The world is a noisy place. I don’t mean that in purely an auditory sense either. Everything that bombards us and pulls at our attention creates “noise”, in our minds and hearts, that slowly drains the energy reserves that we need to keep us grounded and focused on what really matters. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m “running on empty”, and in doing that I put myself at risk of breaking down on the side of the road in desperate need of mental, emotional and spiritual fuel.
Solitude is essential. Without it, we don’t allow ourselves the chance to recharge and heal; we don’t rest. I’ve been observing how I use my time, where I spend my energy, to determine if I allow myself to get charged up and healed, and I’m finding that I don’t. On a typical day, I get up in the morning and scurry around to get out the door. When I get to work, I jump into the tasks and interactions that need to take place, I break briefly for lunch in a bustling cafeteria and then it’s right back to work again. After work, I get home, fix dinner and do some chores. Or I zone out in front of the TV because I’m just too drained to do anything else. (By the way, it’s nicknamed the “boob tube” for a reason. For you youngsters, boob used to be slang for an ignorant or stupid person). Before I know it, it’s time to go to bed so the cycle can start all over again the next morning. There has been absolutely no pursuit of solitude in my day.
An initial look at my day would suggest that there is simply no opportunity to seek the solitude I so desperately need. That is a lie perpetuated by our “if I’m busy, I’m valuable” culture and other forces that work to keep us from being complete and healthy human beings. I can choose to make room for solitude in my day, every day. I can get up a little earlier so I’m not so rushed. I can go find a quiet place during lunch to sit or walk. I can choose to find a quiet corner in my house at the end of the day instead of tuning out with my TV. I can even choose to drive in silence to and from work instead of listening to the radio or my iTunes library. If I chose all of these things, there would be room for hours of quiet reflection and rest for my mind and soul. But that’s the thing, I have to choose it. In order to benefit from solitude I have to embrace it’s value and be willing to sacrifice something else for it.
It isn’t necessary for me to choose all of those things either; one of them would be a step in the right direction. Even just 15 minutes to get alone, take a deep breath and focus on how I want to live and the person I want to be, would make life so much better. I would be giving myself the opportunity to be who I truly am instead of being what my busyness makes me. I need solitude, we all do; and from now on, I plan to be deliberate in seeking it out everyday, for my sake and for the sake of the people around me.