I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company. ― Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
After the intense social activities during the holidays, I always need a time out. By that, I mean time for solitude and quiet reflection. I believe that though the amount of solitude needed varies by personal temperament, we all need time alone to recharge our batteries, to find our centers, and to reconnect with our Inner Beings. Without solitude, we forget who we are. And without connection to nature, we forget perspective.
Now, more than ever, we need our solitude. Being alone gives us the power to regulate and adjust our lives. It can teach us fortitude and the ability to satisfy our own needs. A restorer of energy, the stillness of alone experiences provides us with much-needed rest. It brings forth our longing to explore, our curiosity about the unknown, our will to be an individual, our hopes for freedom. Alonetime is fuel for life.
Flash forward from 1998 to 2014: constant connectivity — online and offline social interaction — is not only expected, it is demanded. It has become increasingly difficult to unplug, or to go anywhere without our smart phones and tablets, which track our every movement and provide ways to contact and be contacted. Yet as the technology for sharing every aspect of our lives increases, so does our need for solitude. When all these demands are tugging at our shirtsleeves, how do we find time alone?
The answer: We must carve it by hand out of the granite of our lives. Our tools are Intention and Follow Through. I know that carving out 10 minutes of solitude in a day to think, reflect, observe, and be silent can sometimes seem difficult, but it’s never as hard as I imagine, and the rewards of solitude are increased peace of mind, reduced stress, a sense of perspective, and refreshed ability to give to others.
Carve out a few minutes of solitude today. Go for a walk or sit quietly in a chair with a view to the outdoors. Do nothing but observe, think, allow yourself to be. Later, write about the experience: What happens when you spend time in solitude?