My last full day in Florence. My challenge is to stay in the moment, participate fully. As I write, this thought just came to me: when we live in the moment, we experience inner silence, solitude and simplicity. Or, is it the other way around; when we experience silence, solitude and simplicity, we live in the moment. Regardless, something new, call it peace, is created from the two, forming a trinity.
Observed on a truck parked in front of someone’s home today during my walk. I’m trying not to judge, so I won’t comment other than affirm the old adage that a picture’s worth a thousand words, and admit that this disrupts my sense of silence, solitude and simplicity.
We Scoop Pet Poop: Doody Calls.
Silence, solitude and simplicity was present during a recent visit to a friend’s home on Lake Winnipesaukee. In some ways I felt I was back at my cottage by the sea—coffee on the deck over looking the water, no news, a daily walk, and a clear meditative mind. And yet, there were beautiful differences—summer temperature, a lake, and companionship and conversation.
Silence, solitude and simplicity comes in many forms, and can be renewed in many ways. Very grateful.
Silence, solitude and simplicity are hard to catch in this world, especially when the first offerings of the day come from technology, politics, and the lure of money, or when my morning starts through the lens of computer, newspaper and TV. Friends tell me they love to start their day with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. I get the coffee part, but the newspaper part—not a good idea, at least for me. I find it almost impossible to avoid reading the headlines as I walk up the driveway with the newspaper, or commenting on them as I hand the paper, along with coffee, to my husband, who, needless to say, he is a coffee/newspaper man. Our one reprieve is that we start the morning mentioning what we are grateful for—which is often coffee and newspaper.
While my husband continues with coffee and newspaper, I go to the Angel Room and once again commit to meditating for twenty minutes before continuing my morning routine of silence, solitude, simplicity, and, coffee. Starting with meditation is a daily challenge, but when I give myself this time with the Holy, the lure of technology, politics and money fades into the background, with less chance of taking over during the day.
This centering time is important to me, not just personally, but for the planet. I believe this fragile, negative world we live in can only be turned around when the majority of its inhabitants feel, think and act positively, the essential ingredients for sending out love. Love and coffee go together.
I’m glad I am still writing this blog; it keeps me grounded; it reminds me that I want silence, solitude and simplicity and sometimes like to be alone. I began it in November 2009 when I started going to the cottage-by-the sea. My goodness, seven and a half years is a long time to keep something like this going day in and day out. I think there has only been one day when I missed posting a quote of the day.
Lately, however, my commitment to silence, solitude and simplicity has felt like a throw-away comment, like saying ‘have a good day’ but not paying attention to the meaning. I’ve become involved in activities at church, specifically Andrea Baker’s Sing Sistah Sing tonight. It is going to be wonderful. I have no regrets but my mind feels out of balance—too active at the expense of contemplation.
Consequently, my trip to Scotland May 24 to June 7 feels just right. One night in Oban, four on Iona, and eight in Edinburgh. “How About A Writing Vacation in Edinburgh?”
Next week, under the new blog heading A Solitary Traveler, I’ll post the article about a writing vacation in Florence.
I notice a longer gap than usual in my postings. Time has taken care of itself since I returned from Florence two weeks ago. My main focus last week was to catch up on visiting people. The days were busy and when evening came I had no energy for writing. I’m a morning person and that includes being a morning writer.
We also rented a dumpster; the attic, garage and barn are quite empty, with the exception of things we really want to keep. I have two closets to go, and that will be it. The dumpster will be filled, so take it away. Then back to the article about writing in Florence. A friend has read the latest draft and commented on Google Doc. I have new momentum.
In spite of being busy, however, I’ve had times of silence and solitude, and, believe it or not, my life feels simple. It’s a state of being, not what is on the calendar. I feeling purposeful. My life has meaning, and that is essential for all of us no matter what our age or circumstance.
I am experiencing a very contemporary practice in silence, solitude and simplicity. This one not by choice. I am without my cell phone.
As I was leaving Florence to catch the train to the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, I locked my phone in the apartment. The good news is that a friend has picked it up at the rental agency, and will mail it to me when she returns to the states later this week. The bad news is that I am without my phone/camera/watch. The good news is that I’m not upset about it, and, in fact, am doing quite fine without it.
In its absence, I notice there are several parallels to having a cell phone and having a dog. You have to keep paying attention to them. The phone rings, a text message beeps, you want to check your email, take a picture, or see what time it is. You don’t have to do all those things, but you do.
A dog, on the other hand, gives you no choice. It wants/needs to go out, be fed, be petted. Things you have to do.
The part I miss the most about my phone is the camera, which of course has nothing to do with a dog.
I’m home a day early. The short story, both fact and fiction, is that Alitalia change my flight from Tuesday (today) to Monday (yesterday). I found out about it when an email popped up telling me it was time to check for tomorrow’s flight.
“But I don’t fly until the day after, blah, blah, blah,” I told the computer, before deciding to do as it said and sign in for the flight that was currently in Alitalia’s system.
“It probably has to do with the strike on Wednesday. Didn’t they call you,” I heard from the attendant at check.
“I know nothing about a strike, and no, they didn’t call me.”
“So Italian,” I tell myself, and yet in looking back through my emails, I notice they had sneaked in the change. No blame game for me. I should have been more attentive; the airline was remiss.
The bad news is that I missed lunch with a friend. The good news is that I got home without a hitch, and I didn’t get upset about the change. Living into silence, solitude and simplicity paid off.
I continually long for silence, solitude and simplicity, but just when I think I’ve grasped them, life happens, and I am again reminded that these states of being are not permanently possessed. During each of the five winters I spent at the cottage of the sea, however, a rhythm of silence, solitude, and simplicity settled into me and even endured from season to season. In the two years since those days, that rhythm has been replaced by a cha-cha-cha, beat. A little silence, a little chatter/gossip; a little solitude, a little socializing; a little simplicity, a little complexity.
Those weekdays alone by the sea, followed by weekends at home, became a unique, sacred time in my life. They are over, but a new rhythm, involving travel, is finding its beat. Florence has become my new cottage by the sea. I am going there December 4-17 for silence, solitude and simplicity, and to write and do a little Christmas shopping. And, I hope to return there in the spring.
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4/30/15 Finishing up VG.