Tag Archives: Solitude

Quote/UnQuote: The Gifts of Twilight (A Corner View* Post)

The solitude of a rainstorm, the beauty of twilight … these are times to turn inward to reflect and renew.

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Twilight reflections. photo by Tzivia Gover, 2015

For me dreaming isn’t just something I do at night when I sleep. I’m a dreamer all day long and I cherish long moments when my mind can wonder and wander. With distractions always at hand (literally in the age of the smart phone) the words of Henry David Thoreau become increasingly precious to me. (HDT does’t write in soundbites, so switch off the phone and settle in for a rambling read…)

“Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain-storms in the spring or fall, which confined me to the house for the afternoon as well as the forenoon, soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting; when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves. In those driving northeast rains which tried the village houses so, when the maids stood ready with mop and pail in front entries to keep the deluge out, I sat behind my door in my little house, which was all entry, and thoroughly enjoyed its protection. In one heavy thunder-shower the lightning struck a large pitch pine across the pond, making a very conspicuous and perfectly regular spiral groove from top to bottom, an inch or more deep, and four or five inches wide, as you would groove a walking-stick. I passed it again the other day, and was struck with awe on looking up and beholding that mark, now more distinct than ever, where a terrific and resistless bolt came down out of the harmless sky eight years ago. Men frequently say to me, “I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially.” I am tempted to reply to such- This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? is not our planet in the Milky Way? This which you put seems to me not to be the most important question. What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another. What do we want most to dwell near to? Not to many men surely, the depot, the post-office, the bar-room, the meeting-house, the school-house, the grocery, Beacon Hill, or the Five Points, where men most congregate, but to the perennial source of our life, whence in all our experience we have found that to issue, as the willow stands near the water and sends out its roots in that direction. This will vary with different natures, but this is the place where a wise man will dig his cellar…. I one evening overtook one of my townsmen, who has accumulated what is called “a handsome property”- though I never got a fair view of it- on the Walden road, driving a pair of cattle to market, who inquired of me how I could bring my mind to give up so many of the comforts of life. I answered that I was very sure I liked it passably well; I was not joking. And so I went home to my bed, and left him to pick his way through the darkness and the mud to Brighton- or Bright-town- which place he would reach some time in the morning.”

–Henry David Thoreau, “On Solitude”

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*Corner View* is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is “Twilight.”

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(be)longing

I sat beneath a solitary tree

Looking for a sign

And when I stood I saw

Neither of us

Were alone.

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You are never alone when you listen to your dreams. If you want to connect with yours, contact me.

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If you long to read more about longing … visit Corner Views blogs from around the world:

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Lonely – Together (CV)

Solitude

Image by Lady-bug via Flickr

What is the antidote to loneliness?

No, the answer to loneliness doesn’t involve going to a party, hopping onto Facebook or taking a trip to the mall. The antidote to loneliness is solitude.

Solitude is more than simply being alone. True solitude involves getting still and quiet with yourself. This is a difficult skill to learn, especially in a society that increasingly values noise, constant movement, and quick connections through social media.

To learn true solitude takes practice. In my personal and professional work I teach people the art of listening to the self through dreamwork, writing and mindfulness.

When you learn to be still and quiet you discover something extraordinary. You are truly and deeply connected … to everyone and everything.

To build solitude into your life:

  1. Begin and end each day with a few moments of internal reflection. Start slowing down an hour before bedtime. When you close your eyes to enter sleep practice meditative breathing by inhaling slowly to the count of four, retaining your breath for a count of four, exhaling slowly for a count of four, retaining the breath for a count of four, etc. In the morning when you wake, lie in bed quietly for a few moments and reflect on your dreams and sleep before beginning your day.
  2. Take 20 minutes a day to spend time alone. Unplug the phone, turn off the computer, and avoid any distractions. Be in nature if you can, or sit quietly in mindful meditation.
  3. Learn Proprioceptive Writing. This is a ritualized form of writing that offers a simple and profound system for learning solitude and deeply knowing the self.

“It is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it” –Rainer Maria Rilke

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To visit more Corner View blogs from around the globe. Start here.

To learn more about how dreamwork, mindfulness and writing can help you discover the deep pleasures of solitude, contact me.

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