There is a famous Three Dog Night song entitled “One is the Loneliest Number”. However is this really true? In our fast paced, complicated lives, we are encouraged to “Just Do It” and make it all happen. We are enticed with emails about fabulous vacations, delicious restaurants, and online classes, etc. We watch reality TV and other shows that make us want to do more and achieve everything on our bucket list – yesterday.
The reality is that for us to achieve true wellness, we must stop and have quiet time. We must have time to reflect, ponder, and dream. The most creative people set aside time to do this. They envision things and play them out in their minds. They brainstorm in their heads and just imagine. When was the last time you “allowed” yourself to do this? If you did this recently, did you feel guilty, that you should have been “doing” something instead?
According to Dictionary.com, the word “solitude” means the state of being or living alone, seclusion. It sounds so negative to me. All I think of are movies when the prisoner is put in solitary confinement. So to put a positive spin on this, I realized that if I want to have some quiet time, I need to create a place where there are no disruptions and is peaceful. It needs to be in a room that has calming colors (like pastels for me) and is free of gadgets including TVs and other devices. Plants and soothing pictures of birds and butterflies are in this room.
In addition, I schedule this time because like many, my calendar is very full. Besides running two businesses and being the mother of three teenagers, there is not a lot of free space on my calendar. By scheduling some quiet time and putting a Do Not Disturb sign on my door, everyone knows to leave me alone (except my cats).
I may have a cup of tea with me but otherwise there is nothing for me to center my thoughts on. I close my eyes and try to let my imagine run wild. This is not necessarily meditation time where I am focused on my breathing, but more letting me just think about anything I want to with no constraints. Sometimes it is about new presentations I want to create, a blog idea, or just what new recipe I want to have for dinner. Other times I imagine myself in a foreign land and meeting amazing people. Regardless of what I am thinking, I do not judge or critique my thoughts and I do not think about what others would think. Some thoughts and dreams are pretty crazy.
I try to stay in the room for at least 20 minutes. I am known for setting a timer outside my door to let me know when time is up versus looking at a clock or my cell phone. Usually I feel refreshed but I admit there are times when I am frustrated. I feel this way either because I wish I could have more alone time (I feel like waking up from a dream too early) or I feel that there is now way too much to do because I came up with more ideas of things I want to accomplish. Argh! Luckily this frustrating feeling doesn’t happen often and when it does, it is usually for a short period of time.
If you are the type that can’t sit still, try this for 5 or 10 minutes. Also allow some time afterwards to write down some thoughts or ideas that you may have come up with or things that you want to discuss with others. Regardless of how you do this, remember that our brain like our body needs down time and this is a wonderful way to do it.