We visit others as a matter of social obligation. How long has it been since we have visited with ourselves? ~ Morris Adler
There is one very important aspect of creating a solitude practice: Making time to do it.
For those living alone, solitary time is a given, but what about those who live with a partner and/or have families? It may seem an impossible feat—not to mention a frivolous luxury—to take time away from our responsibilities to those we live with (and the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and fresh laundry they require). It is possible, however.
If you share your home with one other person, you may feel that it would be eccentric, rude, or selfish to request a chunk of time for yourself.
As we’ve discussed before and will again, solitary time is helpful for everyone, so you may try offering that you and your partner reserve a bit of time to recharge your batteries.
If you do your solitude practice simultaneously, both of you will benefit without cutting into the flow of your day-to-day life together. If your partner is not interested, explain the concept of recharging your batteries, and how it’s a necessity for you in order to be the best partner you can be.
Make sure that the message gets through in a loving manner, not a defensive one. You don’t want your partner to feel unworthy of your time or blamed for your need to be alone a while. Explain that solitary time is for you, but ultimately everyone around you will feel its positive effects. It’s hard to fault that logic.
If you have a family of three or more, you may feel like there’s no possible way you could afford such time, never mind ask for it. The first step is to take a look at your existing schedule. Are there any moments in the day that can be parceled out for just you?
One of my dearest friends, and an expert at honoring her Highest Self, takes her solitary time very early in the morning before her husband and two children are awake. She makes a pot of coffee and sits at the kitchen table alone writing and staring out at the sunrise from her kitchen window. She tells me that without this little bit of quiet alone time, she’d be a wreck for the rest of the day.
Perhaps dawn works for you. It doesn’t work well for me as the mother of a young child who isn’t fond of lounging abed in the morning; I cherish my early morning sleep hours. Instead, I take my solitary time at night, after everyone has gone to bed. Or in the day, after my work is done, and while my son is at school.
If you don’t have help during the day, try these options:
- Ask your partner to watch the child(ren) while you enjoy your solitude practice.
- If you have older children, explain to them that you’re taking some time for yourself so that you’ll be a happier parent.
- Consider scheduling your solitude practice for after the kids have gone to sleep.
So, how much time can you realistically take? Since many of us with family lives have busy and erratic schedules, you can’t expect to claim an hour for yourself every day.
Even five minutes of concentrated solitary time can do wonders. The important thing is that you take whatever time you can once a day, set the intention, and claim it as your own. Alone time is to the soul what going to the gym is to the body.
It may seem difficult to make a regular commitment, but the benefits are tremendous. And solitude has one advantage over going to the gym (besides being significantly less expensive). While the gym gets your body and mind in better shape, the benefits stop there. A regular solitude practice benefits you and your family. Pretty good deal, wouldn’t you agree?
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Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: photo via aeruginosa at flickr