Sunday, August 7, 2011


The artist, the creative spirit, the writer must have downtime, time to do nothing. Time to be alone.  Time to isolate.

In theory this sounds good, but few understand it or are willing to comply. But if they do, oh what a gift it is.  To be allowed time off.  Time to complete.  Time to do nothing. Time to clean ouT the cobwebs from our souls. For it is in this time that life is found once again and the spirit is dusted off and begins to awaken. I guess it is like slowly losing a river and then quietly sitting and waiting and then finding it  once again begins to flow.

It is a necessary freedom. Freedom from the pullings and tuggings and trappings of others wanting something now, yesterday.  The clock, email, text messages, phone calls.  "Your lack of poor planning, does not constitute an emergency on my part."  I have loved that quote dearly. I live by it.  I want it plastered on my forehead.  I am sure you have had someone call you and say I need this today or in an hour, when they have had days to ask, or tell, or better yet to do it themselves. This infuriates me and I will automatically say 'no.'

But have you ever considered that the only real way to have intimacy (not  sexual)  with another human being is based on having alone time, time off. With me it is mandatory.  Temporary freedom from dependencies allows me to not remain stuck.  Stuck in a rut, stuck in conundrums, stuck in stuff, stuck in puddles and muddles and places where I know I don't belong, nor have any desire to.

The river must flow where it will.  Not where others want it to.  So it is with people.  We are only alive when we are allowed freedom, space, and an understanding by our friends to allow us this time.

It is in this space where you find that you are able to throw out the old, the unworkable and make a pathway for the new and more suitable.  You can say, "No I won't be a doormat any longer." And an awareness of the difficult people in your life surfaces, and it is in this place you begin to grow.  Difficult people cause us to feel things we don't want to feel. 

For our warriors returning with visible and invisible wounds, this space and time is mandatory.  For it is in this place that they must give pain the time.  Time to heal, manifest itself, and come to terms with it.

Perhaps that is why our therapy and service dogs are so vital to so many returning from combat.  They ask nothing.  Their presence is neither intrusive, questioning or troublesome.  They are a simple basic security blanket. They don't give up on them.  Their moods or behaviors are never questioned.  They want to lay on the sofa and do nothing, it is okay with them.  A warrior struggling wtih chronic depression finds a sense of peace in a belly rub on his dog. And because the dog must be exercised, fed and cared for, the warrior is quite simply not allowed to wallow for too long. 

It is a beautiful story, this 'after the ouch.'  For any of us, for all of us.  We need time, time given to the pain whatever its source. 

It is a panacia.  It is the only way.  It is the right way.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! Joseph Pieper (philosopher- mid century) argued in "Leisure- the basis of Culture" that we need time doing NOTHING. He thought the "modern" world was too frenetic, and this was like, in the 1950's. Ouch.