Hola gorgeous Goddesses,

Whenever I can, I answer an Ask Goddess Leonie question. To get your question answered, just add your question here.

A sweet and shining goddess asked this question:

Would you consider sharing some ways you focus on cave time?

I talk about having “cave-time” quite a lot… and it’s become even more important for me since becoming pregnant. I think we all need cave time – as women, and as souls, wherever we are on our journeys.

First of all… what is cave time?

When I was a kid, I did a whole lot of cave time – I’d go out into the world to go to school, then come back home and need some solitude to get back to my core again. I was a bit of a sensitive kidling {as I think we mostly all are} – I didn’t really enjoy too many outside connections, found it hard to make friends (I just wasn’t that interested) and would feel overstimulated when I wasn’t at home. I needed some of my own cave time at home everyday. My cave time meant reading piles of fiction books (Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl) , sitting in trees and spending a lot of time with my German Shepherd best friend Clancy, and my horses Dawn & Rebble.

When I went to boarding school when I was 16, I was in a dormitory of 20 other girls – we didn’t have rooms, we had dividers. Holy energy overload batman! I found cave time again by making my own little divided space a sanctuary of my own artwork, photographs, quotes and beautiful things. I’d escape back home to the farm whenever I could to eat hot bread with mum, sleep and be out amongst nature again, away from everyone else. It was like coming back home to myself.

I didn’t have a name for what I was doing – I just did it instinctually.

The Medicine Wheel

I first heard the words “cave time” in my first women’s circles. Finally – a name for that Thing I Knew.

I was taught this:

In the Native American spiritual tradition, the Medicine Wheel teaches us the four directions of life.

North – the place of earth – where we learn to walk our talk out in the world, supported by our ancestors.

East – the place of air – where the new day is born. It is the place of inspiration and new ideas.

South – the place of fire – the place of passion, energy, fertility. The hot summer of the wheel.

West – the place of sea – the place of introspection.

With each circle of the medicine wheel – where we walk our talk, gather new ideas and bring them to fruition, we return to the West, to go into our caves.

When you know it’s time to go to the Cave

Once I learned the teachings of the Medicine Wheel, those feelings & knowings that had always been inside me made sense. And as I began walking the Medicine Wheel within those circles, I learned how each direction felt. I’m a soul who loves to share and be out in the world, connecting & gaining inspiration. But after a while, my spirit begins to feel as though it has been out in the sun for too long. A little bit of soul sunburn maybe? hee hee hee!

How do you know when it’s time to go to the cave?

You might have feelings of rawness, or soul sunburn. You might be taking on too much of other people’s energy/story/worries. You might feel like you’ve forgotten your soul’s own song and that you’ve been listening to others too much. You might feel exhausted and depleted, with nothing left to give to others or yourself. You know you’ve reached Cave Time when all you want to do is pull the blanket over your head, and hide out in bed for a while.

When I have those feelings of soul sunburn, I know it is time to gather my bundle, and head West again… to find my cave, to sit in silence, to be introspective, and feed myself first.

Then… when the time is right, and I feel restored in my soul, I feel the callings to walk North again. After time in the West, North feels like remembering how to walk my talk and stay in my own spirit.

How can you do cave time?

Cave time is a way of honouring your body and soul’s need to not be “out there” in the world permanently – and a way of remembering your own spirit, essence and wisdom.

I’m not a girl who does 100% retreats – the idea appeals to me, but if I waited for the time/energy/opportunity to do a silent, solitary retreat for three days, it just wouldn’t happen.

Instead, I do cave time intuitively, instinctually and as simply as I can. Usually it involves not answering calls, taking a few days away from answering emails, not doing any “shoulds”, staying at home, not reading websites and just being quiet.

Here’s some ways you can “do” cave time:

  • Give yourself a break from answering phone calls. Or let the phone go to answering machine, and only pick up if you really want to talk.
  • Put an autoresponder on your email explaining you are on retreat and will answer emails in a week (or however long you need).
  • Only watch TV that you know will be nourishing to you – watch inspiring documentaries, hilarious comedies or spiritual movies.
  • Stop reading other people’s websites. This is a big one. Stay in your own energy for a while.
  • Have a total media break.
  • Book in HOLIDAY on your calendar for at least a day. This means you can’t schedule anything in on those days.
  • Baths. Quiet time. Sitting in the sun. Meditation.
  • Feel free to not contact anyone at all. Maybe you’ll still want to contact your small circle of friends. Maybe there will be a circle of people you don’t want to contact at all. Honour what you need.
  • Read, write, journal, paint – but not for outside consumption. Just for you.
  • Give yourself a big permission slip to not care what other people think or feel right now.
  • Have what my love likes to call “LBWs” (Lazy Bastard Weekends). LBWs are sumptuous and fun. The rules: Do only what is lazy.
  • Close off as many outside connections as you can to replenish your own energy, and remember your own gifts.

But how do you actually make time for the cave?

Making Cave Time a cycle for you

I forgot about Cave Time earlier this year and had the suckiest of burnouts.

And then I remembered: There are four directions. Instinctually, I need to honour that a quarter of my time needs to be spent in varying degrees to the West.

How I make this a reality is that every month, I have a week where I don’t take appointments. I go to my cubicle job, but I don’t make a crazy to-do list outside of that. I don’t do coaching calls that week, and I don’t do too much work that requires me to give out too much energy into the world. I just get to sit and breathe and look at my journey from the safety, gentleness and protection of my cave again.

Here’s some ways you can make Cave Time part of your cycle:

  • Do Switch Off Sunday on weeks that you can.
  • Make it a priority. Repeat after me: Burnout sucks. I will not go there.
  • Have a LBW at the turn of each season.
  • Can you somehow incorporate some cave-time for 25% of your time – a day and a bit each week, or a week each month?

I so hope this helps you sweet soul…

brontosaurus-sized hugs,