The Art of Solitude

By November 3, 2011Uncategorized

It was with amazement that I sat at an airport restaurant a few weeks ago and overheard an hour-long conversation in which the man sitting next to me gave a play-byplay overview of a baseball game on television. My first thought was he was chatting with a close friend. My second thought was that he was afraid of being alone. It has been noted that living in this high tech age that we are, it is seldom that we are ever alone. Whether it be texting, talking on the phone, posting (and reading) Facebook blurbs, or Skyping someone, technology has created a way to always be connected, every waking minute. While this may sound good, it has deprived us of the opportunity for quality alone time, Solitude; time to sit and contemplate our thoughts (and feelings) unencumbered by interruptions. The question begs to be asked, at what point does all this “connection” become a distraction? The fear of loneliness (directly tied to the fear of abandonment) is a very real fear. Yet the answer to loneliness isn’t necessarily constant companionship, real or virtual. The answer is learning to become comfortable with yourself at all times, alone and in the company of family and friends. Moments of solitude are a basic human right.

Stress Tip for the Day:

A common theme in holistic stress management is the concept of healthy boundaries; appropriate behavior. Take some time to review your relationship with technology. Are you a serial Facebook updater? Have your thumb muscles grown in size from all that texting? Do you leave your blue-tooth headset on even when you are not talking on the cell phone? Do you know how to be alone, without interruption (digital or otherwise) and feel comfortable with being alone? Consider taking a digital fast and spend some quality time getting to know you (your thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs) and see if there needs to be any fine-tuning in this self-relationship. Discover and cultivate the lost art of solitude!

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

The best book I have seen on solitude is by Anthony Storr, called Solitude; A Return to Self. I highly recommend it.

Quote for the Day:

“Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude, and the society of thyself.” — Thomas Browne

Photo of the Day:

While in Hawaii recently I had the chance to see some stunning sunsets. In trying to find the best vantage point I was careful not to disturb others who had staked out their spot of solitude. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

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