A quick walk along the path today. While it was only -13C the wind chill made it feel like -25C. Burrrr! Below, Sprocket thinks there may be someone hiding under the pine. Rabbit perhaps?
“But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day.”
Time is a funny thing. It is man made and multi-facet in its meaning. It chains us to societal demands and expectations, it tricks us, stresses us out, and often enslaves us.
I stopped wearing a watch years ago. Like my television, I don’t miss it, and like bad news, there is always someone who is more than willing to let you know what time it is.
Ten years is a long time, or is it? For me, it has been an amazing time of discovery. In that time I have traveled to exotic places like Kenya and India where my eyes were set wide open and my heart made to feel humble. I have hovered over a mother whale and her calf in an ultra-light off the shores of Costa Rica. I was rescued by a beach patrol during a severe thunder storm on the coast of Florida. I stood jammed, one among hundreds, in the streets of New Orleans greeting in a New Year. I felt the earth shake at 4.3 on the Richter Scale while in Los Angeles. I floated in the warm waters of Hawaii while wild, Spinner Dolphins danced before me. I’ve heard Big Ben strike the time of day and felt the serenity of peace while walking through the lush botanical gardens in Singapore. I sat quietly watching two hunters stalk a wild boar in a valley in Tuscany and floated along the banks of a Chicago river, thinking for sure I must be in Gotham City. I have prayed to the Goddess Pele while standing on her cloak of lava. Set sail on a BC Ferry to the land of the hippies. I’ve walked the plains where the buffalo jumped and I have touched the sky at the Highwood pass.
“As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate lovingly, our own”
When I was a very little girl, I remember looking around at my family watching television and thinking, “Surely God did not make this planet so that we could all sit in our living rooms watching Hockey Night in Canada?” I was right. There is so much out there to discover and in these past ten years I have had the privilege of only scratching the surface of such discoveries. I am addicted.
“Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”
~Janet Fitch, White Oleander~
In the last ten years I have also come to understand that solitude and loneliness are one in the same, the only difference between the two is a viewpoint. Regardless of the circumstance both are a choice.
I chose to travel alone, it was like a challenge to me. Could I do it by myself? Did I have what it took to not be afraid? As a loner I was able to discover things in a different light, a more personal viewpoint. It gave me the opportunity to be more daring and as a result I met so many different people and became aware of so many different perspectives.
Aloneness, loneliness or solitude, call it what you will, is an opportunity to be embraced. So many people are extremely fearful of it or do their best to avoid it. We think there is something wrong with being alone and idle in one’s reflection, labeling it as depressing or abnormal and lazy. I was so fearful of living my life alone, but what I came to discover was that in aloneness I found self expression, self understanding, self realization and ultimately, self acceptance. I have learned these past ten years that it is okay to be Self!
Many people struggle to find purpose these days, and this need has lead others to create a multi-million dollar industry in helping us find it! But kids, the secret is in dropping the drama, quieting the soul and discovering self. There is no shame in that, no indignity. Do we really have to have our days so filled with busy, that we leave no room to discover our true passions, our creativity, our simple joys? Outside of our financial commitments to family, must we measure our success by the benchmarks of others who dictate what accomplishment is? Who is deciding the definition of failure, if there is even such a thing to begin with?
If an opportunity for solitude presents itself, I say seize it, accept it as an opening to discover your true interests, your true talents… dare I say your true purpose? Sit in it for as long as you are able, see how it feels. Listen to what is comfortable for you and what is not. Be fearless and keep that fear at bay long enough to see that tiny light that brings you joy. Taking photographs, sitting quietly watching your kids read, writing, petting your dog, carpentry, whatever it may be, gift that time, those alone moments, to yourself without guilt or expectation. Use those moments to bring yourself closer to your heart.
I use to fear being alone, especially after my husband died. But ten years later, I have come to appreciate how consciously choosing to welcome this solitude, has allowed me to discover the “unplugged” me. Not only that, I realize that my only purpose in life is to participate fully in each moment, with awareness and appreciation for such a magical experience.
“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”