The Art of Solitude

I live a hectic life, full of people and places to be. It was not always this way. Growing up as I did at the edge of an Irish country estate, in it’s former gate house, I was far away from school friends but that didn’t appear to matter a huge amount. I spent much of my days reading or in “my” woods, wandering freely for miles on my own.

Somewhere in between that time and now, life happened. Sometimes, the noise and business was necessary, because then I drowned out pain, hurt, rejection or loneliness. Sometimes it was necessary because if I allowed myself to be still, I would meet who I really was, and for so many years, it was easier to run than face that lack of perfection. But that was exhausting, and learning to love myself was, in the end, easier.

Now, I am happiest when with my family or my close friends, those who inspire & encourage me. Yet, still, I am finding that solitude is returning slowly, gently, peacefully. It’s a choice I make because my spirit longs for it. My journal always helps; it is as vital to me as breathing now.. But over the last few days the message of solitude, refuge, retreat has been so clear that I’m going to take myself off for a few days to allow myself to fully connect with all that I am so that I can be all I can be.

This will be difficult for me, and was something I may not have done. My diary is already full, while I have other demands not yet fitted in, I feel guilty leaving others – and I have hardly ever been on my own, silent, in so many years that I can’t imagine how I will cope with it. And then, I read this perfect poem…

It is a difficult
lesson to learn today,
to leave one’s friends
and family and deliberately
practise the art of solitude
for an hour or a day
or a week.
For me, the break
is most difficult….

And yet, once it is done,
I find there is a quality
to being alone that is
incredibly precious.

Life rushed back into the void,
richer,
more vivid,
fuller than before.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

0 thoughts on “The Art of Solitude

  1. Sarah Maliphant February 15, 2012 / 7:20 am

    What a very beautiful post. Thank you. And I am so glad to be introduced to that poem! šŸ™‚

    • happinessvirus February 15, 2012 / 9:35 pm

      Sarah, thank you so much for your comment. I loved the poem! It was one of the miracles I’ve noticed this year (because I’m keeping my eyes open for them); exactly the right thing at the right time. So much so, you sit back on your heels and go, “wow!” I’m still working on organising my retreat, and it looks like the end of March now.. which must be perfect timing… šŸ™‚

  2. Sandra November 21, 2012 / 7:24 pm

    Lovely post, Caroline. Thank you for sharing with us. Happy day to you.

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