Tag Archives: Solitude

Time-machine powers

“Books have always been time machines, in a sense. Today, their time-machine powers are even more obvious – and even more inspiring. They can transport us to a pre-internet frame of mind.” – Michael Harris It’s really a bit frightening how quickly the widespread use of the internet, for everything from business to education to …

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Like someone running

“I disappeared into books when I was very young, disappeared into them like someone running into the woods. What surprised and still surprises me is that there was another side to the forest of stories and the solitude, that I came out that other side and met people there.” — Rebecca Solnit Unlike Solnit, I …

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Never far

“Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty.” —James Norwood Pratt It seems contradictory that a chatterbox such as I would love silence as much as I do, but there it is. Perhaps it comes of having lived with Jeff for so many years. Or perhaps, in …

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Hard to imagine

“Instead of running away from our loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, we have to protect it and turn it into a fruitful solitude. To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into …

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Knowing how to be

“…many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” ― bell hooks The photo above was taken in 1972, during one …

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Heart melodies

Bring me all of your dreams You dreamers, Bring me all of your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the world.  — Langston Hughes One great thing about dreaming, whether asleep or awake, is how portable it is. No place is more conducive to …

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In the woods

The bee is not afraid of me, I know the butterfly; The pretty people in the woods Receive me cordially. The brooks laugh louder when I come, The breezes madder play. Wherefore, mine eyes, thy silver mists? Wherefore, O summer’s day? — Emily Dickinson I wasn’t all that fond of Emily Dickinson’s poems when I …

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By the window

What life can compare to this? Sitting quietly by the window, I watch the leaves fall and the flowers bloom, As the seasons come and go.     — Hsueh-Tou Don’t you love sitting quietly by a window?  I don’t make enough time for it.  I always find it calming; the combination of sunlight (or moonlight) and …

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Be with yourself

“Children especially need solitude.  Solitude is the precondition for having a conversation with yourself.  This capacity to be with yourself and discover yourself is the bedrock of development.” — Sherry Turkle Much has been written about the changes technology is bringing to the way we relate to each other.  Does it connect us more closely, …

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Outwardly and inwardly

“To live fully, outwardly and inwardly, not to ignore the external reality for the sake of the inner life, or the reverse, that’s quite a task.” — Etty Hillesum Of all the frustrations I feel about time constraints, perhaps none is greater than wishing I had the time to stay in closer touch with so …

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The voice of the sea

“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.” — Kate Chopin The California Coast is wild and beautiful, rocky and cold, pounded relentlessly by crashing surf.  Though much of it is …

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Our consolation

“Gladly do we quit the dust and din …to go and breathe peacefully in some far-off nook of the woods, all surprise that the brook is so limpid, the forest so still, the solitude so enchanting. Thank God there are yet these uninvaded corners…The realm of silence is vaster than the realm of noise. Herein …

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A perfect ratio

“There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide, free, open, generous spacing among plants and animals…There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.” — …

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We need quiet

“Others inspire us, information feeds us, practice improves our performance, but we need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers.” ― Ester Buchholz Of all the seasons, winter seems most linked with quiet; short days, long nights, the silence of snowfall and the calming blank canvas of …

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The best remedy

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. …

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Remembering: Promises to keep

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  But I have promises to keep,  And miles to go before I sleep…”  — Robert Frost It’s tempting to be drawn into our own ruminations. Trouble can be an isolating experience, and solitude is a seductive force, both healing and dangerous. If we withdraw too long or too …

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Stimulating loneliness

“The loneliness you get by the sea is personal and alive. It doesn’t subdue you and make you feel abject. It’s stimulating loneliness.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh I connected immediately with Lindbergh’s words in the quote.  I’m seldom if ever at the sea all alone, but it always wraps me in a calming sense of …

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A combination

“Home is a combination of human will and divine grace.” — Alexandra Stoddard Whether we live alone or with family, whether we open our doors to traveling friends and adopted animals, or prefer a more solitary life, it takes substantial effort to create and maintain a home.  Despite what we sometimes refer to as modern conveniences, the …

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A safety place

“It is strange how a man believes he can think better in a special place. I have such a place, have always had it, but I know it isn’t thinking I do there, but feeling and experiencing and remembering.  It’s a safety place. Everyone must have one, although I never heard a man tell of …

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The incubator of the spirit

“The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which is the incubator of the spirit.”  — Marya Mannes I relish solitude, but loneliness is one of the most …

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Something is there

I go out to the pale dunes, to look over the empty spaces of the wilderness.   For something is there, something is there when nothing is there but itself, that is not there when anything else is. – Mary Oliver There are places where vast emptiness stretches so far as to suggest infinity.  The more …

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Another step toward simplicity

“Still another step toward simplicity is to refuse to live beyond our means emotionally.  In a culture where whirl is king, we must understand our emotional limits.” — Richard J. Foster Even positive emotions can become overwhelming.  Solitude, meditation or prayer are powerful allies in our struggle to remain balanced amid the tumult of stirring events that …

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Sit quietly in a room

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”  ―    Blaise Pascal For decades, every year until this one, I have spent much time meticulously decorating our Christmas tree, a sort of yearly scrapbook with an ever-growing collection of ornaments, each representing a memory.  I often question whether this …

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Promises to keep and miles to go

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  But I have promises to keep,  And miles to go before I sleep…”  — Robert Frost It’s tempting to be drawn into our own ruminations. Trouble can be an isolating experience, and solitude is a seductive force, both healing and dangerous. If we withdraw too long or too …

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