Tuesday, February 6, 2018

SACRED TIME

Or—
Why “I just don’t have the time” doesn’t fly

A dear friend who is an accomplished musician lamented that she has not been able to touch her instrument in ions. Life’s demands have gotten all of her time and stamina.

This reminded me of countless occasions where someone said to me, “I’d love to write,” or “I started to write,” and invariably followed with “but I couldn’t find the time.”


I used to be that person, also.

Some years ago, I realized that the only way I know to get from under this sort of loop is to think of what I want to do most for myself and what time I can practically quarantine on a regular basis, and then treat that time as sacred.


“Sacred” is not just for the religious. It means a realm not be violated for any but the few reasons I set ahead of time. Even the most orthodox Jews will break the holy Sabbath if it is a matter of life and death, but for no other reason.
I made the decision that only medical emergencies of self or family will break Sacred Time.

For me, this meant setting a reasonable amount of time five days a week for writing. I disconnect the phones, (or their ringers, anyway) and I don’t answer them-- or my door. Sorry if this seems fanatical, but to do anything with consistency, (something the world doesn’t necessarily rewards and is “just for me”) required fanaticism. I don’t apologize to anyone who knocked on my door, virtual or physical, for making that time scared.


Realistic demands, job, family care, health maintenance and communal obligations will determine how much sacred time you can allow. It can be five minutes a day (meditation, or stretching exercises) or half an hour, or many hours. Realistic self-knowledge will determine if you make it once a week, every other day, or daily. But is must be sacred if you are to live it for the long haul.


Because otherwise, the “I always wanted to but...” will become yet another relic in the half-done, once begun, couldn’t stick it out box of broken promises. Too many of these lying around everywhere, and I resolved not to add to that heap.

The key word for me was Sacred. That was many years ago, and I can vouch that it worked.

18 comments:

  1. Sacred = set apart. So true. It's easier now with older kids but oy, when they were little, I'd tell them to bother me only if there was blood involved--ah, how I miss those days sometimes. I don't think I slept.

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    1. Indeed. Everything is easier except missing little them.

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  2. I think it's basically a matter of priorities.

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    1. Always. DH says that if someone "always wanted to...," they do.

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  3. For me finding structured time to write would mean never writing. I take advantage of the five minutes here, 10 minutes there approach. It's not easy, but over the years I've been able to train myself to get into the writing mode at a moments notice.

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    1. It's worked for you. You found your own way, so it's not something you intended to do but didn't. You do! :)

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  4. Good post, Mirka. I do like considering your work as Sacred time.

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    1. The only way I was able to move from "I wish" to "I do."

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  5. As I creep up on 60, I think more and more about what I want to leave behind. My mother died at 67 and my father was just 63. So what if I go early too? The last thing I want is one of my kin saying "Well, she sure did leave us some clean toilets didn't she?" I rather stick them with a couple books of poetry. Great post Mirka.

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    1. Yes, I'd rather have your poetry than a cleaner toilet...

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  6. I hear you. Nothing happens on wishful thinking. If something is a priority, you make it happen, otherwise it's not important. At least, that's how I feel while home schooling 4 kids, and taking care of a baby.

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    1. Virtual hat's off to you, Crystal.

      And YES, if someone says, "I always wanted to, but..." I would have added, "But maybe not enough."

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  7. Great post Mirka. I protect my art time as well. And it's easier now that my kids are grown. My new motto around my house is "make art, not dinner"

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    1. :D
      Bet when you make dinner it's also artistic, Cheryl.

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  8. When I started writing and editing, I told people not to call me unless it was an emergency because while I work at home, I am in fact working. My writing time is very sacred to me. Great post, Mirka!

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    1. With all you get done, Kelly, I had no doubt you figured out you must assign sacred time and stick to it.

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  9. Having sacred time sounds like a perfect solution. When it comes to dabbling in art or music, I'm one of those who says "I've always wanted to, but..." so I certainly know where they're coming from.

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