I just returned from a mother-daughter trip to New York City! Three moms with teenage daughters hatched a plan to take the kids to the city for a few days of “Rush and Run Around” because there is no such thing as “Rest and Relaxation” in NYC. Of course, it was a thrill. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed ourselves immensely. From Madame Tussauds’ to the Museum of Natural History, we saw it all in record speed.
As a tourist in New York there are so many amazing and remarkable things to see and experience one can hardly begin to take it all in. It is a magical place. We stood in Time Square in the dark of night and you would have thought it noon by the bright glow of the lights. Street shows and vendors compete for your attention at every turn. The city is alive. There is simply nowhere else on earth quite like it.
You can’t help but notice the pace and the pulse of the city. It goes at breakneck speed – all the time. You also can’t avoid the people. They are everywhere, hustling and bustling on every street at every hour of the day There is no escape from the people of the city. At no time is it quiet.
I found myself wondering what it would be like to grow up in this great city and never be able to see the horizon. The buildings limit your view of anything but the sky directly above you. You don’t have grass to play kickball on or a backyard to climb trees in. In this city that has everything… solitude is lacking. There is no peace and quiet, no nature to refresh and revive you. It is a mesmerizing place and yet it lacks a vital ingredient to healthy living – access to the power of unadulterated nature to heal and restore. Even beautiful Central Park is a man made invention, and you cannot be alone there.
So I present for your consideration this week the concept of Solitude. What is solitude and what role does it play in your life? Technically, solitude is the state of being alone. It is NOT, however, being lonely. Solitude is a necessary state of being where we come to know our own hearts better.
Here are a few thoughts on solitude from an article in Psychology TodaySolitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself. Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company. Solitude is a time that can be used for reflection, inner searching or growth or enjoyment of some kind. Deep reading requires solitude, so does experiencing the beauty of nature . Thinking and creativity usually do too. Solitude suggests peacefulness stemming from a state of inner richness. It is a means of enjoying the quiet and whatever it brings that is satisfying and from which we draw sustenance. It is something we cultivate. Solitude is refreshing; an opportunity to renew ourselves. In other words, it replenishes us.
Solitude is necessary to replenish and rejuvenate ourselves. We need it so that we can clear our minds and rest our souls. Do you have it? Do you make room for it in your daily life? I find there are lots of people who fear solitude. They do not want to be alone with themselves. They do not find “wonderful and sufficient company” being alone, so they busy themselves in every way possible to keep from being in their own company.
I want to encourage you to think about how solitude makes you feel. I want you to ponder making time for it. If ten minutes is all you can handle, then start there and see what happens. The things that chase us and keep us moving away from ourselves are not Good for our hearts. They keep us from knowing peace and the truth about ourselves. We need solitude to survive in this hectic crazy world. We need solitude to have clarity and inner peace.
Allow yourself time to sit alone for five minutes. Watch the thoughts that come to you. Where is your mind? Can you make it be still? Do you like how you are feeling or do you feel antsy? Practice being still and alone. Use it as an opportunity to know yourself better. Spend this time outside in nature as often as possible. Try to absorb all the Goodness around you. At first you will likely feel awkward but with practice you will find this time to be relaxing and restful. Unplug from everything and enjoy sometime in the company of your Good self! It will be Goodness to you.
Take a few minutes and compare this video ”Open Door to Solitude” to the one above. Capture the look and feel of solitude. Your solitude will look and feel like you. It is different for everyone, but this is a beautiful example.
Do you practice Solitude? You should. It's Goodness for you.