#16 in a series of wild and precious things that help you move from loneliness to solitude.
This week I learned about solitude. Trying to find solitude in imposed aloneness. Trying to remember the joy of solitude when all I want is the comfort of friends. I’m motivated by the challenge: remembering that solitude, done right, can lead to me piloting myself, rather than being swayed by other people’s opinions. If we come out of this mess both more committed to each other but also stronger in our inner cores, what a blessing that will be. Cheers to that!
“It is an awful satire, and an epigram on the materialism of our modern age, that nowadays the only use that can be made of solitude is imposing it as a penalty, as jail. What a difference there is between those times when, no matter how secular materialism always was, man believed in the solitude of the covenant, when in other words, solitude was revered as the highest, as the destiny of Eternity – and the present when it is detested as a curse and is used only for the punishment of criminals. Alas, what a change.” Kierkegaard, The Diary of Soren Kierkegaard, 23
Mercy. During this time, I know I feel the pull of social media — I can feel my stress response pulling me away from myself and into the next random post: honestly, it feels a bit like a slot machine. Will the next message be hopeful? Will the next? Third time’s the charm?
A helpful counter-balance? Creativity. Write, draw, or finger paint every day. One creative expression a day. First, it’s healthy. Second, it’s fun: there are no rules, this is not for anyone else. Third, it becomes a record of this time. Use your creative pieces to help you find a lesson — something bigger you can take away and use for deeper self- awareness and choose to change in yourself, your family, your community, your world?
Solitude — journeying inward — can be terrifying. Go slow. Balancing Facetime/Skype/Zooming with solitude makes sense. Figure out a way for each member of your household to have their own private retreat space. Make it comfy and lovely: blankets/pillows/a fort under the dining room table. In each person’s retreat space, help them create their own (and your own) comfort bin (h/t Eileen Feliciano) and use your space for times when you need or choose to retreat.
March 23, 1839 — the initials “O.K.” are first published in The Boston Morning Post. Read more: super interesting if you like the history of slang <= if that’s a thing?)
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
7. Song (Solitude.)
8. Video. (Stuart Smalley: Daily Affirmation.)
9. Hero: Eileen Feliciano.
Why? I literally stumbled upon this Facebook post (as I was trolling for just one. more. positive. hit.) and found the motherlode. Eileen Feliciano is a psychologist (her full credentials are included in the post linked above) with a list that I feel is the ideal playlist for how to do this thing we’re all doing right now. My #1 takeaway: practice radical self-acceptance & lower our expectations of ourselves and others.
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
Podcast available everywhere you download podcasts.