Opening a Door that Separates Two Worlds

There are voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world.

Itís impossible to experience solitude regularly for any extended length of time without personal passions and authentic longings surging to the surface of your awareness. Once you have embarked on the search for your own authentic style, followed the wisdom of your own heart, and have seen the results begin to blossom in your life, you realize that solitude cracks open the door that separates two worlds: the life we lead today and the life we yearn for so deeply.

We can all find ways to regenerate once we realize how essential solitude is to our experience of inner harmony. Tillie Olsen wrote in her story, "Tell Me a Riddle," of a woman who "would not exchange her solitude for any thing. Never again be forced to move to the rhythm of others." While most of us probably find ourselves moving to the rhythm of others more than we would like, once we learn to respect and cherish our need for solitude, opportunities will arrive in which we can learn to nourish our imaginations and nurture our souls.

Begin slowly but resolutely. Take comfort in knowing that even stolen moments of solitude Ė quarter-hour increments Ė eventually can add up to a lifetime of serenity. Be patient. Donít expect too much too soon, especially when rearranging your schedule means dealing with your familyís expectations of what youíre supposed to do and when youíre supposed to do it. Be patient.

And for those days Ė maybe even today Ė when you donít have a moment to yourself, take to heart the advice of photographer Minor White, who discovered that "No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen."

-Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

Alone, alone, Oh! We have been warned about solitary vices. Have solitary pleasures ever been adequately praised? Do many people know they exist?

The message from last week talked about making our home a haven in a hectic world. I talked about living alone and being comfortable with my aloneness. That took a while to get used to, after 20 or more years of living with my family. I had to learn to like my self enough to not be lonely when I was alone. I discovered parts of what Ms. Breathnach calls my "authentic self." Once I took the time to discover who I really was, I began to tear myself down, brick by brick. I examined each brick, decided what was worth keeping and what was superfluous and unneeded. After disposing of the yucky stuff, I was able to rebuild myself, because I knew what I needed for "strength and ornamentation," in order to make me whole and healthy. I was unable to do that while I had been distracted by the busyness of family life. It was a very hard time in my life, but that aloneness saved my life.

Iím still under construction, but the plans begin to make sense now, and I feel a lot better about who and what I am. You can, too. This, once again, is an investment with huge returns. Try it!