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Excerpted from The Gift of a Year by Mira Kirshenbaum. Copyright © 2000 by Mira Kirshenbaum. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"The point of a year is also to make something of your own a priority long enough to really make a dent in it or resolve it or complete it."

  Mira Kirshenbaum, The Gift of a Year, Part 6

Your gift of a year can be more than a year too. If you want it, you might be like many women for whom the gift of a year turned into the gift of a lifetime. Why would you stop if it feels good and it's working for you?

The point of a year is to seize hold of a large enough chunk of your life so that even when you're an old lady that chunk stands out in your memory. The point of a year is also to make something of your own a priority long enough to really make a dent in it or resolve it or complete it.

So there's nothing sacred about the exact time span of 365 days. But feeling that you're worth something like a year—that is sacred.

The Rhythm of Your Life

Working within the rhythms of time—that too is sacred. Women have a special relationship with time. Menstruation, aging, birthdays, the biological clock, the ceremonies for which we feel responsible—all these give us an unusual awareness of time. Time as something to treasure, time as a resource, time as the arena in which we live our lives.

We focus too much on time as the enemy—aging, for example. On time as the scarcest of resources—our feeling incredibly busy, for example. But more than anything we're used to flowing with the river of time. Time isn't our enemy. It's our home.

This is where the gift of a year comes in. We talk about wanting to do something before a certain age or within a certain period of time. We understand how precious a year can be, and how powerful. You can make a baby in that time. So it's natural to give ourselves a year to do something special. When you give yourself the gift of a year, you know you're working with a time-centered process that for women is the most natural thing in the world.

You've Got All the Time You Need

Sometimes when I talk about the gift of a year a woman says, "But I'm just too busy." I sympathize, I understand. We're all going nuts these days. I am bruised by the same time crunch that squeezes in on all of us, but I'm telling you that you can and will find time in your life to give yourself the gift of a year.

You'll find plenty of material later in the nuts-and-bolts part of this book about how to get more time and support for yourself. But to prove that you can do it, let me just summarize:

Why You Do Have Time to Give Yourself a Special Year

1. You'll be so excited once you discover what you want to do with your special year that you'll find time you didn't know you had.

2. Most of the things most women want to do with their special year don't take all that much time from their day or their week.

3. Yeah, you're busy, but nine out of ten women do have some free time for themselves, and I bet you do too. Just because we piss away too much of our free time doesn't mean we don't have it.

4. The problem is not that you can't find the time, it's that you haven't said no to the people who make demands on you. You don't have a time shortage, you have a saying-no-to-others shortage.

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