There’s a wildfire nearby called the “Midnight Fire.” It is about 15 miles or so from the ranch. Because of other wildfires in New Mexico, most of the trails have been closed since May. The closest town is 42 minutes away (according to Google Maps). My options for activities are limited, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
With limited activities, there are fewer things to distract me. My time has been focused on reading, reflection, ruminating, and writing. In my day-to-day life, I don’t always have time to focus on some of the more important R’s of life.
I find it far easier to focus on the tasks that are urgent and not important, and hope I find time for the non-urgent and important tasks. (For more information on this, see this: https://todoist.com/productivity-methods/eisenhower-matrix). If I allow it, life becomes about putting out fires or greasing the squeaky wheel. Sometimes an urgent and important task calls for focused attention, which has to be addressed, but most of the day is filled with urgent/non-important and non-urgent/non-important tasks.
Those activities that are non-urgent yet important activities are what strengthen the core of who we are. Reading/listening to audiobooks falls into this category. We can access wisdom from the ages. Scripture strengthens our soul and faith. Spiritual Masters (ancient and contemporary) give us best practices for deepening our relationship with God. Contemporary authors who can explain concepts help us navigate an ever-changing world.
Spending time with these individuals doesn’t cost too much. Perhaps $20 for a book and an investment of time. Many classic works are available free on the Internet.
The challenge isn’t with accessing resources. The challenge is to not allow the non-urgent/not-important and the urgent/not-import to not fill up our time. Yet, that is exactly what happens. We may try to plan our day, but at some point, the day gets filled, and we might not even know how. We go from task to task, conversation to conversation, activity to activity, and at the end of the day, we are spent and empty.
While we can’t always stop the urgent/non-important tasks from showing up, we can make sure we take time for what is non-urgent/important such as reading, reflecting, etc. I would throw prayer into this mix as well. Not the “Please help me here…” kind of prayer, but prayer that can be described as “being with God.”
Because there are so few things here to distract me, I’ve been able to spend time on important but non-urgent activities.
While this is great for a sabbatical, the challenge is, “How do we cultivate time for the non-urgent yet important tasks and activities in our normal day-to-day living?” In other words, how do we schedule time for what feeds our souls?
I hope, given this gift of time away, I can figure that out, but it isn’t really about figuring anything out, it is simply about carving time out of a day where the important/non-urgent can be a priority.
As of today, the Midnight Fire continues to grow. Last I heard, there was 0% containment. I hope by the time you read this, the fire is out, and no structures or lives lost.