Now what? How do I use this precious time? Last night I had sushi with my dear friend Kelly, and she asked me what I was going to be doing this month. I had no idea. I mean, I had a sketchy idea in my head, but not a very good one. I thought I would figure it out this morning. Unfortunately, I had much of the night to think about it, because I didn't sleep very well (thanks to an unsettling letter from our Amish friends yesterday--sometimes the cultural and spiritual divide is so deep between us I worry that it is a chasm into which our relationship might fatally fall). I have also already spent 30 minutes this morning journaling my hopes for this month.
First, the logistics. I am committing to an hour of solitude a day. This means getting up earlier than usual, and once school starts, this means getting up at a godforsaken time that should leave me utterly despairing and ready for bed by 7:00 a.m. We will see. I know I could spend my time in the evenings, and once school starts I may do that--or I may divide my time up with 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. We'll see. I just love morning, once I get past the whole getting out of bed part.
This morning I asked myself what I was supposed to do for this solitude experiment, and the answer came back to me: "whatever you want." Well, that's a lovely thought, isn't it??? I do think I need to impose the restriction that my hour of solitude cannot involve technology, unless I am writing a blog post. This will require utmost resistance to temptation, as "writing a blog post" does not involve checking Facebook or the JoCo library page to see if a book has come in or that article I clicked from PBS this morning about iDisorders (I did actually just re-check that article to see if it was written idisorders or iDisorders, but I didn't actually read the article, so I don't think that counts as cheating). Never fear, I am sure that cheating will be involved at some point.
So, what to do? Here is my list so far. I fear that it is a treacherously boring list. To some, this list might be included in a blog post entitled, "How I Spell Torture," but for me...this is bliss. (Really, though, I hesitate to share this list. Perhaps you will truly realize what you have always suspected, that I am created from cells that are exceptionally dull, insipid, and uninteresting.) Anyway, here it is. Judge away:
- Praying the Liturgy of the Hours. I think I will include this time. I did this morning. It doesn't take very long, but I don't want to become resentful.
- Writing blog entries
- Reading (both books on solitude AND books for pleasure. Someone please remind me of this one. I NEED to allow myself time to read for pleasure, for the beautiful ache of a lovely sentence).
- Walking (this would have to be in the evenings or on a weekend, and not for exercise)
- Visiting a coffee shop (again, an evening or weekend thing)
- Visiting a museum (again, an evening or weekend thing)
Since I am just coming off of my month of praying the offices, I feel like I need to put something spiritual on my list like "pray" or "read the Bible." Quite frankly, however, that is not how I want to spend my hour of solitude. The last thing I need to do is make this hour duty-oriented. That would evaporate any joy or healing right out of it.
I do have a booklist for the month, of course. Here's to hoping I make time to read all of these (plus something truly delicious and lovely in the not-reading-for-education department).
- Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton
- The Power of Solitude: Discovering Your True Self in a World of Nonsense and Noise by Annemarie S Kidder
- The Call of Solitude: Alonetime in a World of Attachment by Ester Schater Buchholz
- Fifty Days of Solitude by Doris Grumbach
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
So...I raise my coffee cup to you this morning and say, "Here's to solitude." Happy August.