We are a culture obsessed with time—how much we have or how little we have. We are also under the illusion that we have time to spend or save as we choose. But as the saying goes, time waits for no one. Time just is. It is there whether we are or not and whether or not we pay attention to it.
When you first contemplate the idea of a quiet corner, pay no heed to the notion that you have no time to spend there. And once you free up some space in your busy life for this venture, try not to be influenced by the notion that reserving time is enough. This time will simply disappear if not used. You must continue to find the time each time. While at first it will seem like a Herculean effort, once you begin this process you will notice that time is not what you are manipulating. It is not an outer force that you must control. With time, you will notice that it is your attitude toward time, rather than time itself, that you have been adjusting all along.
And once you admit that you might have such an attitude toward time and that it might be interfering with your growth, you will be able to see how this attitude carries over into many areas of your life and colors your particular perspective on things. How you define events and new experiences will determine whether you see them as roadblocks or opportunities. Ask yourself what a silent retreat means to you. Do you immediately balk at the idea and imagine a time of solitary confinement? Or do you see it as an opportunity to explore your inner self? What about fasting? Is this just another word for starving yourself, or is it a means to purify your body? Continue to question your attitudes, and work first on your attitude toward time. Once you adjust this and begin to spend some time in your quiet corner, you can use that time to reflect on some of your other attitudes and how they might be holding you back.
Scan your memory bank. What sorts of experiences are stored there? More than likely, you’ve probably retained those life events that are significant to you in some way. Your normal day-to-day life experiences probably don’t qualify for safekeeping. Perhaps you have certain special accomplishments and achievements stored away—graduations and awards ceremonies, competitive sports events. And that overseas trip you took with your special friend or your summer camp buddy may be locked away in your heart and mind. No doubt there’s some trauma and tragedy mixed in as well—a broken heart, the death of a loved one. While some of these memories may be painful to look at, each one changed your life in some way and carries with it a lesson about you and your world.
The time you spend in your quiet corner is likely to become significant enough that you will remember much of it years from now as quality time spent.
As you learn how to use this time, you will discover valuable information about yourself that will serve you in your everyday life. You will see yourself—the good and the bad—as never before, and you’ll learn significant, memorable lessons that will qualify for your memory bank. You might also clean house a little bit, make peace with the memories that haunt you, and get rid of those that have served their purpose. A little quiet-corner time spent each day guarantees something worth remembering.