Certainly, someone would have needed him for something. His wife, one of his thirteen kids, a courtier, the pressing business of state. But for a few minutes to an hour—sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening—Marcus Aurelius was unreachable. This was too important. The 20th century American philosopher Brand Blanshard marvels at what Marcus accomplished there in the “midnight dimness,” alone with his journal and his thoughts. It didn’t matter where he was or what was happening, Marcus stole the time to sit and think and write.
Do you? Do you take this time?
James Clear, author of the wonderful bestseller Atomic Habits, told us over on the Daily Stoic podcast that since becoming a father he has carved out “two sacred hours” in the morning to do his writing. Sometimes he gets more, but never less. Those two hours determine whether he had a good day or a wasted day, whether he was productive and making progress, or whether he was slacking.
A few minutes or a few hours, in the morning, at night or in the middle of the day, this idea of sacred time is important. You have to carve it out. You have to stick to it like clockwork, protect it like you would a doctor’s appointment or a big meeting. You need to use the stillness to be active. You need to focus, lock in—to your philosophy, to your work, to your self-examination. Of course, this isn’t the only time you’ll need. It’s just the minimum.
So make sure you give it to—or take it for—yourself. You’ll marvel at what you can accomplish in those few sacred minutes.
“Thou Shall Not Neglect Thyself” is the 8th Commandment in The Stoic Parent: 10 Commandments For Becoming A Better Parent. If you want to take your parenting to the next level, The Stoic Parent course is 10 days of the most important things that you can do to become the best parent you can be. If you struggle to carve out those few “sacred hours” for yourself, sign up for The Stoic Parent today!