You might be wondering what creating space has to do with this week’s topic of energy. The Quote of the Day is the stimulus for today’s topic. Eckhart Tolle suggests we find thirty seconds of space in our day and I think he’s exactly right. Creating even that tiny amount of space in our day, giving ourselves a moment in time to experience the world around us is a gift we can give ourselves.
For five years, I commuted fifty-five miles each way from the UTSA campus to our home outside of New Braunfels, Texas. There were many reasons we decided to live that far away from my work and while, at the end of five years, when I moved to UT Austin, I no longer wanted to do that, there were some positive aspects to the long commute. I listened to and enjoyed a variety of podcasts. I had time to think about the day to come before anyone could grab my attention with their topic. Conversely, I had time to process whatever happened during the day on the trip home. While most of my drive was along major roadways, there were still long open stretches allowing me to watch the changing seasons, subtle though they may be in Central Texas. Now that I work from home, my commute from the back to the front of the house doesn’t provide such an opportunity.
Many, probably most, of you don’t usually commute two to three hours a day. However, no matter your commute, if you are working from home you may have now realized just how important that space between work and home was for your energy levels in each place. If you haven’t yet found a way to create small bits of space in your day, I encourage you to do so. While you may not be able to recreate the alone time of your commute, think about what you can do. If you are still going to the office, the car may be the place you create space for yourself, or perhaps it’s the walk across campus, but the challenge today and every day is taking the time to notice it. We also need to help the people we work with find ways to create space for themselves in this time with so many unknowns. To mix metaphors, creating space helps us stay grounded when everything around us is topsy-turvy.
Those of you who have small children at home may be shaking your heads right now because you can’t imagine doing this and it is toughest for you, but the principle still applies. To have the energy needed to do all that is asked of us right now, we all have to create space in some way. Maybe parents can just sit for a few moments with their children – not alone time, but time to really listen to what the little people in your home want to tell you. Can you all step outside and watch the clouds together? Can you teach your children a ritual of quiet time together? Thirty seconds may be all they can manage but it’s a start. How might you create thirty seconds of space for yourself? How might you create space for the others around you?
What works for you may not work for the other people in your house or office, but I wonder how the energy in our lives could shift if we found a way for everyone to find thirty seconds in the day to “be there for just half a minute.” We’ve always needed to practice this, but many of the ways we created space, often without realizing it, have been lost as our routines were upended. It may be one of the reasons you feel off-kilter. I encourage each of us to practice creating space for ourselves and for others.
In today’s meditation, I’m going to read Kerry Lee MacLean’s book, Moody Cow Meditates. She says this in an opening note “to grown-ups”. “Most children will take naturally to meditation if you find ways to make the activity warm, welcoming, and fun. Try to follow meditation with quality time together – snuggling, playing, sipping hot chocolate – even if just for a few minutes. This daily ritual can create a peaceful ground from which kindness and wisdom can naturally grow.”