Breathing holes in a too-busy day



"She called them breathing holes," my boss said, speaking of his wife. "It's the only way she could get through the days when our kids were small."

I sat in the office with this man: a minister and one of the kindest people I've ever met. We'd gotten into the subject of raising kids. My son was two-year's old at the time, an age notorious for jelly-fishing on the floor daily. In addition, I had two part-time jobs and was freelance writing. As an introvert, time in quiet isn't just a desire but a need. Finding time for silence daily was becoming more and more of a challenge, though.

My boss's wife too, had struggled with child rearing and introversion. "Breathing holes," it turned out were the tiny bits of time she'd found during busy days to have silence and let her mind rest. Like seals must have breathing holes to get air when underwater, introverts need these small bits of time--alone--to breathe.

For me, life has become more structured than it was these years ago, but my need for breathing holes has not gone away. Take yesterday for instance: I was gone all day on Saturday and yesterday, Sunday, was spent making our traditional big breakfast of pancakes and waffles, attending church, and afterward a special luncheon. My son and I had less than an hour at home before heading back out for a vegan cooking class that I'd signed us up for. (I hadn't known that the two events happened the same afternoon.)

In that short hour at home between events, I made myself a cup of coffee and took a book upstairs. It was only 10 minutes, so I almost skipped it. I'm so glad that I didn't. It was utterly refreshing.

I tend to bookend my days with quiet: I start with my morning quiet time, and if I'm able, end with reading in bed before falling asleep. If it's a day that I'm home, I also love to sit with my coffee and a book after lunch for 15 minutes or so. These things ground me and help me to recharge for the rest of the day.

What are your breathing holes? How do you make time to refresh your spirit on busy days? 


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