Time for myself.
It just took me a couple of seconds to type those three little words for a great big thought, a huge longing, and a very complex set of possibilities.
What do I want “time for myself” for? What is the longing for and what are the possibilities about?
It’s been about ten minutes since I took those few seconds to type “Time for myself.” and I’ve filled those minutes with questions and more thoughts about what this special time is for.
Do I “take” time for myself? Do I ask for time for myself? Do I give myself time for myself?
How much time for myself do I need? If I don’t get time for myself what happens to me?
What is my time?
Most of my time is for duty, obligation, necessity, common sense, habit and survival.
Time for myself is about the extraordinary and the exceptional, even the exotic.
Time for myself is about freedom…freedom to indulge and freedom to develop.
I find time for myself to be fulfilling, deeply fulfilling, whether it is about indulgence or development, requires forethought, planning and focus. A whim or impulse here and there can be a sweet surprise but intentional time, designed time is truly nourishing.
I also must share my struggle with the shadows of not taking time for myself. I have felt such guilt and shame and grief over my stillborn dreams of time for myself. And I have felt anger at others, at myself, at life for not giving me permission, not giving me the circumstances for time for myself. And I have let opportunities slip by.
My Time for Distraction
I also realize that distraction is not time for myself. It’s time away from myself. I believe in distraction. It is the necessary breather. Sure, distraction can be an avoider, but most of the time distraction is a rest and renewal that let’s me get back on task. I’ve spent years feeling I was weak and undisciplined if I didn’t maintain focus and attention. I no longer have distraction guilt. I need distraction and use it elegantly enough of the time. (No one’s perfect.) But distraction is time away, not time for!
Sometimes distraction is a meandering google glide or a conversation with a friend or a sudden urge to vacuum the living room. Once I stopped buying into the “distraction is a diagnosis” beliefs of our times, and realized that for me I distract when I get over-stimulated by my work and need to have a break to come back to center. Breaks can be productive or silly, as long as they restore me to a state of balance and equanimity so I can return to my work.
How do you feel about distraction?
Time for Myself as Conscious Indulgence
Indulgence is about pleasure and delight. It is about the senses, getting lost in touch or sound, taste or sight. I love having things done to me…a pedicure, a massage. It is about going beyond necessity.
Everyday I take a bath, which is an indulgence, it is also a habit and a necessity (I do need to get clean, however a shower would be quicker.) but the everyday bath is not a conscious indulgence, it is a routine indulgence. To make it conscious, I would need to set the mood, delight my senses in beautiful ways…scents, candles, music, a special towel, a glass of wine. It would be an art, well-designed. And I would surrender to the reality as much or more than I surrendered to its fantasy. I would embrace the fulfillment as I embraced the longing for fulfillment.
Then there is the wonderful conscious indulgence of nature. Time to see the all the greens, watch the clouds roll by, hear the stream trickle, watch the squirrel run through the tree and be all alone, the conscious indulgence of surrendering to nature for a time.
As I write this post, I am realizing I need to give myself time for writing a poem. I feel so nurtured when I write a poem. I think a poem at least once a week. I write a poem maybe twice a year. Do you ever take time for your poet self?
We each need to give ourselves the time to make a list of indulgences that would be time for self. And then choose the ones that we are willing to consciously design and manifest. And then we should let the others go.
When will you give yourself the time to consider your well-deserved conscious indulgences?
Time for Myself as Conscious Development
Development awakens and refines talents in areas that you find stimulating and soothing. You feel more alive and more like the you you want to be inwardly to yourself and appear outwardly to others. Usually you seek this development through learning and practicing.
And what are your motives for development? You have need to excel and win or perfect and prove your worth. Or you want to feel better, do better, or know better. You want to expand, deepen, enliven, enrich or express yourself intellectually, creatively, practically, spiritually or morally. You want to heal and become whole, You want to be free and in the moment of your experience. You want to be empowered gracefully.
With development you take time for yourself to read books/blogs, take courses, attend retreats, establish practices (from knitting, to running to gardening to opera to meditation) and these stretch you beyond pleasure. You seek out teachers, therapists, coaches, mentors, spiritual paths and leaders. You have deep conversations. You experience what you have longed for and dreamed about. You also form a right relationship to limitations.
Conscious development is about becoming more you. Give yourself time to become yourself.
How do you imagine your conscious development? Take some time for yourself and this question.
Indulgence or Development?
I write these thoughts as an act of my own conscious development. When I chose this topic, I didn’t have very clear thoughts on “time for myself.” In writing these paragraphs over a few days, I’ve gotten clearer, but I have also awakened many more questions. Conscious development is an unending journey.
Conscious indulgence is an event, not an unending journey.
Conscious indulgence offers pleasure. Conscious development will be painful, work, and full of devotion. Be passionate about both.
Need help with shaping time for yourself? Book yourself 20 complimentary minutes with me and we will work miracles and get very practical:
My related blog post on self-comforting.