Recently I participated in Nancy Redd’s HuffPost Live interview with the cast of TLC’s Sister Wives. Producers read a momaha blog I wrote about “Sister Wives” and asked if I would be interested in posing a few questions via Skype.
I wondered what the Sister Wives would do with three hours of alone time?
Interestingly, I think they were slightly confused by the question. I guess the craziness connected to one husband, four wives, 16 children, and a reality television show, seemed to leave them unaware what “alone” might mean.
The concept of just “being” has been on my mind ever since.
I took a close friend’s children overnight so she could take it easy for 24 hours. She’s 34 weeks pregnant with her fourth child, and early contractions have her a bit concerned. She’s exhausted.
I gave her explicit instructions before I left, “Sit on the couch with your feet up. Nap. Don’t make dinner. Watch television or read. No laundry.” Yet, I knew she would probably feel the need to do a few things, because doing these chores minus small children goes seamlessly quicker.
Moms do this. I do this.
I can’t seem to shut off; simmer down; tune out.
If I garner a few moments of solitude, rather than savoring every last second, I rush around like the Tasmanian Devil getting as much accomplished before my small people return. I’m left more exhausted than I was before.
Wait… that wasn’t the goal.
As a high school counselor, you are trained to “sit with the silence.”
So often a client gets stuck and sits, uncomfortably, waiting for the counselor to ask another probing question. Sometimes he’s waiting for a reaction or opinion from the counselor. But from my experience, the best personal growth comes from allowing an individual to ruminate and find their own next question.
I once sat in a session with a 14-year-old for 30 minutes of silence. Was it uncomfortable? Sure. But she grew that day, and frankly, so did I.
Duty and commitments ravage our schedules unapologetically. We are bombarded by media and social networking. Our calendars are bursting at the seams but the days aren’t getting any longer.
How much better would I feel, internally, if I could quiet myself? How much more effective would I be, externally, if I could slow down and just breath? My guess is exponentially better.
So what would you do with three hours of free time? Shoot, how about just 20 minutes? No kids, no spouse, no responsibilities or chores- unadulterated alone time.
If you don’t know, I challenge you to try it and find out!
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