Solitude vs Loneliness

“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
(Pixaby)

I know what you must be thinking… ‘another post about isolation, rona lockdown, spring fever.’ Yes? Perhaps.

In the darkness of night, I have difficulty with the feeling of being physically isolated and, let’s face it, lonely.

Psychologists teach that chronic loneliness can be painful, punishing, depressing, cause psychosis, and make one more susceptible to disease. It can also lead to excesses like alcoholism and overeating. Solitary confinement is used as a form of torture.

But my over-active mind came to a realization this morning that I felt worth sharing. Yes, I am feeling physically lonely. Sure, I have the ‘House Party’ app and use it to talk to family and friends. I use the ‘Messenger’ app to ‘do faces’ with my four year old granddaughter (at her request). I even went back to facebook to interact with friends from all over. But my mind, this overactive, maddening, overthinking, asshole mind, still feels alone.

“We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.”

― Hermann Hesse

That’s where the word Solitude comes in. A thought in the aforementioned mind came forward today, “Why don’t you try Solitude?”

Solitude is a much softer word that evokes positive feelings instead of negative. Being alone but not lonely. Finding empowerment in one’s innermost self. Solitude can be described as joyful instead of painful, uplifting instead of depressing.

By turning inward, Solitude can help us find strength, embrace creativity, and solve problems. It can also help us avoid catching this virus.

My feelings of loneliness have shifted to embracing solitude. I will endeavor to never feel lonely again.

“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”

― Albert Camus, Notebooks 1951-1959

XO Lisa

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