A Gift for All
Quality Alone Time can recharge your batteries
and balance your life.
"Spend some time alone every day."
— the Dalai Lama
Time alone recharges every battery I pack: physical, mental, emotional and, most important, spiritual. When I lack daily quality time alone, my energy is low, I operate in robot mode, my banner of love is at half-mast, and the first songs out of my heart are the old spirituals, "It's Me, O Lord, Standing in the Need of Prayer" followed by "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
Quality Alone Time (QAT) is not noticed when missed for a day or even a couple of days, but when the days lead into weeks, I've got a problem. I am "out of sorts," which is kind of like super PMS — confusion, tiredness, grouchiness and discontent with the 99% of my life that is going right.
For some people I know, QAT means a period of meditation, the how-tos of which vary from individual to individual. The psalmist David expressed it like this, "Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in the Law he meditates day and night." Krishnamurti said, "Without laying the foundation of a righteous life, meditation becomes an escape and therefore has no value whatever." Jesus often went to a lonely place to commune with the Heavenly Father and encouraged His disciples to do likewise: "Come along with me to a quiet place." Jesus revealed to them His nature, character and ways as they turned from fishing nets and the crowds and followed him to the silent places. Meditation is the action of silence, said Krishnamurti. Our silence can give us ears to hear God and, as His followers, hearts to feel "the times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord."
Quality Alone Time can occur as we hike, do yoga, shoot hoops, garden or spend time in a rocking chair, on a swing, or puttering around — whatever helps you to put aside your list of "to dos" and quietly settles your mind. Try to get around some running water. A fountain will do if a natural source like a river, lake, hot springs or the ocean is not nearby.
Quality Alone Time may include other elements such as reading the Scriptures and other inspirational books, journaling, music or songs of gratitude and praise, writing notes of encouragement to others, and acts of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Finding Quality Alone Time is a challenge for us at all stages of life. There are seasons of our lives where we are more challenged to find even a precious few minutes of Quality Alone Time. An essential element is having enough get up and go to enjoy being with yourself.
My words to new parents are often, "This too will pass" and "Try to take long showers!" We find new challenges as our babies grow and we learn about toddler classes in everything from computers to creative play. We begin to face the challenge of busyness competing for our three-year-old and their QAT. Of course, there is a direct correlation between their busyness and our time in the chauffeur's seat. This will continue to be the case for the next 15 years or so. School activities, youth sports, music lessons, and a whole lot of other wonderful activities will vie for their involvement, and yours, on a 24/7 basis.
With the busyness of work, extended family and other commitments, those of us who are empty nesters are challenged to practice what we learned in kindergarten about crossing streets: stop, look and listen.
I see around me the challenge continues with the retired, footloose and fancy free. They, too, have only 24 hours in a day and some become so busy that they lose their balance by living overly scheduled lives, making them busier than when they worked. Others fill their days with TV and the Weather Channel, soaps and sports; some are sitting, watching life go by; other folks are golfing daily from dawn to dusk; cribbage, poker or bridge shuffle others through this stage of life. Some couples develop problems in their relationship as they no longer have the same defined periods of apartness as when at least one of the two is employed. The freedom of retirement brings the unique challenge of being alone to some, but primarily it is a challenge of choices, just like all the other stages of life.
Quality Alone Time is a pearl of great price. Cultivating it in our lives, we reap its benefit, living life at full capacity for each individual in his or her own unique way. Balance in living is achieved, bringing us to a healthy place physically, with contentment in our souls, service done through love, and peace abounding in our spirits. Our lives are enhanced as we act upon the wisdom of "Be still and know that I am God."
Michelle Detterick is director of Literacy Link-Leamos in Silver City.
Body, Mind & Spirit is a forum for sharing ideas and experiences on all aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health and on how these intersect. Readers, especially those with expertise in one or more of these disciplines, are invited to contribute and to respond. Write PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of Desert Exposure or its advertisers, and are not intended to offer specific or prescriptive medical advice. You should always consult your own health professional before adopting any treatment or beginning any new regimen.