There are voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world — Ralph Waldo Emerson
How often do you allow yourself to experience real solitude? I mean time that you consciously choose to spend alone? Time that you’ve carved out purely for yourself?
Hmmm, I thought so.
For those of us rarely alone, those of us who give of ourselves to others in our work and our family lives, creating time of solitude can seem like an impossible task. If we are to do so we must do it with determination.
The summer holidays are upon us and for us working mums with 6 weeks ahead of us it becomes an incredible balancing act. The need and desire to both work and spend time with our children, the need especially as a single parent to create some time for ourselves that does not involve working.
Even those who live alone can fill their time with busyness and ignore the very real benefits of consciously being in solitude.
The importance of solitude
- We give ourselves the chance to things about our lives in greater depth – a time for contemplation and self reflection
- We notice and become aware of the world around us
- We become more creative in our thinking
- It’s an opportunity to really think about our needs
- Dare I say it…we learn to appreciate ourselves more, our resources and capabilities
- We de-stress when we choose some time in solitude – it is literally good for our health
- We reconnect with our core – who we really are
Solitude needn’t be about sitting in the lotus position and saying Om. Here are some things that I do when I choose to have reflective and nourishing time on my own.
- Keep a journal – 15 minutes a day
- Walk in my local park at a time when I’m not going to bump into people
- I wake earlier and now no longer fight it! I get up before my son needs to rise in order to sit and drink my tea in silence – meditating would be stretching the truth, I’m happy to sit and simply be still.
- Go to bed early in order to read alone
- Listen to classical music – for me it’s the Bach’s Cello Suites – instant calm
Sometimes we need to snatch these moments, even it it means locking the bathroom door for a soak in the bath or paint our toenails without interruption, or walking the dog around the block for 10 minutes. Taking 15 minutes out of your day to stop for a coffee in a cafe with a book – make sure it’s not one where you’ll bump into friends!………..does that sound self indulgent or vital for your sanity? Really ask yourself that question!
Did you read the quote at the start of this piece? Take another look. This so resonates with me. What thoughts are in your head right now as you read this? I’m curious to know.
What will it take for you to commit to creating some time of solitude for yourself this week?
Will you struggle in doing so? If so then Sarah Ban Breathnach asks us to be real and admit that we haven’t yet learned how to put ourselves on the priority list. How will you change this?
“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” Barbara De Angelis
Photo credit: Liquene