I am realising of late that I live a life where it is often hard to find time to do the things which most nurture my self. In particular, creative pursuits such as art-making, photography, writing, singing, playing music. All of which energise and inspire me. Some in which I am formerly trained and are a source of income; yet I all too frequently struggle to justify their part in my life, as a single mother of two young children.
Lately I've been challenging the semantics of my dilemma. I have decided that time is not something I must mysteriously find, but something I must make. It seems there is never enough time to even cover the essentials in each day, so the idea of somehow finding more time felt flawed from the start. Making time however, both acknowledges this reality and offers an opportunity. Making time is a recognition that there are limits, decisions and a hierarchical structure to how we choose to spend the precious moments of our days.
Making time implies choice and the decision to prioritise;
what I value
what I require
what can be eliminated altogether
Over the last few months I have done a great deal of assessing of how I spend my time. I've read of others undertaking assessments of their own priorities, often described as 'life audits'. In a way I am undertaking the same process but with quite a specific goal; to increase my time for creativity in a life often overwhelmed with practicalities.
Case in point: I am choosing to write this now while my son is sleeping, ignoring the generous pile of dishes in my sink and the fact that if I do not vacuum soon I won't know the colour of our carpet. Choices, priorities. Somehow the dishes will still get done, they always do. Practicalities always reach the top of the list (when there are no more spoons, or we've run out of pasta bowls). Creative pursuits can linger towards the end of such lists indefinitely; particularly for creative women.
As I am practicing this conscious act of making time my two poets are adjusting to my choice to create in our home, rather than solely maintaining our home. As this becomes a part of our routine they seem inspired by seeing me creating rather than endlessly managing things.
I have come to realise my passivity in hoping I would find time. Waiting for that magical moment to arrive like a rare bird landing in my hand. Making time invites self-assessment, ownership and action.
“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you'd better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you'll never understand what it's saying.”
[Sarah Dessen Just Listen]
I am making the time to listen. I have been missing the sound of my heart skipping a beat amidst a creative moment. I want to make opportunities for such moments to occur again a priority.
Earlier I mentioned writing this while my son was sleeping... that was some days ago now. I have had to make time when I can, to put these thoughts down over d a y s... but in choosing to prioritise this, each time I do, it is easier. Thoughts, words and images are again threading together. I am doing what I can with the little time and resources I can access. At times these are little more than a blog post and the camera on my iPhone. I am 'starting somewhere' with what I have on hand. Funnily enough, I note that I also made the time for those dishes, the vacuuming and a number of other big household jobs I have been wanting to get around to but seemingly couldn't find the time.
Sunday was spent by a mountain stream, tracing the journey of a leaf as it moved through the water. Watching its bright, delicate form at times lifted by the current, moving along rapidly, then caught by rocks, slowly pushing through, sinking, then sailing again. An apt metaphor for my striving to make enough time to maintain the creative f l o w...
“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.”