The glory of solitude

“Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile: Something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of some day meeting yourself again.” ~Emil Cioran

I have had the glorious opportunity to spend the last two days completely alone. I’ve had a few short phone conversations and some online exchanges of various kinds (text messages, emails, instant messages, Facebook conversations), but I have not actually been in the company of another person for two days. And it’s been good.

Some of this time alone was due to canceled plans because I wasn’t feeling well. All of the time alone was entirely by my own choice and was quite fruitful. I had a lot of processing to do, and I think I’ve made some real progress in several areas during this time.

To most people, this time would look remarkably unproductive. I’ve managed to complete only a few household chores. I haven’t run any of the errands I needed to run. I did get a few things done for my business (including booking a client – yay!). But for having had two full days at home, it doesn’t look like there’s much that’s been accomplished. I even spent most of that time away from the computer!

I wrote extensively in my journal. I talked out loud to myself. I curled up in a ball and stared out the window. I paced the floor as if movement could fuel my thoughts.

The real work has all been internal, and that is what has made this time so valuable. I have to agree with Emil Cioran on this one; I’ve never spent time alone that was wasted. I almost always come away from time spent in company feeling like the time was wasted. (The exception to this, for me, is time spent one-on-one with someone I have a close relationship with.)

I used to really beat myself up for being this way, but I am slowly coming to accept and appreciate my delight in spending time alone. Yes, I know this makes it challenging for me to fit in and challenging at times for people to get to know me, but I can live with that, I think, because I am better off for having the time alone. It makes me a better person, and it fills my life with such places of richness when I have the space to ponder and process and chew on ideas. It’s the time alone that allows me to come back in touch with who I really am when I have the time to escape all the noise of who other people think I should be so that I can just be with no pressure to be anything else.

Tomorrow I head back into the fray of dealing with other people, and I will do so with my own sense of self that much more centered for having this time alone. Life is good, and I am so fortunate to have the chance to make space for solitude this way.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

Advertisements