AFFIRMATION: I welcome in the beauty of quiet, allowing myself to be calm and at ease. I value the gift of solitude as I allow my creative self to retreat from the busy-ness of living, into my own personal space of peace and grace.
Do you ever just sit down in a quiet place and allow yourself to simply Be, without looking at a magazine or listening to music, without watching television or reading a book? Do you ever just find a calm place and invite yourself to not think a conscious thought, but rather, allow yourself to drift and relax into not doing anything at all?
The truth is, this is a very important thing to do, yet somehow we don’t seem to give ourselves this kind of downtime. Taking time for ourselves is often viewed as selfish by those who want our constant attention, but as we awaken to our creative Essence and begin to live a life that Calls to us, we will soon discover that creating solitude is a life-saving act.
Solitude is the state of being alone and away from others, without feeling any sense of regret, guilt, or loneliness. Spending time in solitude is highly self-nurturing and a practice that we all need to embrace. When we are so busy with the hectic activities of our lives and constantly giving our time away to others, we become depleted and worn down when we don’t take the time to fill ourselves back up. Running on empty can only last for so long.
Just as we need to refuel our vehicles that get us from here to there, so we must also refuel ourselves in mind, body, and spirit, so that we may be happy, productive, and healthy. Yes, we want to be generous and kind in our caring for those we love, but we must be sure to put our own oxygen mask on first, before we can possibly help anyone else around us.
Valuing Ourselves As Well As Others
We need to learn to value ourselves and not slip into a misguided mindset that it is a virtuous thing to be present for everyone else while abandoning our own needs. When we discover that what we want to do conflicts with the desires of those we care for, and we continually defer to their wants and needs, eventually we will become duly frustrated and angry inside.
Over time, if we continue to put ourselves last, we are going to experience an emotional concussion or suffer a slow, tedious death of spirit, by perpetually living a life of compromise and mediocrity. We must become aware that if we continue to function in this way, we are putting ourselves at risk of losing our essential individuality to the wants and needs of others, and this is a very unwise and debilitating thing to do.
Solitude is an essential ingredient within every human being’s life. Yet how many of us are really comfortable being alone, without distractions and activities that keep us engaged and busy? We need time to be by ourselves, so that we may relax, reflect, and create a sense of peace within. We need time alone so that we can examine our lives, to see what must go and what we want to stay.
It is important to clear out the clutter that is taking up space in our lives and begin to thoughtfully introduce doing things that we truly love to do. Taking the time to think on these things is a very important step, and we must be very careful not to allow anyone or anything to get in its way.
Creating Quiet: A Wonderful Opportunity
We need to give ourselves the quiet that we require. As creative people, which we all are in our own way, we need time to relax and be at ease, allowing ourselves to become refreshed and renewed. It is important for us to release our tension, anger, and resentments that we harbor deeply within ourselves. It is highly possible that many of us may be unaware that we are harboring these kinds of feelings at all, but as we begin to create the time for solitude within our lives, we are likely to run up against burdensome feelings we weren’t overtly aware of. It is important to know that this is a natural progression and to be expected.
Creating quiet is a wonderful opportunity for us, so that we may retreat into ourselves and become refreshed and renewed. It may also be a time for healing old wounds and upsets in a safe and comforting way. This is a place where we will come to realize that we are not alone and lonely, especially when we are all by ourselves. This is the place where we can begin to become our own adoring friend and take care of the special person that we actually are.
Of course, we have experienced how a stimulating flow of incoming information can be inspiring and exciting, but as with all things, we need to create a balance with just how much exposure we allow ourselves to the hustle and bustle of the world each day. We need to unplug from our computers, televisions, cell phones, and all the activities we have loaded into our lives, giving ourselves the opportunity to calm down so that we may awaken other pathways of our creative expression to be able to flow into us.
Now, let’s consider some of the ways in which we can comfortably create this solitude and quiet that we justly merit.
PRACTICE—Creating Quiet and Stillness— the Art of Not-Doing
- Being out in nature is one of the most restorative things you can do. Whether you live close to woods or a body of water, or even in a city, find a place where you can sit alone, freely without interruption. Feel the calming effects of sitting under a tree, on a beach, or on a park bench. Relax into being in nature, wherever you may find it. Allow all your thoughts to slowly drift away.
