Life and Solitude

To many people, solitude is simply a sophisticated way to describe being alone. But solitude is more than just being alone. It is the essence of quiet times that allow us to think, to plan, to reflect upon things that might have been or things that will be. Solitude can also be a breeding ground for loneliness. It can make those of us that travel reflect on an empty room, or times missed with family and friends. All too often, solitude becomes an enemy and not a friend.In and of itself, solitude is a condition of peace that can confront loneliness with a vengeance. The enjoyment of life requires us to take time by ourselves to know ourselves, otherwise we would never know which direction to take and certainly not the direction that will ultimately make us the most happy. This week we were given a small taste of spring after many long weeks of winter. You could actually open the windows and breathe fresh air without freezing the more important parts of your anatomy. It became clear that nature can provide a great source of solitude and with it, joy for the inner being. The struggle to slow the grinding gears of life is difficult, but worth the effort.

I say all of this to ask you to take some time for yourself, only yourself. Though it may sound selfish, you earn the right simply by living each day. Every now and then, it is important to recharge your batteries. Finding solitude, wherever it may be, will provide you a sense of peace that will make a difference in every aspect of your life. So go ahead, it's OK to spend some time alone. Enjoy your solitude.


"I have often said that the sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room...What people want is not the easy peaceful life that allows us to think of our unhappy condition, nor the dangers of war, nor the burdens of office, but the agitation that takes our mind off it and diverts us. That is why we prefer the hunt to the capture. That is why men are so fond of hustle and bustle; that is why prison is such a fearful punishment; that is why the pleasures of solitude are so incomprehensible." - Pensees by Pascal

"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do." - B.F. Skinner

"Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will." - Martin Luther King Jr.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” - Henry David Thoreau

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great person is one who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson




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