I love spending time alone. In fact, I not only require it for rest and rejuvenation, I crave it. And in the past few months, I have not had much of it. So naturally I chose to be in solitude last weekend, the five year anniversary of my mother’s passing. I decided to retreat to the Village Inn at Pigeon Lake. The last time I was there was with my mother six weeks before she died.
Having been away many weekends for training, fun and family vacations, it would have been easy to not have escaped. There is so much to do to get our house in a more liveable condition. I also chose to miss a birthday dinner. However, I knew what was important for my healing and wellbeing. And I was not about to deviate from that.
Often one of the things we neglect in our self care is spending time alone. When we think of self care, we exercise, we do yoga, or we get a massage. These things are all fine, but in the act of doing we are not necessarily spending time in solitude and reflection. Meditation offers this and I am grateful for my daily practice. However, I realize that sometimes I need more than thirty minutes to connect to my spirit and to feel at peace.
We are living in a society that has set standards on how to live, a society that has defined what is a good and productive life. If we only ever choose to live in this world, creativity can be squelched and inspiration deadened by noise, by busyness, by expectations. Deepak Chopra states that most people are afraid of spending time in solitude because in the silence you hear the truth.
Truth is what I seek. I have spent time alone in the comfort of my own home, hiking in the wilderness and travelling in foreign countries. Sometimes I get bored, other times I relish it. Sometimes I feel restless, other times I feel at peace. Sometimes I want more time alone, other times I long for companionship.
What I’ve learned though, whatever the feeling, by embracing solitude I create space to reflect, to allow for mental processing, and to just be; all crucial for awareness, creativity, and inspiration to flow. And being alone for a lengthy period of time, reminds me of the value and beauty of it’s equal and opposite- the importance of having deep meaningful connection with others. I realize if I like spending time in my own company, I like who I am when in the company of others.
I’ve decided to perfect the art of solitude. Spending time with myself has become one of my favourite things to do. And I not only think of it as a pastime, but something essential to my soul.
And so last weekend, I immersed myself in the forest surrounding the inn, stared at the trees and walked on the beach. I shed tears, dropping my grief to Mother Earth. I meditated supported by a beautiful strong, tall spruce tree. I allowed myself to be held in my vulnerability and I honoured the need to be alone.
In this space, I was able to know my mom’s presence, feel her surrounding me with love, and share with her the gifts of solitude. And I returned home ready to connect with my fellow soul travellers.