"One of the greatest moments in anybody's developing experience is when he no longer tries to hide from himself but determines to get acquainted with himself as he really is."
--Norman Vincent Peale, as quoted in "Secrets Happy People Know"
I spent a lot of time by myself yesterday - working on researching the spiritual disciplines of Meditation and Solitude. Each month our church focuses on a spiritual discipline that we could all learn more about, and how to incorporate it into our lives. I'm usually the one doing the behind-the-scenes research, organizing, and explaining to other leaders in the church. I like this job. Doing this "field work" every month has helped my spiritual life immensely!
So after compiling pages and pages of info, I meet with a group of people so we can plan out the month. It always leads to interesting conversation - and this month the focus was on Solitude. Why on earth would anyone want to experiment with Solitude?! We strive so hard to NOT be alone. We listen to ipods, carry cell phones and iphones, we have the tv and computer on at all times, we belong to group after group after team so we never have to be home... We get antsy in silence and can't handle being alone for more than a few minutes... I found a quote that basically said: we don't want to be alone because it means we have to look at ourselves in the mirror.
As the group talked around and around about this topic... I mostly sat back and listened. I think I'm weird. I'm definately a people person - and love distractions just as much as the next person... But I don't think I've ever been afraid of solitude either. In fact, I crave it. I feel lucky that I can work at home on Mondays - reading, writing, and figuring out how to apply the principles I talk about at work to my own life. On Tuesdays through Thursdays I work at the office - but my afternoons are pretty quiet in the office. With only 3 staff members and one of them gone by noon... it gets pretty quiet! Fridays are my day off - but not my husband's - and I have to say, I love having a day to myself to do whatever I want! I have Solitude built into my life on a daily and weekly basis... And I don't know what I would do if I couldn't have that anymore!
I was trying to think of why I am this way... Maybe it's because we moved a few times when I was growing up? It takes a while to make new friends. But I don't remember ever feeling "lonely." I loved reading and drawing and playing make believe... Maybe it's because I'm an introvert and have my own little world inside anyway?
One of the other quotes I read said that to be able to be alone enables you to find confidence in yourself, so that when you're in the world, you are able to stay true to your values and beliefs and not fall prey to the world's pressures. I think that's true, too. I spend a lot of my alone time reading, praying, journaling, and thinking about my life - where it is, where it's going, and who I want to be as I continue my journey... I think it does make you stronger - as opposed to those who never give a thought to who they are and want to be.
Anyway... I'm rambling. Lots of thoughts going through my head about this upcoming month of talking about Meditation and Solitude.... Should make for some good discussion!
Things I am thankful for today:
1. An interesting job.
2. Coffee with a friend!
3. Getting to be creative at work.
4. Working as a team.
5. Deep thoughts.
6. The hubby stopping by work for a bit.
7. People who notice the work I do.
8. A good, short, and sweet meeting!
9. My mom and dad working as a team on the picket line!
10. Going to bed early.