When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me. I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own. So come on in, grab a cuppa, and let’s converse!
When do you find your inspiration? Is it easier for you when you’re busily moving from one activity to another, or do you need a mellower pace?
It’s been an interesting week, here in my world. My sleep schedule has been erratic, with two or three days where I only napped for two to three hours, once a day (it might even have been as many as four; the division between days got a little blurry and indistinct).
The children, both in phases of intense growth, have been quieter, more in their own spaces, occupied with their own projects. That gave me the unexpected gift of a stretch of time where my own thoughts and feelings could roll out, without interruptions, and new connections could be made.
I’m not saying that these are complete thoughts, but there is a feel of coming epiphany about them, a promise that, if I give them the time, space, and attention that they need to grow to maturity, I’ll have a new and deeper understanding of my own life.
Today, I’m thinking about time, and timing.
I’m blessed to live a life that flows along with its own rhythms, the way I described above, rather than being ruled by a clock. It’s one of the biggest personal benefits of unschooling to me – I can honor my own and my children’s changing sleep-wake cycles, as well as my Accomplice’s more stable, work-oriented rhythms.
I haven’t always had this luxury. Until my daughter was about two years old, I worked part-time at a small local day care. I loved the work, and I loved the children even more. But it required me to rise in the early morning hours, work until early afternoon, then hurry home so that my Accomplice could go off to work. I’d spend my afternoon and evening caring for my toddler and preschool-age child and in housework, then have an hour or two with my Accomplice before I collapsed into bed only a few hours before I needed to rise and do it all again.
I was generally exhausted, especially during the times I had a nursling. I tend to have difficulty sleeping when I know I need to be up and moving in the early-morning hours, so I was chronically sleep-deprived,
As you might imagine, that schedule left little time for personal endeavors, and even less for long and wandering musings.
Maybe that’s why I made the connection:
My life is better when I focus on timing than it was when I was focused on time.
A hyper-scheduled life doesn’t give me the space and environment I need to spend in my own mind. I ‘m the introspective type. I’m never as happy when I can’t delve into the ideas that swirl in my mind; things gather and things get cluttered, distracting me because I don’t have the time to attend to them.
And when I can’t do that – I get cranky. Impatient. Less pleasant to live with, and less able to find the lovely amidst the chaos.
All those things add up to not feeling peaceful, not being able to see possibilities, not being able to easily adjust to the changing landscape of my life. I have less int4erest in connecting with anyone, even my Accomplice and the children.
For me, timing is the thing.
I have creative surges (and, often, corresponding nighttime wakefulness) at the new and full moons. If I ‘m on a tight schedule, I won’t be able to give myself to those surges the way I can when my life is a matter of flow.
The wellspring of my personal peace comes from this creativity. A large part of that is my writing, of course, but it goes far beyond that.
It takes creativity, to resolve the tangled places that come with being a family, or being of modest means, or any number of other areas. I can make a more peaceful life for all of us, from these surges. I can reach out to you, and the world, with the ideas born in these times.
I may not always have this freedom to allow my life to flow as it will. I can’t know right now what the future will hold; clocks might become more important in my life for any number of reasons.
But, even then, I will try to remember this, and build in time I will hold sacred for my creativity, for sinking deeply into my own thoughts, and letting thoughts and feelings arise as they will, because I’m a better and happier person when I allow myself this time.