“Would you really have given her time,
if she had asked?”
I just finished doing something I now realize was not only unorthodox in today's fast-paced world, but brave to do. Some would call it selfish. Some would call me blessed or lucky. Some would call it all about them. And some would call it stupid, wasteful, or spoiled, privileged.
It all started when someone called to ask me to take care of their wants first, before my own needs.
They are human, after all.
But so am I.
In the last five years, I have battled diseases that take away life. I survived a wildfire beyond hell. I lost family and friends by death and deceit.
Through it all, I continued to work, helping others with their needs and wants, fixing what needed fixing, giving of my time, moving forward without looking backward. I put all negative “other things” away mentally where I could deal with it “later. ”
Later built up. And then came the point where I was lying.
So while I attempted to help others, inside, I began to fear something I couldn’t even name, nor take the time to figure it out. I grew bitter. I knew things weren’t “right.” Then our Country turned volatile and unpredictable. Others needed and I was there to help, so things were done. But taking the time to listen to your own needs takes time, and I thought I had no time to spare. I ignored my voice, and by repeatedly doing so, I turned it off.
When the day came that I finally “broke,” all I had left was to listen.
“So what is your greatest fear?” I asked myself.
"Why don’t you listen to YOUR pain?”
All along it was
I never did catch my breath these last five years. Time was moving forward, and I was being dragged along, bouncing every each way; a dented tin can on a tattered rope, a ripped flag in the blustery wind, a torn cork in a vast ocean. I couldn’t reach the pause of air. No breath in between.
Time fucked me up. Every. Single.Time.
I sure wasn’t a willing participant most times. I inhaled Time and was pulled through these tragic events again and again, like a steel needle pounding through hard canvas on an old sewing machine. And others, ignoring my pain because I was ignoring it, would pull me along their tragic events too. Some were not even that tragic. Some were actually wonderful things.
But eventually, you wear out.
So it was Time.
Time does not give itself up that easily though. At the risk of losing anything, everything, I knew the what the solution was, but it sure was difficult to make a decision. “How sad,” I think now when I look back.
The answer was very simple- make the commitment to take Time off to deal with yourself.
You are worth it. I am worth it. We all are.
So I knew I had to do something. I half-halfheartedly committed at first, me being human of course, and waited for a sign. When the sign didn't come, I finally recognized it was all on me.
So when an opening of Time appeared - I TOOK it. Time was on my side.
The main reason I wasn’t here, nor there these past eight months was that I deliberately made Time for myself. Time was available, and I made a reservation.
I had a remote Montana Autumn, Winter, and Spring to myself during this time. I had the opportunity to be alone for weeks on end due to our work, just the animals and I. There was no one else, not even my faithful spouse. It was quiet.
Quiet enough that I could hear something I thought I lost forever, because “Time.”
I heard my life song again.
You who know your song know what I mean. And those of you who don’t, please seek it, listen to it, remember it, and protect it. You deserve to hear your song.
No matter what your religion, or belief system,
we all have a life song.
What is it?
It's those notes you sense in your heart that compel you to feel, react, act- always in contentment, confidence- although you know Time will change everything in the next moment.
Because it does. It always does.
It’s not a song of bitterness, resentment, or “I have to.” Your song harmonizes with Nature, the goodness of community, the cry of a new life, and of death, tears and laughter with friends and family, the sweet whispers of being loved, and most importantly, the acceptance of Time.
Even tragic Time.
We, us humans, block out our song as we age because the world can be so much louder. Our notes become lost in our fears, and our hatred. We become shells, echoing the world instead of singing our life song. If we echo fear, our notes are lost, sometimes forever. We can change that.
In the end, you may not live,
but your song will if you let it.
So I learned how to take care of myself again. I took time. I learned how to say “yes” to new ideas. I listened. I Ignored. I observed. I learned how to care about others without rushing in unless needed. I learned how to not judge quickly. I learned how to say “no” all over again.
I forgave, myself especially.
I got lost in Time. I rode horses. I shot arrows. I practiced Yoga. I worked. I traveled to the ocean, to foreign countries, to the mountains, to the desert, to home. I played with the animals and with humans, made new friends and shored up old ones. I made things with my hands; I repaired, I built. I contemplated, and I learned.
I wallowed, I hated, I grieved, I laughed, and I loved. I rested.
I am still healing.
The one thing I didn't do during this Time was record these moments, nor work on old ones. This was strange as a Writer - I didn’t “write.” I lived with Time in its moment and wrote only when necessary, a post here and there, or sometimes hastily scribbling a thought because I knew the moment was locked inside my heart for later.
I gave up the pressure to Time.
Writers know that it is a dangerous to stop writing on your projects. If you take yourself out of the loop, the concern is that you will diminish, diminish to a gray area where you may never recover as a Writer. No one cares, no one remembers in this gray area.
Not because they are awful, but of their own fears about “Time.”
It is a hard battle to write against Time. If you are burnt out, you cannot write well because the pressure is too great. Many great Writers have lost their own lives in the battle against Time, all due to pressure.
To a Writer, Time can be your enemy most days.
As it is, the Writer's world with all its vast information can cause you to compete against yourself and others constantly. Sometimes they are your own ideas that may need to be forgotten or rewritten. Or it could be having envy of other Writer's successes to the point where not only are you comparing your work to its own detriment, but other people are, and you are listening to them. Or worst of all, receiving negative feedback on work you spent years on, and not being able to move on productively from it.
You lose hope.
You lose yourself.
So when Writers are living these fears over and over- “This manuscript needs work/concept has been already done, it’s a no,” “Brilliant! But can you repeat this success?”, “If you don’t write every moment, you will fall behind deadline,” “Isn't your book done yet?”, “It takes years to get published, don’t waste time!” , we forget to listen to that song in our heart that helps us live full, and not fear Time.
As Writers, we need to be committed to working with Time, as difficult as it is, so our fears do not drown out our thoughts, our written words, our song.
If fears win, we die.
Even if you are not a Writer, it is still a brave thing to take time off to commit to yourself. Every thought, decision, action concentrated on, a question, no matter what the circumstance, or what title you carry- spouse, parent, relative, friend, co- worker. If we continue to act on bitterness, being resentful, all those titles mentioned mean nothing.
Just ask those who are hurt by it.
Taking time for yourself requires patience, and commitment- it might require going to school, learning a new skill, taking that leap of faith, taking that time to patiently wait for Time’s answer - A myriad of things.
When you open the door, opportunities don’t have to knock.
But you must first learn how to ignore diversions and those who want you to fail, consciously or subconsciously, because of THEIR fears. You must learn how to protect your song. And you recognize it takes time. Actually, it is necessary to do this, and YOU DESERVE TO DO THIS.
Repeat this again to yourself- YOU DESERVE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
And You will hear your song,
no matter what “they” say, or your status in life.
YOU DESERVE TO LIVE LIFE FULL.
I have new stories to tell,
old ones that need editing,
and some to keep inside until the Time is right.
We all do.
This Time, I hear my life song, loud and clear.