A Room of One’s Own, a book by British author Virginia Woolf, (1882-1941), was published in 1929. It is generally seen as a feminist text and argues for a place for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by men.
But the secondary theme of the book is that a woman must have money and a literal room of her own if she is to write fiction. She notes that women of her day had been kept from writing because of their relative poverty, and that financial freedom would allow women the opportunity to write. To have a room of one’s own was out of the question, Woolf said, unless a woman’s parents were exceptionally rich or very noble.
Things have changed by leaps and bounds since 1929, but I believe that having a “room of one’s own” nowadays means having solitary time to do things needed for self-fulfillment, be it time to sew, bake a pie, read a book, plant a garden, write, work on a project or just “be,” that is, to think, daydream, meditate, pray, watch a sunrise or sunset. Or surf the Internet! We all need undisturbed time for ourselves.
Your “room” might be your bedroom, or the forest, or the fields, the beach, your garden, a café. It is as individual as the woman herself.
You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know who your friends are.
You don’t know what your owe anybody.
You don’t know what anyone owes you.
This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.
This is a place of creative incubation. At first you might find that nothing happens there.
But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen!!
(If you happen to know the source of these words, please let me know so I can give credit)
If you are having trouble finding time for yourself, here are some ideas to get started:
Get away from the phone and Internet. Prevent “staying connected.”
Wake up an hour early. Spend that time focusing on yourself.
Have a closed door policy for yourself; hang up the Do Not Disturb sign.
Read. This is a way to enjoy your own solitude.
Running or Walking. Use your exercise time as your being alone time.
Turn off the television. Enough said!
Meditate. Spend a few minutes just focusing on your breathing. Shift all your awareness into your breathing, the muscles in your body or the various sensations around you. Meditation can help you appreciate silence.
Park the Car. If your house is busy, park your car somewhere quiet after work or any time during the day. This can guarantee you some alone time to think, read or plan out your goals.
Set Aside Interaction Time. It’s better to toggle between meditative solitude and complete social engagement than to be constantly half-engaged, half-detached in either. Set aside time to completely focus on family or friends.
Start a Hobby. Work on a creative activity in your spare time. With increasingly busy lives, hobbies are starting to disappear. But a creative pastime can allow you to explore all those creative ideas you can’t pursue at work.
Chores. Focus on yourself when doing chores. Cooking, cleaning, washing or errands can become activities that center you throughout the day.
Five Minute Thought Breaks. The next time you feel the urge to check your e-mail, spend five minutes just thinking instead.
Stop the Music. I love listening to music. But silence can be better for focusing your thoughts. Turning off the iPod or radio for a few minutes during your commute can give you a chance to think.
Redesign Your Life. Alone time can be your chance to redesign the elements of your life. When you’re constantly connected and trying to interact, you don’t have time to evaluate those connections.
Somewhere I read this about solitude: “If you want to combat loneliness in your own life, become a master of solitude. If you aren’t fully comfortable being by yourself, you’ll never be able to truly connect with other people."
What about you? What is your way of creating a room of your own?