“I need to get away from home for a few days.” Said Helen, one weekend and booked a bus ticket to the tourist resort. After her two children have grown up and moved out of the nest, the emptiness felt heavy, like a cloud hanging over her head. And the roof-sharing with her husband of three decades seemed overbearing, both of them were running out of patience, and frequent arguments overtook their usual quiet evenings.
Although Helen was a teacher, suddenly it felt as if her whole life had been spent with home-making. Upon the advice of her friends, she knew that it was high time to indulge herself with some “Me” time. No, not another vacation with her husband, or one with other family and friends. Having space in relationships simply means one is overwhelmed by all that is going around her or him, or that they had a fall-out.For Helen, and many women like her, there never seemed to have been a time when one thought and cared for the “Me” only. It does not mean being lavish or pampering oneself with expensive clothing and jewellery, it may be a solitary walk by the lake. Walking itself is a great stress-buster, and the fresh air does wonders to the mental and physical self. There may be a heat-spell on the weather chart or snow in winter, but connecting to nature through a walk is similar to blending with life. Just a weekend away from the usual din and bustle of the daily routine can do lots of wonders. It’s like taking some deep breaths in the fresh air.
Nature is an example of giving into each other the space to grow. Have you seen those ivies that cling to tree trunks, and the tree accepting in silence? Those climbers keep reaching for higher places, take over branches, and yet, the tree stands firm in its the support of the softer plant. There is a lot to learn from nature about giving, but humans with their complex emotional and physical marches need to filter their needs all the more. In our home, the society we live in, a balanced life comes through giving. The word ‘giving’ in its broader sense does not refer to material things only, but also to allow other lives to grow side by side. The ability to ‘live and let live’ brings harmony, helps others around us to ventilate emotional turbulence, and allows stability to the physical beings.
While in its contextual meaning spacing may refer to distancing from the activities of the moment, the practice brings people closer in reality. Emotional and physical distances help in strong bonding, promotes the growth of the individuals. When Helen and her husband, facing a stressful marriage went for counselling, they were advised to take off from home and children for a vacation. And then once they were by themselves by the sea, to visit the beach alone. Being alone doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There are times when we dig into our fondest memories when left to ourselves. After such reflective moments, our home, family and other pros and cons are viewed with new perspectives.
As the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart fonder,” life has a mysterious way of working between dual forces. Night and day, joy and sorrow or sound and silence: the presence of one the bell for the other; and together they add to meanings in life. Many of us need some time for self-realisation, minds and bombarded thoughts do not leave us with time to rethink on life lessons, an important part of our wisdom to grow. We all make mistakes, but there are lessons to be learned from things that do not work out in expected ways. There are pauses to take in our life travels, a time to catch up on events that brought us to the moment. As Jasmine, a homemaker says, “For peace of the mind and the soul, we all need spaces. It could be a husband and wife, children and parents, or between friends and colleagues. The relation space is the boundary for the emotions to find their ways. There is chaos when we are too busy with all our senses.”
There is that delicate balance of our senses that also need to be nurtured thought occasional tranquillity. Quiet morning hours carry the profound songs of the day to unfold. There are times when we listen and allow the other to speak or just hold our peace and watch life sail by. Perhaps it will be one less word spoken, or one word heard from the other, but it can hold endless meaning to moments shared.
In the world of the race against time, many of us end up stressed, and have time to stand and stare up at the sky, or watch lazy clouds floating by. “Time is money,” they say, but those moments of doing nothing are essential to rest our body and soul. The need to just let the world go by for a few moments is necessary to the body which is telling you, “I am weary, give me a break and slow down.” As D H Davies has said in his poem, ‘Leisure,’What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA