“Transparent butterfly” by Thefost via flickr

Lying Fallow

l’m caught up in this conundrum: Like a dog chasing its tail, round & round l go. With a little research, l find that I’m not the only one who wrestles with the duality of meeting social expectations and the honoring my own need for the solitude that allows me to gather the energy essential for growth. With regard to biology, living things have a period in which they appear to be doing absolutely nothing, followed by a tremendous burst in development: butterflies & moths, zygotes, sown seeds …yet, socially, extended periods of solitude are, at best, mildly discouraged, and, at worst pathologized.

How, then, do those of us who do work (paid or unpaid) that requires rumination, reflection, and introspection, do that work without abandoning our friends & loved ones? Without making them worry about us? How do we let them know that they are important to us (and they are), and that our need to lie fallow is not a personal rejection? And how do we justify our “me time” in a society that strongly rewards extroversion, and encourages constant contact and sharing of every aspect of our lives? That expects us to always be plugged in, tuned in, and turned up? It’s not easy, but I’m learning that it’s actually pretty simple.

The older l get, the less l care about other people’s opinions of me. That sounds flippant, but I don’t mean it to be. l just have done enough living, and am self-responsible enough to consider myself more of an expert on ME than anyone else. So, while I do solicit the perspectives of people whose input I value, at day’s end, I, alone, am responsible for what I do (or don’t do) with my life, my time, my skills, my knowledge, my talent, and my resources. And if becoming the best butterfly, the best moth, yielding the best crop, or birthing the most important creation of my entire life depends on my ability to cultivate a quiet space for myself, the choice to do so is clear.

All we need now is the “how.” Suggestions:

Get up a little earlier, go to bed a little later, spend less time on social media, say “no” more often, turn off the phone (& the TV), put the children to bed, take a walk outside without headphones, take a drive without the radio on, eat lunch alone, write or draw something, just for you.

We all have little pockets of time that we fill with randomness… What would happen if, today, you emptied just one of those pockets, and resolved that the only things allowed to take space there are things that you place there On Purpose?