Living in Ecuador, we were not wealthy but had a comfortable upper middle class life. There, I had zero responsibilities, a large social life and plenty of partying. I knew everybody, had many acquaintances but a handful of real friends.
Landing in the United States, without a word of English, not knowing anyone or any social contacts had a huge impact. Before moving I was always busy, like a busy bee; there was always noise around me, I always had something to do and someone to talk, I never had to be alone. All of a sudden I find myself in a strange country all alone with no communication skills.
Here, I quickly learned what solitude meant and was about. I learned more about myself and who I was. I was able to see the selfish and stupid side of me, the amount of time I had managed to waste, and more important, how I was throwing my life away!
Some nights after coming home, alone after work I would find myself crying; I cried not for pain or sorrow but for what I was finally able to see, for the awakening. I finally could identify my faults and see the unrealistic life I was living. I was crying tears of enlightenment! I was finally able to see a journey, it may not be the perfect journey but it was the journey for me. These were the tears of solitude.
Before, I was never alone, never knew how to be alone and never liked being alone. Now, I cherish my time, the time that I can dedicate to me and to my better understanding of myself. I treasure the ‘Magic of Solitude.’
Practicing solitude gave me the opportunity to rediscover my life. By withdrawing from my family, friends and acquaintances, I was able to remove their influence on me and to realign my mind and heart. I was able to evaluate my assumptions, people’s expectations, that often were incorrect.
Practicing solitude I am able to perceive my own heartbeat and breathing and able to pay attention to my mind, I can reflect on my past, understand my present situation and draft a blueprint for my future.
Practicing solitude I break the cycle of busyness in my life, and become better equipped to convey understanding and patience with others; turned into a more reliable husband, father, partner or friend.
_Now, how to practice solitude:
First, find a time and place were you could disconnect from the world. Begin with short periods, 5,10, 20, 30 minutes and allow yourself to wander, it is your alone time. Eventually, you will settle in on something that your mind has been trying to find an explanation, especially when you feel overwhelmed with responsibilities. Listen to it!
If you fall sleep, don’t worry, it means that you feel peace or just need the rest, so embrace it! This is your time to connect with God, with your senses, with your feelings and soul.
So, give solitude a chance; you don’t have anything to lose and plenty to learn and gain!