"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One isn't the loneliest number

What a commentary on civilization, when being alone is being suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it - like a secret vice. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This post originally was in defense Gov. Mark Sanford's escape from everyday life to hike in the Appalachians alone. 24 hours later, I'm not defending his real actions, but I do advocate running away alone sometimes.

I don't believe it's weird for a person to want some long solitary moments, away from the hub-bub of work and family. I love alone time. Occasionally I will just get in my car by myself and drive a hundred miles, spending an afternoon going nowhere and allowing my mind to roam as well. No music. No radio. The habit developed because it used to be the only way I could get away from ringing phones or people knocking on my door.

Living in a small town, one can't go to local parks, cemeteries or other quiet spots without meeting someone you know and having to strike up a conversation. You can't sit in your yard or even do yard work without neighbors interrupting your thoughts or passersby stopping by for a social chit-chat. The alternative is to shut one's self in the house or just drive away.

Now that one of my children has a farm, I'll sometimes escape there just to listen to the wildlife and the breeze softly playing the needles of the pine trees. If there were an ocean nearby, I'd be sitting on the dock of a bay, watching the tide roll away, not really wasting my time.

For some, an hour simply soaking in the bathtub is enough alone time. For others it's hiking, running, or fishing. Whatever your alone time is, take time to do it and shut off the MP3 player, the radio, the TV, and other distractions and take time to discover something about yourself.

Here are some other quotes about solitude:

Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone. - Paul Tillich

The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. - Albert Einstein

The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil. - Thomas A. Edison

We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart... and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together.... I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude. - Helen Hayes

The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which is the incubator of the spirit. - Marya Mannes

True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. - William Penn

Solitude never hurt anyone. Emily Dickinson lived alone, and she wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has ever known... then went crazy as a loon. - Lisa Simpson

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