As my world spins faster and faster—or maybe it just seems that way when a text message can travel from Italy to Colorado in fractions of a second— I have looked for ways to cope with the resulting pressures. This last year I have found it more than necessary to maintain some semblance of balance and some sense that I am the one steering the ship of how my time is spent.
I had begun to feel overloaded, overreacting to minor annoyances and feeling like I could never catch up. One of the best ways I found to cope was by seeking, and enjoying, solitude.
There is a world of difference between solitude and loneliness. They sometimes look a lot alike because both are characterized by solitariness but the appearance is only on a surface level.
Loneliness is a negative state, marked by a sense of isolation. One feels that something is missing. I remember a friend once telling me that you could be in a room full of people and still feel lonely. On the other hand, solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. In this state you provide yourself with wonderful and sufficient company and you don’t desire to be with others, you simply desire to be alone with yourself.
In my moments of solitude I have spent time reflecting on whether I use time efficiently for the projects and activities I engage in. I’ve searched within myself to determine if I do these activities because I want to do them or if, instead, I have been heavily influenced by someone else often resulting in an end project or outcome that isn’t even ‘me‘.
In moments of solitude I’ve had time to experience the beauty of nature. I’ve had more time for deep theological reading, meditating, memorizing and prayer because these are the backbone of my life and gives me great joy.
“Solitude suggests peacefulness stemming from a state of inner richness. It is a means of enjoying the quiet and whatever it brings that is satisfying and from which we draw sustenance. It is something we cultivate. Solitude is refreshing; an opportunity to renew ourselves. In other words, it replenishes us.”
In my solitude I have concluded to buy the best quality yarn that I can afford. Why? Because there are just as many stitches in an article knit with poor quality yarn as there is with good quality yarn. The article knit with poor quality yarn will not last through half a dozen wearings whereas the other will be an heirloom quality creation.
Solitude brought me to realize that there will always be more new and exciting things to knit, spin or quilt around the corner, never-ending in fact. It helped me realize that there is great value in finishing the TKGA Master Knitting Courses and I need to beware of projects that distract from staying the course for they will always be there. The time is now.
In my solitude I remembered what my mother taught me about choosing friends. She told me that if a ‘friend’ tore other people down behind their backs then that friend most likely was doing the same about me when she spoke to others and I shouldn’t trust that ‘friend’. And, in my solitude I remembered the proverbs which tell us not to associate with those who have hot tempers lest we learn their ways nor with those who betray the confidence of others. I was betrayed this year. But no ill usage has branded its record on my feelings. Life is too short for nursing animosity or registering wrongs.
We all need those periods of solitude, although our different personalities will differ in the amount of solitude we need. I have a friend who loves being with people and her worst nightmare is to be stranded on a desert island. Solitude looks different for her than it does for me. For me, solitude is essential so that I can regain perspective and see what I should prioritize in my life. It renews me for the challenges of life. It shows me when the schedules and demands start running my life and it allows me, once again, to become the Mistress of My Domain.