Dear Why Team member,
I hope this finds you well and enjoying your alone time.
Depending on where you are on the age spectrum, you may have different feelings regarding solitude.
Remember as a teenager the will to be alone rather than around parents or aunts that would pinch your cheeks? And then, your mid-twenties when all you wanted to do is hang around with friends or your loved one?
At a more mature age, solitude is a great partner, if you have a good relationship with yourself.
Being comfortable with solitude, will also help you be good company to others.
Why do we expect to be good company to others when we have trouble enjoying our own company when alone?
Wayne Dyer used to say God’s one and only voice is silence.
How much time do you spend in silence? Nowadays it’s common to fill those opportunities for silence with the latest podcast or YouTube.
I’m guilty of it too because I love to learn and of course podcasts and YouTube can be very entertaining - and also very distracting. Distraction is big business in our country today - maybe the biggest business - there are endless opportunities for us to distract ourselves from ourselves.
There is a teacher by the name of Byron Katie who once said:
“Nothing is Wasted”
I really like this simple observation - especially since I am an optimizer. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of success in my life and know that my constant desire to improve, and to become more efficient, has served me well. But maybe one of the greatest life lessons is how doing absolutely nothing can be one of the best things I can do. Creativity requires space - fill up the space and we’ll miss a big part of life.
Think about it, how many people can do absolutely nothing? You might think of those often described couch potatoes, but what are they “doing” on the couch? It’s worth noting that television, of any type, be it the big screen in your home or the small screen in your hand - is “telling you a vision”, but who’s vision? Certainly not yours since you are not the creator, only the consumer. Brain waves measured while watching T.V. are just slightly above comatose. We are not evolved to sit in front of a screen, big or small, and its effects on most of us is concerning to say the least.
When I was a kid, I was out the door in the morning, got on my bike, and didn’t return until night. Oh, and I walked to school up hill and in the snow – a mile both ways :-)
But seriously, think of how many generations grew up without electricity and rather you wanted to or not, you had to learn to enjoy your own company.
I am so grateful to have grown up in a world before smart phones. Consider now the young people who have never known life before the personal phone. No doubt most are so anxiety ridden without their phone they cannot enjoy peace and quiet.
This past week I had a wonderful long walk, alone. I just walked and looked and felt; I listened and expressed gratitude; I sat and watched; I enjoyed my own company and found myself wanting to write about the experience.
I saw a father with his young daughter on a playground and he was on his phone the entire time. Made me very sad for her- and for him. Some might say to him “wake up!” and I think that would be appropriate. We could all benefit from “waking up!” to notice all the more the habits that have engulfed us. Wordsworth said “Habits Rule the Unreflecting Herd”. Clearly you are among those who care to reflect or you wouldn’t be reading this blog, but so many are so full-on distracted that their lives are passing them by.
Break the habitual mind numbing patterns that can rule our lives by committing regularly, if you don’t already, to time alone, in solitude, doing nothing but being. Just being a human-being is awesome; being a human-doing is a big part of life, but so is just being and maybe more important now than at any other time in human history.
Be a living example, wake up more often and get free of that phone. Especially when you are around friends and family - and I’m speaking for myself as much or more than for you. We teach most what we want to learn and just “being” more is an absolute necessity to live more fully our BEST YEAR EVER.
Leverage solitude, quiet time, to break the habit of endless distraction. Take a break from non-stop dopamine hits to re-engage with your life in the present moment - and in time, just being present will produce a more meaningful and lasting high on life.
Make it a great week!