Just One More Minute

bed

I slept in this morning. I typically get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, weekdays and weekends, but there are some mornings when I just don’t want to get up, and I don’t have to, so I sleep in. All I have to do is say to Eric, “I’m staying in,” and he turns off the light, hustles the dogs out, takes care of their breakfast and Dexter’s medicine for me. When they are done eating, Sam (the baby of the family, but maybe the laziest of us all) comes back and gets in with me. This, the comfort of a dog sleeping next to me, makes it even easier to drift back to sleep, to stay in.

From time to time I wake up, always thinking to myself “just a few more minutes.” It’s so cozy and nice, and I don’t really have anywhere else I have to be right now. This “just a few more minutes” typically becomes at least two extra hours of sleep. On days like this, I’ll tease Eric if he takes a nap, saying I already took mine.

After I got up, I was thinking about this “just a few more minutes.” I was thinking about all the other places this manifests. I remember every kid I’ve ever known begging for a few more minutes of play, just one more half hour of TV, just one more book, just one more cookie. I was thinking of the other ways it comes up for me, just one more bite, just one more page, just one more mile, just one more episode of whatever show is on HGTV as I ride the elliptical at the gym, just one more day. Grief arises as I think of those I’ve lost, how we both wished for more time, another day, another moment, just a few more minutes here together, how those lives were over too soon, how there was so much more living and loving to do, how hard I prayed that they be given more time, how angry and hurt I still am that it was denied.

fieldofgrass

This is where we live our lives, in these few minutes. If we are lucky, we have a succession of them, minute after minute, moment after moment, but our experience is only in this single, small measure of time. One breath, one beat of the heart, one flash of experience, one chance, one kind act, one moment of connection and compassion. We long for there to be another that follows it, but the wisdom that lives deep in our soft animal belly knows that we must savor this one, the one just now, to squeeze everything out of it we can, to really see it, to notice, to open our heart to it, because this is all we can be sure of. In this moment, we can know that we are here, we can be here, brave and open and vulnerable and tenderhearted.

What do you plan to do with your one minute, kind and gentle reader?

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~From Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day

10 thoughts on “Just One More Minute

  1. Stacy @bklynstacy

    *sigh* Just beautiful. Also: 4:30am? Tell me more. What time do you go to bed? I know I need to start living my life in the hours before my work sucks me dry. I come home wasted, unable to do anything good for myself…. Teach me, dear friend, how to change the balance. xoxo

    Reply
    1. jillsalahub Post author

      That’s exactly it, Stacy–I have a fulltime job and most days the expectation is that I show up there at 9 am, but I also am a fulltime writer and blogger, have dogs that need a five mile walk every morning, I take a yoga class three mornings a week and work out with a trainer two mornings a week, I have a mostly daily meditation practice, and am usually taking at least one ecourse (I’m in three right now, a teaching assistant in one of them), and I just don’t have the energy after my paid work to do any of that, so I have to do it before work, before 9 am. I took the advice from various places to “get up a half hour earlier,” but when I added up all the things I wanted to do, that got really early/earlier. I try to be in bed by 8 or 8:30, typically read or play on my ipod for about 15 minutes before I go sleep, but it can vary–some nights I’m so tired I hit the hay at 7-7:30 pm, and some nights I’m not asleep until close to 9:30 (but I pay for that last one). The key for me is the going to bed early (with essentially two fulltime jobs, paid work and heart’s work, I don’t have much of a social life anyway), which means getting everyone on the same schedule, and having a consistent schedule, not breaking the routine if I can help it. Also key for me are getting enough exercise so my body is relaxed and tired, mindfulness practices so my mind is relaxed and calm, and I gave up alcohol this year, (wish I could give up sugar too, but that’s a massive struggle right there). Wishing you some early, restful nights 🙂

      Reply
      1. slm1711

        Love hearing all that, thank you. I had been getting up at 6am, 5:45 during my holiday break and for a week or so after, but I just had two weeks of West Coast travel and am having an impossible time getting back on the flip side. And my son doesn’t go to bed until 9, to sleep until 30min after, and so…. I think maybe 5:30 may be the best I can do. Thanks for the tips and wisdom and inspiration!

      2. jillsalahub Post author

        I think having kids changes everything, Stacy. And everyone has to find the thing that works specifically for them, is right for them, otherwise it won’t stick, or it will but you’ll have to bully and push yourself to it, and that’s no good.

  2. Dana

    Honest and well written. Thank you for the inspiration. I envy you your schedule. At the moment I can’t seem to make it up before 6, but I keep working for 5. I’m teaching at night, which makes it difficult to get to turn in earlier than 10 or so. For now I make the most of the time I do have. 🙂

    Reply
  3. eviegwatts

    I nursed my broken heart back to something that feels whole, nursed my dad through the death of his lovely wife, packed up my home , drove 1300 miles and helped my mom move from one assisted living space to another acting as her memory for 10 days. As I left DC I kept thinking and saying to a few who asked about my plans, “I’m going back to start my life again”. And finally resting with nothing that has to get done tomorrow, no one to take care of, I read this and feel so grateful to have had these “just few more” days with both my parents, even just few more tears getting to know my heart. I have such a sense of well being having taken and given just a little more time.

    Reply

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