Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Solitude Revisited

I have always been a big fan of my 'personal time'.  And I have never been afraid of being alone and couldn't always understand people who had to always have people around them - 24/7, it seemed.  However, I now realize it can be taken to the extreme, when you feel like you have to go through everything in life, alone, never asking for help or friendship.

That said, at a time when many of my age are facing an empty nest, I still have a 'full nest', with daughter and grand daughter.  So personal time, quiet time, alone time are all hard to come by some days.  But on the other hand, I have opened myself up to more people, and as a result have made some new 'old' friends.

But I had come home from the hike this weekend, feeling a bit down, because as usual, I was the tail end of the group and others were having to wait on me.  They NEVER made me feel like it was an issue, all that was on my head.  But I still felt bad and started all the 'inner critic' talk to myself - too fat, too unfit physically...you get the idea.

Then as I was going through the blogs I read, I came across this posting by Lynn Viehl of Paperback Writer talking about solitude.  It really struck a note with me and helped me put this weekend into perspective.

Yes, this was the view I had most of the hike, alone, no one around me.  What I heard was bird song and the roar of the river.  What it allowed me to do was have my mind wander as I hiked along.  Things I was thinking about were - 

Could Texter and I hike this with Lady K in a pack?  Tough, but we could do it.

What did the first people coming here feel like?  This is something I have thought often about since coming to Montana.  Montana has a very vast and diverse landscape.  And wind.  What did those first pioneers think about, huddled in their cabins or tents with the wind blowing so strong?  And even knowing there were 8 people just a few steps away, I was alone.

My mind did drift occasionally to the mundane - what bills did I need to pay on payday?  What groceries did I need to buy this week?

It also toyed with the writing projects I have going and the knitting I am doing and the pile of books by my bedside that need reading.

But there were times I just 'was'.  Listening to my breathing, my heart beating (yes, hiking is a cardiac workout for me!), and just being in the moment - a walking meditation.  It also pointed out to me I needed to unplug more - Facebook doesn't need to be checked a dozen times a day, nor does my email.

So now that I have shut up my inner critic, this weekend wasn't just about a hike to see a water fall, but a time of solitude, to recharge, to regroup, to spend time with myself inside and out.  

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