“Still, in spite of all the civilization and people around me, I find it amazingly easy to reach a transcendent state of aloneness, as if the years of solitude at the cabin were so intense they laid a well-worn path of synapses and relays in my brain, providing a familiar shortcut.” ~Sean Gardner (as quoted by Lionel Fisher)
Over the summer, I had the chance to read Celebrating Time Alone: Stories of Splendid Solitude by Lionel Fisher. In this book, Fisher weaves together his own story of time spent in intense solitude with the stories of many people that he interviewed who had chosen similar periods of aloneness to explore the many aspects of solitude.
He shares the stories of a wide range of people, coming from many backgrounds and circumstances. Some chose solitude intentionally and structured their lives in ways to give them that time away. Others had periods of solitude thrust upon them through the death of a loved one or the loss of a significant relationship. The situations defining their solitude varied widely, but each person found solitude to be a life-changing experience.
“Do not rely completely on any other human being, however dear. We meet all life’s greatest tests alone.” ~Agnes Macphail
From my very earliest memories, I have craved connection with other people. I have always dreamed of being part of a community or network of people who would give me the sense that there was somewhere I belonged. In particular, I have searched high and low to find a few people who could be that core group of “chosen family” that I could rely on through thick and thin. I have desperately longed for someone with whom to intimately share my life.
“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day that says…I will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher
Some days are harder than others. Some days I’m stronger than others.
Some days it’s easier to just lay where I’ve fallen instead of fighting to pick myself back up to try again to get it right.
“Connection is our number one human need. All the actions or non-actions we take in the world are related to this desire.” ~Rhonda Britten
Despite being such an introvert, I wholeheartedly agree with Rhonda’s statement above. My deepest longing, from my earliest memories, has always been to have that sense of connection to another person. I believe that the need for it coupled with the lack of it has fueled the relentless over-achievement I’ve aimed for since I was a small child. I have done everything I can do to find a way to be good enough to be loved like that.
It’s never been enough. Continue reading
“All religion, all life, all art, all expression come down to this: to the effort of the human soul to break through its barrier of loneliness, of intolerable loneliness, and make some contact with another seeking soul, or with what all souls seek, which is (by any name) God.” ~Don Marquis (1878-1937)
I am a rather extreme introvert according to all of the personality tests I have ever taken. I function best one-on-one or in small groups, and I require a lot of alone time to recharge my batteries. I enjoy time by myself. I treasure my alone time; there is never quite enough of it. And yet as much as I treasure my time alone, I am also well acquainted with the intolerable loneliness that Don Marquis refers to in his quote. In fact, my favorite poem (below) is about this kind of loneliness. Continue reading