Every viewpoint is a view from a point.
|A Cottage by the Sea||
I want to write about the peaceful rhythm of solitude that I am feeling this morning. I want to share it with those of you who check into this blog, because I know that you also are looking for silence, solitude, and simplicity and sometimes like to be alone. And yet, I don’t know what to say.
For me, it’s a mind set rhythm, more than the need to make major changes in my life-style. My husband and I live a simple, retired life. Right now my primary challenge is not to worry about what might happen (What if I can’t bring in the wood for the wood stove next winter!) Basically, I am not a worrier, my glass is always half full, and often overflowing. But as we age, the winter cold and snow can tip the glass.
For you who are not into the retired life stage, you who have jobs and kids at home, your rhythm is different—in has to be. I know this because that was me earlier in my life. The rhythm of those moments of silence, solitude, and simplicity was staccato. For me it was early morning; I loved those moments, especially on the weekends. It was during those years of early Saturday mornings that I tapped into this longing, and began building times of solitude into my life. When I retired from teaching, I began solitary travel and then rented the cottage by the sea for five years. Now my home satisfies the longing.
What advice do I have for you? Follow your bliss. Sit in the silence and listen to what you are to do to fulfill the longing.... Well, that’s what I have to say!
It isn’t difficult to come up with gratitude these days. Just hop into a hot shower and you’ll be there. This morning that’s where I was.
I try not to feel guilty about what I have, but I do pay attention to all the all the ease in my life, and remind myself that what I have is gift. Sure, I’ve worked hard, but no question I was given a full tool box, the deluxe edition with 10 different wrenches, not 2, a paint box with 36 tubes, not 8.
Now the challenge. How to share the tools and the paints?
This week I’m clearing out my files and my calendar. Having stuffed files and a stuffed calendar is taking up too much space in my life. I long for a life of silence, solitude and simplicity, not just a couple of moments of it before I fall asleep.
I created this kind of life during my five years when I rented the cottage by the sea, and I experience such times often here in this old house. But now that we seem to be settling into another year of Covid isolation, I want to create a daily rhythm that sounds more like a piano sonata than a marching band. The files are coming along fine, and this week I cleared the calendar of a book group.
I written about a word for the year; a word that represents what I wants to concentrate on and work from January through December. I couldn’t decide upon one word for 2021, so I picked two, patience and availability. Here’s my assessment, half way into February.
Patience. My impatience is never volatile, nor is it obvious as I go about my life. But I am aware of subtle, irrational annoyances that arise when things don’t as fast as I’d like, or when they get in the way of what I’m doing. Awareness is the first step to changing a bad habit, and thus, to help me stay attentive and let go, I’m doing my best to apologize to myself and/or the person who has received my subtle annoyance.
Availability. I’m available to many people in my life. No problem there. One challenge, however, is to be available not only on my terms, but in ways that others would like me to be. Another challenge is to be available to people who might need/want my time but to whom I don’t really want to give it.
Silence, solitude, and simplicity gives me the time and atmosphere to ponder this things. Because I don’t want to fill my life with busyness and distractions, I welcome ways to be more loving and honest.
We have been blessed with several February days of snow. I say blessed because, if we so choose, a snowfall can offer silence, solitude, and simplicity. That choice has be a challenge because I’ve had to shovel again and again. But then I come in to sit and rest, I look out the window and see a cardinal sitting and resting on our big rhododendron bush. He and I are in silence, solitude, and simplicity together.
Aside from a sore arm, my husband and I are feeling no side effects from our first vaccine. Should we be worrying that we are not developing antibodies? I think not. Don’t go there!
Most mornings I write upstairs in the Angel Room, but today I came down so I could soak in the sun coming through the sunroom windows. Isn’t that what a sunroom is for? I think yes. I will go there!
As I sit here I find myself transported back to my cottage-by-the-sea days when I would sit on the deck (an inside sunny room overlooking the ocean) and write. A sunny room offers positive ambience. But is there such a thing as a rainy room? A rainroom? Next time it rains, do I want to sit in a rainroom? I think not. Don’t go there!
And what about a snowroom? Next time it snows, I might like to sit here and watch the snow perform its dance on the windows. Of course, neither rain or snow comes into the room. Sunshine does!
Through this slide show I invite you to go there and enjoy the positive ambience!
Today we happily welcomed the plumber to fix our downstairs broken hot water pipe. Not a big deal in this old house, due in part because there is no cellar under the kitchen and bathroom—thus water just fades away into the ground. Good news: pipe easily fixed. All appliances available; just keep the floor space open for heat.
Other good news. The other morning my husband and I each went on line at 12:01 AM and got vaccine appointments for February 9 and March 3 at a CVS just four miles from our house.
I doubt that we will go out much more often after our two vaccines. It feels like our life is busy enough as it is right now. It still difficult to find enough time for silence, solitude, and simplicity but I know better than to blame life. It’s up to me to find it.
It has been over a week since I last posted. I had planned to get back on an every-other-day routine, but then some more of life happened. This time I agreed to offer the meditation for Sunday’s on-line church service. With only seven days to think up something worthy to say, then write it up, and go to church to record it, I had to give up on any other writing.
Now I’m back to the blog until more life happens. I just returned from a quick trip to Wild Birds Unlimited for birdseed. Evidently the birdseed business is booming. Nice for the birds to benefit from the pandemic!
Until I get the vaccine, I’ll be settling into a more extended schedule of solitude. I’m thinking… channel those days at the cottage by the sea. I’ve cancelled my Tuesday volunteering at the food pantry.
Speaking of vaccine, many friends are going on line at CVS at midnight for an appointment. Others are getting appointments for Gillette Stadium, the home of the Patriots. We’ve chosen to wait for our local hospital to email us. Hmm, they are waiting for a supply. Evidently, CVS bought the vaccine from Pfizer while our federal government were….well, not buying.
Much has happened since I last wrote six days ago. To keep with New Years terms, the old has gone, the new has been ushered in. We have a new president sleeping in the White House. In my immediate life, two church members have died. Both lived long lives worth celebrating and passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family members.
The comings and goings of life, the beginnings and endings, the births and deaths! Sometimes literal, other times symbolic; sometimes joyful, other times sorrowful; always nuanced for us as we pick ourselves up and move forward.
I am grateful that I have solitude to work with all these changes—grateful for the physical time and for the peace that I feel when I am alone.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org