The Art of Solitude

By November 16, 2012Uncategorized

A speaker, named Susan Cain, at the now famous TED conference gave a stunning presentation on the plight of the introvert. Hidden among the many messages she shared with the audience was this: We each need time for solitude! Ideas, she said, need time to incubate, and this cannot happen in an environment of cacophony. Our world has become very noisy today, most notably digital noise, but let us not ignore the noise of perpetual conversation. Rarely are people ever alone! More rare is the time for self-reflection; time to sort out your thoughts, feelings and gain perspective on the direction of your life.  A stressed mind is a noisy mind. Solitude offers the chance to quite the mind; in essence, creating a “mental detox” from all the sensory stimulation and bombardment,not to mention ego chitter-chatter, that can derail even the sharpest of minds. It wasn’t that long ago that Sunday’s were considered to be a day of solitude. Stores were actually closed. Solitude has an essence of sacredness. Honor this. In our fast paced 24/7/365 world, solitude has become a rare commodity; one we would do well to invest in.
Stress Tip for The Day:
Take an honest look at your typical day and ask yourself how much time do you spend in complete solitude (no computer, no Ipod, no conversations, virtual or otherwise). Think healthy boundaries. If you meditate the answer is simple. Reading a book doesn’t count. Some people are afraid to be alone. They gain their energy from others, but solitude, whether you are an introvert or extravert, is as essential as taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Make time for more solitude in your life. Find a place to sit alone and contemplate the quietness of the world.
Links and Books of Note:
Here is the link to the TED talk mentioned above:
And here is the book the presenter has written on the topic. I highly recommend it.
Quotes of the Day:
“I live in the solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.” — Albert Einstein
“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 Hays, Actor
“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” —Henry David Thoreau
Photo of the Day
I am in County Donegal, Ireland on a business trip, relaxing at the Lough Eske Castle hotel. This is a photo of one of the many private living rooms, where this couch, not to mention the fire in the fireplace, begs for someone to enjoy the solitude…. which I did. 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 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website:
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.
Brian Luke Seaward

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