Solitude and Serenity

Hi all. If you’re in the States, I hope you all had a great Memorial Day. If not, I hope you get a chance for a relaxing 3 day weekend soon, too.

This will be a short post. I got myself sick over last weekend. Maybe some bad BBQ at the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race / tailgate I was at on Sunday. I’ll never know what it was. I do know that I missed my planned post on Monday and todays will also be a little light sinced I’ve been knocked on my butt and been spending most of my in a demi-nap in front of the TV watching history lectures.

But all of that time hasn’t been wasted. I’ve found serenity in my solitude and I’ve thought a bit on this. Fortuitously for me, Serenity is this month’s RAOKA theme (click that link to learn more) and other bloggers have been writing about solitude lately so I have some great hooks.

Serenity

Lori over at Jane Be Nimble has been nice enough to define serenity so I won’t repeat that here. For myself, my definition is a peaceful calm. Whenever I hear the term, I envision the lakes I have canoed with my father, brother and friends in the lakes region of northern Minnaesota in the Canadian Boundary Wilderness area. However you define the word, whatever image your mind’s eye would associate with the term, we can all agree this is a good, admirable thing to be. Perhaps something even we should seek to understand and posess.

Solitude

Solitude has a much different connotation to most people than does serenity. But it shouldn’t. Solitude is not lonliness. Being alone does not necessarily mean you are lonely. Sometimes you need solitude. In fact, I think, we may be missing out on our Daily RDA (required daily allowance) of solitude as it is.

Solitude and Creativity

Leo of Zen habits recently wrote an excellent piece on the one, chief, common habit of creative people.

Creativity flourishes in solitude. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.

He goes on to list other quotes and other habits of highly creative types so there is little for me to add except to ask you to review the great things you have done in your life. While they likely involved the help and support of other people, I’d bet none of that success would have been possible without you having to sequester yourself from time to time to address your own concerns, center your own mind, and achieve the many mini-victories that are needed for success.

Solitude and Focus

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Are you the same person when you are alone as you are in the group? Do you remain focused and true to yourself? Healthy Lifestyle Design reminded me of this quote today but there is a truly great write up on the subject (and more) over on Being Your Own Man post at The Art of Manliness. By all accounts this is good advice for women, as well.

Solitude and Appreciation

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Spending time away from the people, habits, and routines that we usually spend our time with illustrates those whom we love. As well as those we could do without.

Solitude and Serenity

History is littered with men of achievement who took time away to refocus themselves to their tasks. There are the religious icons of Jesus, Mohammed, and Confucious. There are the statesmen like Washington and there are geniuses of the past like Einstein and Edison. If by practicing a bit of solitude now and then can enable creativity, grant us focus, generate appreciation and spark achievement is it a stretch to think it might just lead to serenity as well?

Comments

  1. avatar Lori Franklin says:

    Hi Ted!
    Lovely!
    You’ve described A wonderful concept — linking solitude to serenity.
    Another thing I have noticed about your writing is how well you incorporate other’s ideas into your posts. I think this a wonderful trait in you and I thank you for including me amongst such great writers and thinkers.

    Keep up the great work and your engaging writing style, Ted. I am often moved by your writing and comments in the blogosphere.
    Shaka that!
    ~xo

  2. Have to give credit where credit is due, Lori! The only drawback is when you and Josh and Chris and Ali (and everyone else I am just learning now by name) come here and write these comments. I become tongue-tied and each reply and thank you seems pale.

    I do try to build on the conversations I hear and read. To paraphrase (Newton I think / hope?); “If my blog is at all interesting, it is because I have stood on the posts of giants.”

    Thanks again for all the warm encouragement!

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