Monday, May 11, 2009

Gift of Solitude

Hope your mother's day weekend was pleasant, restful and socially full - can all those go together? it depends who is doing the cooking I guess, and the numbers of extended family that descend on you.

Our brunch was somewhere else, with Chinese food ordered in, with both my mother and my mother-in-law attending, as well as 16 other family members. So it was fun, sociable, and exhausting - only because the night before my daughter had her last dance show and invited 30 of her fellow-dancers in the graduating class to come and celebrate at midnight! Needless to say, our sleep was cut short a bit.

This morning, while sitting at the osteopath's office waiting for Caitie's appointment to be over, I read A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I have seen this book quoted, seen the book title on other blog lists, but can't believe I haven't read it before now.

It is exactly the book I would love to write - on the importance of solitude and alone time for women to find themselves, to nurture their souls, and not only once a year on vacation or retreat, but every week, and even every day.

We give and give outwards, and need to spiral back inwards, like the shells Lindbergh picks up on the beach and uses as metaphors for the stages of a woman's life. How easily she writes! And she writes from experience, having had five children, a busy home life, and authored several books.

It's not only artists or monks who need and appreciate solitude. But it is a foreign topic to most of us, who fill our days with radio, TV, newspapers and 'busy-ness'. We are perhaps afraid to be alone, to be silent. Since our young childhood we are taught how to occupy ourselves, how to be sociable, and the worst punishment is to be sent to your room, alone, cut off from the world.

Yet I feel as Lindbergh does, that our nourishment comes from within, from our own thoughts and reflections, from the time we use to center-down, as the Quaker's say.

Here's to centering within, in the midst of your day. Take a minute to look out the window, refresh your gaze, let your mind wander. Daydream a little, or watch the clouds, and see if this little break for your mind can replenish the well.

If you have a chance to plan for a half-day retreat somewhere, or even a daily walk in the woods, make that a priority on this lovely spring day.



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