Man Cave: Of sanctuaries and retreats


(A Room Decoration and Demarcation)

It’s been said that the adult male human regularly needs some “down time” after a work day (a.k.a. Cave Time) to rejuvenate, find refreshment, recharge, gain clarity, and so on.

BUT-I doubt–a LOT–that “cave time” is truly a need reserved for the masculine of the species.

As many men will attest, females also enjoy and feel the need to retreat, and find refreshment. For some women it looks like taking a walk alone, reading a book while soaking in a bubble bath, or even not being alone–such as, sharing emotions with a trusted friend or ally.

Whatever this time looks like, it is a demarcated boundary of sanctuary, and vitally important to good mental health, and a balanced life–notwithstanding the spiritual benefits.

My husband doesn’t feel he needs a “den” or a man gym set up in the basement to get his man cave time in. He most enjoys a vigorous bike ride through the beautiful countryside on his road bike. I most like a variety of sanctuaries and refreshing conduits–both with others and without.

It’s not a weakness or a shame to realize you need space, and find your own space routinely (be it physical space, quite down time, mental respite, or beneficial time of social interaction). It is part of how we [all] live out our humanity fully, and how we are better able to best rejoin to loved ones, and others in our work or social lives in the most healthy way. If you don’t alreadly, encourage your loved ones to carve out demarcated time for this human need, as well as maintain your own. Seriously. Put in on the calendar or in your planner. It’s really that important. Be systematic so you stick with it, and keep your appointments with yourself. You will be surprised how much everyone will benefit.

Do you get the “cave time” you feel you need?

What does cave time look, or sound like for you?

Any body know Scripture that encourages ‘cave time’?

I look forward to your responses. Thanks.

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7 responses to “Man Cave: Of sanctuaries and retreats

  1. 1. Do you get the “cave time” you feel you need?
    Jesus needed it, so why wouldn’t we?
    Of course, I get time alone…with my Abba..

    2. What does cave time look, or sound like for you?
    Sometimes, it’s “Hey Chris…come with me”…and so I go and listen.
    Sometimes, it’s at a piano…
    It really depends on what HIS heart is yearning for at that moment.

    3. Any body know Scripture that encourages ‘cave time’?
    Isaiah 40:31. Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
    Psalm 91, Psalm 62:1, Psalm 33:20, Psalm 37:39.

    Not a man cave -per-say…but certainly time to refresh and renew.

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  3. “Let him who cannot be alone beware of being in community. Let him who cannot be in community beware of being alone.” – Dietrick Bonhoeffer, “Life Together”

    “It was an important day of my life when I at last understood that if Jesus needed forty days in the wilderness at one point, I very likely could use three or four.” – Dallas Willard, “The Divine Conspiracy

    Those quotes are good, but I think your blog makes an important point. In his book “The Way of the Heart,” Henri Nouwen draws a sharp distinction between “solitude” – a spiritual discipline marked by denial of self and wrestling with the demonic – and “privacy,” a time alone to rest and recharge. I agree with what (I think) you are saying: BOTH are important and we can legitimately call both “spiritual disciplines.” Sitting outside at Starbucks with coffee and a book is restorative to me in ways that few other things are, though it differs completely from sitting alone and bookless on the beach or in the South Texas desert.

    • Well put, friend.

      Good to draw the distinction, with sharper lines like you did. We agree.

      With some, (and with me in the past), I felt guilty or too flawed, to truly carve out “alone time” or “me time” which temporarily sections out others, so I can better recharge and find intimacy with God.

      I’d say, Probably the important thing is to find the balance of both “privacy” and “solitude” times. Solitude can be a struggle for many of us who’ve gotten used to “noise” and multiple levels of interaction and activity (social media, mobile phones, texting, etc). Going noise-less can seem unsettling and abnormal, but I belief the practice of it is of great import.

  4. One of my students just did a presentation on Brother Lawrence’s “Practice of the Presence of God,” in which he advocates a sort of 24/7 invitation of communion with the Lord. That always reminds me of C. S. Lewis’ second space novel, “Perelandra” where Elwin Ransom, on Venus, finds God’s presence so overwhelming that if he ever tries to create his own space, he feels crushed. If instead, he finds, he will accept God’s ownership of every inch of psychic real estate, he’s fine. Can “cave time” invite or cooperate with God? Of course it can, and I think that if we can realize that, a lot of the guilt over feeling selfish will disappear.