The Exploration Hour

The Exploration hour
The Exploration Hour (c) Intentional Explorers 2017

The Exploration Hour

There is something magical about the hours when most people are asleep. Sitting in the quiet house or walking in the yard with the stars shining above you or the sun creeping up the horizon.  A magical aura hides within the silence of this time which I dubbed “The Exploration Hour”.

I discovered the Exploration Hour as a teen when I battled insomnia. I was homeschooled at the time.   One night in particular sticks out in my memory.  Late one night I had laid out my economic books all over the kitchen table, attempting to catch up on some work.  After I had been working for a while,  my older brother, who is the definition of a night owl, came to the kitchen for a midnight snack.  I was startled by him.  Startled, but not surprised to see him, as he always stayed up late.  He was very surprised by me and even more surprised that I was doing something productive. He shared his snack with me and we talked for awhile and then both went back to our projects.

That night not only did I learn about the magical fuel for the body known as cheese toast, I also learned the magical night time silence was fuel for my productivity.   I named this mentally fueling time “The Exploration Hour”

An Unexpected Find

In college I discovered that The Exploration Hour existed not just at night but also in full days.   Days when the campus was empty like on Saturday mornings while students slept in, or when most people were home on longer breaks. On these empty days the Exploration Hour was there.

I loved to stroll the campus before noon on those Saturdays and any time I got the chance to stay a day into a break or return early I would take advantage of them.  It was during these times when the silence that filled the usually busy campus called to me.  The silence wanted to be filled with my thoughts and ideas. I could read for hours during these quiet times, or think of ideas and the future.  Everything was peaceful and calm during the Exploration Hours.  They were just what I needed during a busy time in my life.

The Exploration Hour Today

The Exploration Hour is when I have done most of my soul searching and life pondering.  In fact until recently my exploration hours were the only time I let me be myself.  

Now that I have a family of my own, Exploration Hours are hard to come by. Teaching full-time and having to be at the school by 6:45 makes it hard to explore during the early part of the day.  Dinner, cleaning and prepping for the next day, not to mention trying to spend time as a family make it difficult to fit much in during the evenings and even harder to stay up into the late night.  But tonight I am here, thinking, typing, exploring.  And perhaps you are too.

When is your “Exploration Hour”? What do you during that time?

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11 Replies to “The Exploration Hour”

  1. Wow I completely relate to this but never knew of a specific word for it until now, so cool! For me this was where I grew up at 3am – silence, and yet life.

  2. SO true, the exploration hour is so important but to me as well it has been curtailed due to responsibilities of a child, home and work. You reminded me of the past few years when I looked into my soul every morning after I got up sitting in the balcony under the shades of a huge tree. That was the time I loved talking to me and only me! Shall try to get similar time back..

    1. It is so hard to find time for an Exploration Hour with a child! Especially one who doesn’t sleep well on his own. Let me know if you find any tricks for achieving a few hours of exploration time!

  3. I’ve been through different stages where different times work better for me. When I was pregnant with my second child, I discovered the concept of Two Sleeps. I could fall asleep early with my then-toddler, sleep for a while, then wake up in the middle of the night, stay awake for 2-3 hours, then sleep for an hour or two more. With two kids, it is almost impossible to get that magical time, but for me 6-7am is a the perfect time for quiet reflection, before my brain is overloaded from all the little things I have to remember in a day.

    1. I need to try the two sleep method. I think I would get more done. Little A sleeps more in the middle of the night… of course that is the only quality sleep I get so it may be hard. Great idea though!

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