It was good to get home after being on the road for a month. After a while living out of a suitcase begins to wear on me even though I am visiting wonderful people and places. I also realized something else…a month without time for myself is far too long.
My husband and I were traveling companions, roomies and dinner partners for 30 days straight. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my husband…and I need time apart just with myself. By the end of the trip I was cranky, irritable and far from a loving traveling companion…you can ask him!
For two days after we got back I didn’t want to talk to or see anyone. And I think it might have lasted longer if I had my way.
So this was a good lesson to reinforce what I know in my heart of hearts – my body, mind and spirit need quiet, alone time in order to be at their best. And without a balance of alone, still time and interpersonal interaction I either become a nasty Nancy or a recluse.
Not only did I need alone time I needed my own space. Most of our trip consisted of hotel rooms – one room; two people. Again, I was reminded how true Virginia Woolf’s words are that a woman needs a room of her own. I am not sure what the word is to describe the feeling of space that opens up when no one else is around but, I know it when I feel it. Being a people person I am always aware of those around me, anticipating what needs to happen next or what I need to do to be graceful in their space. When I am just with myself in my own space I can let that over functioning trait of mine rest. Perhaps what opens up for me is my inner being where I can concentrate on holding only myself without taking others in as well.
I recently read an article about a study done where researchers gave the participants 15 minutes to sit quietly or to press a button that delivered a mild electric shock. Yup, sit still or experience pain – their choice. Guess what? two-thirds of men and one-fourth of women chose the button rather than sit quietly. It was reported that one person pressed the button 190 times.
Maybe I am the odd one. Maybe we really don’t want the time alone that we say we want or even crave. Maybe when faced with the choice of either keeping ourselves busy and worn out to the point of pain or sitting quietly and resting our weary bones/spirits/minds, we prefer the pain of being too busy.
Not sure I believe that though. I think we are just so conditioned to over work, over do, over function that we do not know how to just be still. We need to be taught, encouraged and supported when it comes to being alone and quiet.
What I would like to know is what led those button pushers to choose an electric shock over 15 minutes of quiet stillness? I think their answers could be very enlightening in our evolution to a more mindful, more healthy, and more productive way of living.
In the meantime I am going to continue to recommend that you take time for yourself every day – just 15 minutes – and don’t substitute the equivalent of a mild electric shock.