“Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone. Solitude expresses the glory of being alone.” ~ Paul Tillich
One of the first things to suffer or threaten to disappear postpartum is time alone. I have always valued time alone because it has always been a vital component of my how-I-stay-sane routine. The weekend before my wedding I went away for a solo weekend. It’s still one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I haven’t fully worked out how to carve out time alone at this stage of my life but I do steal some here and there.
Strangely enough, it seems that these days, the one place I am guaranteed that I will never be alone is in the toilet. Something about me going to do my toilet business just says to my son crawl after and right up to mummy, use her legs to stand up and look at her with an adorable little face and beg to be picked up. *face palm* It’s cute in an only-a-mother-can-because-anyone-else-would-think-its-weird way.
I do get some short, vital moments of solitude when I go for a run or a walk or when I stay up long after everyone in my house is asleep and sometimes when I read (this one works even when there are people around). It is while doing the latter that I came across this passage in Paulo Coehlo’s Manuscript Found in Accra and it resonated with me deeply.
“For those who are not frightened by the solitude, everything will have a different taste.
In solitude, they will discover the love that might otherwise arrive unnoticed.
In solitude, they will understand and respect the love that left them.
In solitude, they will be able to decide whether it is worth asking that lost love to come back or if they should simply let it go and set off along a new path.
In solitude, they will learn that saying ‘No’ does not always show a lack of generosity and that saying ‘Yes’ is not always a virtue.
And those who are alone at this moment, need never be frightened by the words of the devil: ‘You’re wasting your time.’
Or by the chief demon’s even more potent words: ‘No one cares about you.’
The Divine Energy is listening to us when we speak to other people, but also when we are still and silent and able to accept solitude as a blessing.
And when we achieve that harmony, we receive more than we asked for.”
― Manuscript Found in Accra
It reminded me of something I heard the other day that in order to attract love, contentment and healthy relationships (all kinds, not just romantic) one must work on being whole.
What do you do to stay in touch with yourself and to stay whole?