I think the topics presented in chapter 8 are perfect for this time of year.
There is something about September, the summer wind down, kids going back to school, and people organizing/re-organizing – that thrusts us into numerous social interactions – and increases the want or need for solitude.
As most of my clients are women and mothers, we often talk about ways to boost self-care when others are demanding their time, attention, energy, blood, sweat and tears. Ok, the “blood, sweat, and tears” part is my own stuff popping up because my multigenerational family is in transition and I’m really wanting to love on them and have solitude – at the same time.
As a recovering overachiever, it was great to read (in chapter 8) that engaging in solitude brings our attention back to what we really need. Yes, I know that, but I needed a reminder. I am distracted by getting things done, checking things off, taking care of others, connecting with others. And even though I’m super social and love people – solitude is also something I need to keep myself firing on all cylinders.
Do I feel guilty about this? No.
Do I feel silly for not recognizing it sooner? YES!
When I was thinking about how to strike the proper balance to keep my flow of consciousness in line with social activities and solitude – I had to remind myself of the tools I provide my clients with during my self-care course.
I encourage my clients to create a sanctuary they can visit every day. The point of this is to create a retreat where a person can go, relax, do nothing and refuel. I often do not use the word “solitude” because that raises the hairs on some people’s neck. They think I want them to take a vow of silence, grab a monk’s rob, and mediate for 8 hours each day. That’s all fine and dandy – but that’s not what I’m talking about.
Creating a sanctuary allows a person’s brain to take a break, connect with their emotions, reignite their spirits, and just breathe. We all have a tremendous amount of information coming at us – from people – through a lot of formats. That pushes us into overload when we try to keep up with all of that. There is this external expectation that we should try to keep up, but why? Really –have you asked yourself WHY you are trying to keep up with it all?
As chapter 8 explains, to keep our flow of energy sustainable and serving us – we have to be aware and conscious that where we place our energy and attention – that’s what shows up. If we create a sense of purpose in our interactions with others – it will not be hard to courteously excuse ourselves to have a moment of solitude. We will be fully aware of what’s OK and not OK in relationships – which increases our mindfulness in stepping back or away from what relationships that are under-serving us.
Is this a lot to digest? I think so. I had to read chapter 8 twice – take some time for solitude – and then write this post. Hence – the tardiness, but I have to practice what I preach, right?
Solitude Collage – Creating a visual sanctuary
Poster board (you decide the size)
Old magazines or newspapers
Markers or crayons
No explicit rules
Create a visual sanctuary collage that makes moments of SOLITUDE possible
Tap into your feeling states
Select pictures, colors, words, letters, etc– that draw you in
Select pictures, colors, words, letters, etc– that elicit calming and relaxing feelings, thoughts, emotions – etc.
Select words, pictures, objects that help you slow down and breathe deeply
Have fun with this
It’s not too late to join our discussions. Connect with the other coaches and check out the other chapters in this online book group.