography, time to draw and journal, time to learn to preserve food, time to craft, time to purge all the dust and clutter in my beautiful house, time to build a relationship with my horse.
Oh, and time to grieve. That has become something that happens on the edges of my days, sneaking up on me at night or waking up with me in the gray morning hours. I can spend afternoons accomplishing little, and I forget to even check my to do list, that I even have a to do list.

I've been told by several beloved friends to be good to myself. And so I'm trying. Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me again for a bit. And, then, don't be surprised if you hear from me again tomorrow. I don't know which way I may go, but I'll be taking care of me. I promise.

And now, I'm off to tuck a boy in. ("Maaaahhh-aaahm!!") And hopefully get to my own bed before Mark turns out the light.


Soul2b said...

Alone time is so important gives us the time to reflect and be with ourselves and really focus. A time to breathe. It saddens me to know that there is such little time set aside for you, but you life in general is such a blessing. With out the Chaos and loud noise and animals, would your life feel the same? Is the loud and busy life style a comfort zone? I am glad you got the time to write.

Rona said...

When you make sure that you have alone time, you will begin taking care of yourself and teaching your family to do the same. Somewhere along the line, you became stuck with the delusion that spending time with or for your family 24-7 is a divine mission. Sorry--but it's true. There are so many lessons to be learned by alone time such as----I am worth it, I am me and not just defined by my relation to my loved ones, my family members will respect me more when they see me treating myself better, I am a great Mom even if I am not part of every family event and task, I deserve to have more help around the house, I must nurture my own soul and creative spirit, I deserve it, and I CAN change. Oh oh, I did just lecture you, didn't I? Did any of these ideas ring true or do you want to just slap me?

Rona said...

Me again. I just read my previous comment and it came off much stronger than intended. What I didn't say was that I wasn't just speaking to you, but to all of us Moms. Most of us take better care of our families than we do of ourselves. I know I often take responsibility for totally irrational things like when Dan or Ralph is sick or sad, or something goes wrong in the house. That's what I meant by women taking on motherhood and head of the household as a divine mission-- too strong a phrase--should've just said a 24-7 job. Sorry if it came off judgmental. Through the years, my sister-friends and I sometimes give each other the "remember who you are" talk to remind each other to take the alone time that we so easily give up. Take care.