4 Ways That Solitude Nourishes Your Essence
Are you experiencing whiplash from the rate of change and yearning to find your own oasis of peace and presence? Personal evolution invariably takes you down the ‘road less traveled.' The adventure of ‘being with’ constant change can often prove far more stressful than you bargained for.
There will be moments when you will be tempted to try and leapfrog through these important passages by filling them with things to do. This not only shortchanges you from a powerful opportunity to grow, but the natural cycle of embracing your feelings, revising beliefs and integrating your experiences can't be avoided indefinitely. At some point in your life, the call to wholeness will yearn to be answered.
When was the last time you unplugged from all the distractions and the busyness of your high tech, instant access life? In today's world, meaningful timeouts are a powerful way to re-evaluate and regenerate. Solitude provides a respite where you can nourish your own being and integrate the massive change taking place on all levels of your being.
What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great person is one who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and powerful engagement with yourself. 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. Solitude is good for you in so many ways.
The Benefits of Being Alone
Staying connected at all times seems to be the addiction of the 21st century. Instead of having real conversations and social interactions, people are just filling up their alone time with noise.
If being disconnected for a few days or even a few hours gives you shivers, it’s probably because you haven’t learned how to be comfortable with your own silence. But if you can fully appreciate just being with your own thoughts, you can fully interact when you’re with people. Here are a couple other reasons to carve out more time for yourself:
- Enhances self-awareness. Changes take time because your life runs on habits. Solitude is required for the integration of that change. Just like learning, change requires time, solitude and a period of sleep. Let's face it, you're not going to get those game-changing insights by following the crowd. Even Jesus spent time in the desert.
- Promotes insight and innovation. Solitude is an empty canvass, which calls your imagination into play and gives your ideas new life. The capacity to be alone is necessary for the brain to function at its best. Solitude facilitates connection to your inner world which gives rise to insight and innovation.
- Improves communication. More time by yourself can actually increase the quality of your communication. Change of attitude is facilitated by solitude and change of environment. You can then get in touch with your deepest feelings. You can sift through your thoughts and beliefs and choose to change your mental attitudes. This results in improved communication and a focus on meaningful conversations.
- Recover your inner peace. Solitude is an opportunity for everything that is unnecessary to drop away. Against the backdrop of silence and spaciousness, all the insignificant things in your life fade to black.
It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.
4 Easy Ways to Access the Power of Solitude
You don't have to be a monk to reap the benefits of solitude. Before you get started, make sure that you unplug: turn off your computer, or power down your iPad or cell phone. You don't want to be interrupted or distracted during your ‘alone time.' Here are 4 ways to take a time out for yourself:
- Start a morning ritual. Wake up early and squeeze in an extra hour of alone time before you start your day. You can meditate, pray, journal, draw. This process can also give you time to focus yourself before the day begins.
- Go for a walk. Make sure that you pick a scenic route. Go to your local park or nature reserve. If you live in a city you can often find designated walking paths. You might even want to take a field trip and walk along the beach or go hiking.
- Take a reading break. Make sure the television is off. Snuggle up on your couch and dive into a great book. If the weather is nice you can always grab a blanket and camp out at your local park for your reading.
- Visit your local house of worship. When I worked in New York City this was one of my favorite things to do. I used my lunch hour to visit different churches and spend some time in silence and prayer. It replenishes your soul and alivens your being.
Recover your joy, creativity, intimacy, and intuition with the power of solitude. Being alone is one of the most energizing things you can do for yourself. It can fuel your life!