“Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in …. A place apart—to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.” Mary Oliver
Do you find any value in meditation or writing? Are they similar in some way? What does quiet time mean for you?
The Challenge of Distractions
I keep planning to do daily meditation again. The life in this country seems so chaotic and crazy that it’s too easy to get upset and distracted and I know meditation will help me find the peace for which I long and clear my head and heart. It will also help me get back to writing, quieting my mind so new ideas may rise to the surface.
But I don’t. I need to check my email. See if I have enough left-overs for lunch. Make another doctor’s appointment. Check next week’s meeting time. It never ends – because I don’t end it.
I’m old enough to remember the time when we all communicated only with phones. We didn’t have the distractions of Facebook or even email. I also was unmarried most of my life. Now I’m married but to a man who is very disciplined about doing his writing work in his home office. While we do have a life together, I can’t blame him for my inability to find time alone. He respects whatever I need.
Sitting in Silence
In some way, I think I’ve forgotten how rich the aloneness of meditation is, but I was reminded in a very dynamic way last week at the Jung meetup we attended. The topic was “projections.” After the speaker gave us a meaningful introduction to the topic, we sat in silence in the dark to get in touch with our inner Selves.
At first, I was just grateful that this quiet time was structured into the event. I had no excuse not to do it. I was so involved with the evening’s topic that I had already let go of the day’s annoyances. Taking a few deep breaths, my mind cleared and kundalini energy raced up my spine and opened my mind to the universe. I was so surprised by this that I dropped back into my body.
Wisdom of the Inner Self
Slowly, I moved back into a meditative space to ask, “What do I need to release?” The quiet settled in. The answer came—“jealousy and anger.” The anger didn’t surprise me, but the jealousy did. “I’m not jealous of anyone,” I thought. “I have everything I need.” But that wasn’t what my deeper Self was saying.
Then a picture formed in my head. I was sitting and listening to a person talk about his years growing up and all the advantages he had, and I was overcome with a deep sadness that he had opportunities I never had growing up as a child whose family had little money. There were many things we didn’t have or couldn’t afford that others I went to school with had. I couldn’t buy a dress because we could only afford what my mother made for me. I couldn’t take dance lessons or buy the best dolls. We couldn’t afford to go to Disney World.
As the meaning of this message became clear, I took a deep breath, I smiled and sent love to the child within me, letting go of the feelings of lack that accompanied the message. I’m an adult now and have more than I need.
Our time was up, but I felt peaceful. I would look more closely at my anger issues another time. We wrote in our journals then left in silence. I wrote, “The Universe is there for me with its gifts of silence and love. Within it, I am One and all creativity connects and flows through me.”
Loving Our Inner Selves
Today, after many months of not writing my blog, I have written. It feels good. I love writing because my inner Self is good company. She thinks a lot and feels many emotions. She perceives life in interesting ways. She reveals insights that my mind alone would never conjure up. She can also be outrageous and crazy, but she’s never boring.
And perhaps this is the greatest gift that solitude affords us even if we aren’t writers: to like whoever we are in that solitude and to be a friend to ourselves. We may be different out in the world where so many challenges press upon us. We may not always handle them well. We may not always find the best solution to a problem, but whoever we are in that solitude is the self we must love. By doing so we can become the person we truly desire to be.
Footnote: On the day I started writing this blog, Mary Oliver died. I love her poetry and am very connected with nature. I feel a tremendous loss as, I’m sure, many of you do. That day my husband sent me the following piece written by Mary Oliver. Please read it. It is beautiful as always and applies to any creative endeavor.