- Create your own private place within your home where you can relax and sit quietly without interruption. A corner of your room or closet will do nicely. Having a comfortable place where you can sit or lie down is important. Close the door to your outside world and enjoy doing absolutely nothing at all. If you are having trouble letting yourself go, take a few slow, deep breaths and release— everything! This is your time.
- Meditation is a nice way to create the calm you need. Take five minutes to meditate, bringing yourself to a calm, quiet place inside you. After you have finished your meditation, open your eyes and simply let yourself remain in the calm and relaxed state you just created.
- Journaling is an effective way to release the busy thoughts racing through our minds. Sit down with a notebook that you use expressly for this purpose. Take pencil or pen in hand and let your thoughts flow out onto the paper. Write until you feel yourself become quiet. Close the book and welcome the simplicity of peace that follows.
The Benefits of Creating Solitude
When we take the time to experience solitude, we will give ourselves the gift of peace within and the possibility to experience a wondrous, creative Streaming in all our actions. Here is a list of some of the benefits that creating solitude provides us:
- We will have the capacity to enjoy our relationships with others more, as a result of giving ourselves this self-nurturing time to become calm and centered.
- After a period of quiet, wonderful ideas tend to filter into our consciousness. As we are more open and receptive, infused with a feeling of inspired joy, we allow our imaginations to flow freely.
- We become healthier in mind, body, and spirit, feeling less deprived of time and more buoyant with joy.
- When we embrace quiet, it often leads us to welcome in time for fun and play, as a counterpoint and balance.
- We garner fresh insights into previously challenging problems.
- We will increase our awareness of the world around us.
- We will be calm, and when we are calm, we are able to eliminate nervous, frenetic energy.
PRACTICE—Solitude in Motion: The Art of Quietly Doing by Yourself
The next step in creating solitude for ourselves is bringing the quiet into gentle action. Here are some ways to enjoy your experience of solitude, as you put it into gentle motion:
- Spend time in your garden.
- Practice yoga as a meditation.
- Take a beautiful walk out into nature—walking is a moving meditation, a way of creating peace in motion.
- Read quietly by a warm fire or outside in a hammock.
- Enjoy your coffee or tea in the morning, reading or simply gazing out the window.
- Wander through a bookstore or some other place that interests you—no need to purchase—window shopping can be pleasurable, too.
- Take a long, hot bath or shower.
- Listen to music, play an instrument, paint or draw.
- Dance, knit, sculpt, build with your hands.
- Sail, walk, go to an art museum.
Feel free to add to this list. Write down some of your own ideas.
Creating the Time for Solitude
It is vitally important to create time for quiet and solitude, though it is an area in our lives that we often fail to prioritize. In the next chapter, there will be exercises for creating the time we don’t think we have, so that we may begin doing things that are not only enjoyable and enriching, but also healthy for us in all aspects of Being.
As we begin to create the time for quiet and solitude, we will become more present in the moment and able to focus on what really matters most. We will learn to listen to the whispers within us, guiding us to be bold and daring enough to release the restraint of the architectural framework that has held us captive for far too long.
©2013 by Heather McCloskey Beck. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Conari Press,
an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. www.redwheelweiser.com.
Take the Leap: Do What You Love 15 Minutes a Day and Create the Life of Your Dreams
by Heather McCloskey Beck.
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About the Author
Heather McCloskey Beck is an inspirational author and speaker, musician and founder of the global peace movement, Peace Flash. Dedicated to creating Dynamic Peace within our world, Heather is a columnist for The Huffington Post and frequently speaks to audiences across the United States, and is now expanding her reach internationally. With a growing following on her Facebook pages that has surpassed One Million fans, Heather offers both virtual and on-site workshops and events to inspire people to create lives they truly love. Here are a few of her Facebook pages: www.facebook.com/HeatherMcCloskeyBeckAuthor, www.facebook.com/PeaceFlash, www.facebook.com/TaketheLeapBook