The gift of solitude
Day 205/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
Without solitude you end up on the treadmill we call the rat race. It would be difficult to think of a more fitting metaphor. I've been there, you've probably been there, on that hamster wheel going around and around.
To make sense of the world, to make sense of your day, to bring all your thoughts together, to synthesise, to digest, to integrate the learning and realisations of the day we need moments of solitude.
When I was very young, I discovered that my mother would get up in the very early hours of the morning when it was still quite dark and spend time alone in the kitchen, baking. I have no doubt that this gave her time to mull over the thoughts on her mind, plan her day, prepare mentally for any taxing jobs ahead. Before long, not long after the break of day, the household would begin to stir and one by one we would fill the kitchen and no doubt her mind, and her thoughts were no longer her own.
When my own son was small I would elect to stay up later to catch time alone in the later hours, which meant that I was usually very tired when he rose in the mornings. It's only more recently that I realised the benefits of going to bed early and waking early to take advantage of that special time of day.
Solitude also brings inspiration. When your mind is full, and your legs are working hard on the hamster wheel, you're not able to catch glimpses of inspiration. The very glimpses that could turn you in the direction of the success you're seeking, or the creativity you're waiting for.
Presently I know how fortunate I am to have time for the solitude I need, at will. Yet I still make a point of planning my alone time, reflection time in my schedule so that the days don't spill into each other without me giving attention to the lifeline that solitude has become for me.
Make time in your day and in your week for moments of solitude. Plan it, schedule it, prioritise it. A long deep bath can give you 30 minutes of solitude. A walk in the morning or at lunch time if you're in a busy office might give you some time to reflect. My favourite space used to be snatched at a quiet book store or a city garden. Even on the tram, bus or train to and from work would provide a space and respite to punctuate my day.
Give yourself the gift of solitude.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.