On Solitude

Someone recently asked me why I thought they might be creating chaos in their lives. I answered that perhaps they did not want to be alone. Their immediate response was that they liked to be alone! I could only ask, are you comfortable sitting with yourself, your thoughts, your desires, your confusion, your anxiety, all your feelings, all your thoughts? Can you sit in the stillness of a space with nothing around you and stay still, just be where you are, allowing anything to surface and spend time with it? So many of us are running from ourselves. Mostly from our inner worlds. Some are literally running, as in excessive exercising. Some are numbing out by using screens, as in television, computers. Some are hiding in drinking, eating or drugs, as in over or under eating, alcohol, medications maybe. Some are shopping and erranding away free time, as in filling the void with stuff. Some are just over-scheduling their time so they don’t have space for the inner stuff to pop up into consciousness. We can see it - this look of running from ourselves. Just look at all those glazed over eyes, not really connecting. They can’t connect outwardly because they won’t connect inwardly.

So here we are in a season of great beauty and stillness. The symbolism is finding light in the darkness, returning to light after a season of growing darkness, looking out at a symbol of lightness and pure love, like angels, newborn babies, holy spirits. I love all this symbolism and I love the reality of seeing the lights on evergreens, the candles burning in early morning darkness or descending evening quiet, the extra angels poised about my home. All of it feels so comforting as the days get shorter, the nights getting longer.

Most of all I love that I am able to sit quietly with myself and feel great peace and light. I can remember days long ago when this was not an easy thing to do because I had such inner turmoil. I remember my dark night of the soul passage, so emotionally painful during those months of tremendous fear and confusion. But mostly I remember the time after it, when I passed through that tunnel and found incredible light on the other side. Since that passage I have had a sense of lightness about life, a deep sense of stillness that I can touch inwardly at any moment by focusing on that inner quiet within. And I love the quieter life I have created that mirrors this inner calm. When my life is lively, I can enjoy that too. But I always look forward to the peace and light that returns when I go inward, when I quiet and calm the chatter of my mind, and then sense the wonder of what lies beyond this human form that is me right now.

I wish I could give this gift of sitting quietly with “self” to everyone. I would wrap this present up in beautiful golden and silver shimmering paper and ribbons. It would be the most beautiful gift under the tree. Once received, the recipient could have this gift within them at every moment – the gift of the ability to return to light after any moment of darkness. Now that’s a gift. But it is a gift that we can only bestow upon ourselves. How fortunate though, that it is within our reach to find this inner beauty. In our world of fast paced living and immediate responses, it’s an unusual prospect, this sitting still and moving beyond our dark inner lives to the deeper inner light. But for those who give themselves this gift, their lives are changed forever. Their season of darkness has truly passed.