When I was a kid, I loved hearing about Nomadic people and how their first temples and earliest dojos, places to practice, worship, or just hang out and rest for a bit were clearings. It could be an oasis, or clearing by a grove. Only second to the safety and focus potential of the cave. Life was spent moving, and whenever they happened upon a small group of trees maybe next to a clearing, well… looks like that’s where they’re gonna settle for a bit. This is when they’d take care of themselves. Rest, exercise, cook, dance, sleep, I don’t know, just do whatever their crew does. Places to hang things, make shelter, there’s shade, flat ground, protection… Maybe some fruit??? I don’t know what they did… I just knew It made sense. Find your grove, find the clearing, make it a safe place to handle your business. 

This is not the case anymore, in the literal sense. However, I’ve used this “grove mentality” my whole life. The common thread through all of the communities I serve is, BUSY BUSY BUSY CHAOS BUSY BUSY…   from kids, to athletes, to actors. (I should’ve said, “from adolescents, to athletes, to actors…” alliteration always amazes, but I missed my moment)  To find the time to practice skill building is pretty tough. Our days are mostly to-do lists.  The simple act of trying to get across town is a job in itself. So where are our groves?

The clearings are now time. GROVES OF TIME ime ime ime …

Through the forrest of endless activities, obligations, and duties.  When does this let up? Where is the Grove??? It may not be in a quiet peaceful shaded space, it may just be at a cafe. What are the things we have to practice?

Honestly, when we get a little time… Most of us just practice our phones in our groves. I think we all got the hang of our phones.

I’ve found myself saying “oh, wow, I have a new message on Facebook.” I’ll literally stop doing something productive to check it… so far the most important message I’ve received is, “What’s up bro, miss you” Honestly, I could have waited to receive that. It was nice to feel missed, but after about 4 years of receiving news of that level. I realized that ,in my groves, I’ll stay the course and keep to either writing, breathing, music, or exercise.

If time spent in your grove is:

Checking Facebook: You may just end up feeling lonely, and thinking, “wow, is the whole world hiking or at a cookout all the time???” Or you’ll have to scroll through news that really won’t “make your jaw drop” and you “WILL believe what just happened.” If you keep it up even more, you might just desensitize yourself to the cuteness of kittens, as you become afraid that the world is about to erupt into a racial jihad on a dry lakebed all secretly funded by our government and there’s nothing you can do about it other than get ready by using a steroid substitute that’s putting health clubs out of business.

Checking Instagram: May just kill your attention span as you find yourself not being able to read words unless they’re captions, or tuning out after 15 seconds of anything. The magic of life always happens at least 16 seconds in.

Checking Pinterest: You may still just wonder, “what the hell is this site for? I don’t want a f&#!ing wedding dress…”

Craigslist/Ebay: Oh wow I could use more of those. That one’s hard to find, I better get it now!!!

Texting: You might just miss out on the person next to you… I know that sounds cliche, but some of my best friends still to this day were met by just saying hello, and being interested.

These groves of time can happen out of nowhere, or we can schedule them in. I like the little surprises, I like the last minute cancellations. It can help take the sting out of feeling that we’re “wasting precious time.” When we’re as busy as we tend to be, especially in cities.

We sometimes feel our time is so precious, to a fault.

No it’s really not. No offense… Most of us are not saving any lives. Honestly, if most of us just stopped doing what we’re doing, no one’s gonna notice past our lanlords or lovers. Yeah we gotta make rent, yeah we have responsibilities. If we have families, love them and provide, but don’t fool yourself.

Having something you want to practice is key, if you feel like you have to practice it, it’s a chore. When we find that skill to build. The work builds our energy and interest, it brings levity to labor, and not just physical, and not just mental, balance yourself out… mind body spirit.

This is why I’m not discussing just sports. Diversify!!!

Can you do it without a bunch of organization? Ex:

If you like to play soccer:  Are you anywhere near a field with a ball and some friends?  (yes you can practice footwork and stuff… touché… do you have a ball?)

If you like to hike:  Are you near a park, or are you cool with walking around? Nothing wrong with taking a walk… clears the mind, good for you… right on.

Finding yourself stuck at a cafe for another hour as your guest is on a bridge behind a 3 car pile up, it’s nice to have something other than Karate to practice, and that’s a hell of a lot easier than organizing a soccer game… This may be good time to write, as opposed to needing to find the closest Dojo-like facility… maybe some sudoku, get your mind strong. Drawing, knitting, something quiet… or you’re in a park, you got an hour, do some push ups, yoga, I don’t know, something… Find a skill that you’d like to build and practice it. Do the reps, find the groves.