The artist who, craving solitude, achieves it too little, feels sad and cheated; a dozen busy days are no substitute for one rich hour of solitude. ~ Eric Maisel, Affirmations for Artists
On Sunday morning, after a full week of enjoying grandchildren and contending with responsibilities of elder care and a busy household, I got four hours of solitude. It was not at all planned, but a time dropped in my lap: here, a blessing.
A rainy morning. I curled in an overstuffed chair in the living room with my journal and books, questions and prayers. Several times I cocked my ear. Silence in the house. Unbelievable. I could hear the birds outside. I think I began to breath for the first time in a week. I had not noticed I wasn’t breathing fully, until I began to do so. By the time people came knocking at my world, I felt energized and eager to see them. I felt as if I’d been plugged in and recharged by the hours of solitude where I could hear myself think some surprising thoughts.
The effect of those hours of solitude on my mind, spirit, and body is stark proof to me that I need that sort of withdrawal from the world on a regular basis. I’ve been aware of this need, and I’ve even written about it, but I think now I know that I know that I know. It is akin to an engine’s need for oil. Just this morning I took my car in to have the oil changed. I am as regular as clockwork about this, for I know the better I provide what my car engine needs, the longer it will last. I don’t just wait for the oil and time to change it to show up–I schedule it.
It is time that I began scheduling my solitude, and great swaths of it. It doesn’t matter what others think of my need and behavior. I know that in order to keep operating my best, even sometimes operating at all, I need time alone to listen to the silence, to dream, to explore, and just to be.
Image by jennecy via Flickr
I published this post back in 2010, came across it today and decided to repost this reminder for myself and anyone else who may need it. We all have shattered dreams. Yet within them, there will be sparkles of joy. Let me not miss them.
* * * * *
A friend was talking to me yesterday. She had struggled through an abusive marriage, painful divorce, trying to keep a roof over her head and raise three children. She has health problems, too, and it seemed that for twenty years all she could see were pieces of shattered dreams at her feet. She said something that really struck me– “I let Christmas get hard for me over those years. I don’t have to do that anymore. I can let go of all that and claim the joy of Christmas again.”
That’s it, isn’t it? We let things go, let them be buried under the inevitable difficulties of life. My friend reminded me that we don’t have to do that, and that it is up to us to claim our joy. No one can do this for us. We each have to do it ourselves.
No matter where we are, no matter how large the painful circumstance, or maybe a nagging one that has been hanging on for years, we don’t have to let that pain overshadow the joy of Christmas. Christmas joy is a gift already given to us. All we have to do is open our heart to accept it.
As a gift of joy to you, I’d like to share an excerpt of a short story I wrote years ago for a Harlequin Historical anthology, entitled Once Upon A Christmas… Read more
“What distinguishes writers from non writers and would-be writers is that writers write.” ~Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life
Notice it is write, not publish. While I can fine writing terribly hard work, the hardest thing for me is being a writer.
On finding peace:
“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” ~Eckhart Tolle
On life on earth:
“You are entitled to say NO to whatever gets in the way of your creative force and keeps it from bringing you a life of abundance. You are uniquely needed in this world, but only if you say no to the barricades.” ~ James Altucher & Claudia Azula Altucher, The Power of No