"Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others." —Alice Koller
What does solitude mean to you? A quiet room with a hot cup of tea? Silence at the end of a day's chores? A cabin in the woods? Peace and relaxation? Isolation and loneliness? We each come to the idea of solitude with a very personal definition, based on our life-long experiences with it—or without it. For some, solitude is to be avoided because it fills our hearts with sadness and a sense of abandonment. For others, solitude is a welcome respite from the manic busyness of the day. A few of us may even fall somewhere in between these two feelings.
Solitude can be seen in a practical sense as the actual act of carving out time for yourself and what you choose to do with that time. Most of us agree that regular stints of aloneness can help us clear our minds. However, taking solitary time for yourself has another immense benefit. It's an opportunity to "recharge your batteries." These two concepts lead us to the ultimate goal, which is to (re)discover the best, highest self you can be.
So, why should we bother carving out time for ourselves, recharging our batteries, etc.? The answer is simple: Taking time for ourselves leads us to live more peaceful lives internally as well as externally. If you grant yourself the permission to relish a few moments just for you, you will feel better, both mentally and physically. And there's more: Your cherished time alone, as if by magic, replenishes your resources to give back Celebrating Solitude by Rachel Astarte Piccione to others more fluidly and profoundly. In short, when you honor yourself by taking time to reconnect with your soul and celebrate your very life, not only will your life become richer, that richness will, in turn, spill over into your lives with friends, family, colleagues… even strangers.
You may be thinking, Sounds great, but I have a family/job/friends who need me a lot. Isn't spending time alone selfish? Here's a fact: If you don't care for yourself—physically and emotionally— your energy gets depleted, just like a battery. Ever try to talk on your cellphone with no battery? Not very effective, right? Taking regular time for yourself allows you to recharge your batteries so you can give your most powerful energy to others as well as yourself. There's nothing selfish about that.
Don't think you have time? How about two minutes? Even the busiest parent or CEO has 120 seconds to spare. Of course, there will be times you'll want to devote more time to yourself, and you should. Developing a regular solitude practice helps you to develop your strengths, rejuvenate your soul—and have fun doing it. If you're still not convinced, think of it this way: Solitude is a gift you give yourself—and your loved ones—every day.
Excerpted from Rachel Astarte Piccione's new book, Celebrating Solitude, available December 2012. Piccione is a certified transpersonal hypnotherapist and spiritual counselor. She is trained in a number of healing modalities including shamanism, creative writing and aromatherapy. Her mind-body wellness practice, Healing Arts New York, has offices in New York City and Nyack. Visit HealingArtsNewYork.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.