For the first time in weeks I haven’t uttered a single word for hours. I am alone, but not lonely. I’ve been practicing sitting meditation on the foreshore in Cowes. The tension in my hands and the sounds around me were particularly noticeable tonight … long after the sun dipped out of sight.
Solitude is a precious gift and I am attracted to the wee challenges that solitude brings. For me, new and old questions emerge from time alone. Not during the ‘unfocussed’ and ‘busy’ times alone, but rather the times when we allow ourselves to be still … non judgmental … present to all that is around us … compassionate with oneself and others.
I hold many questions that sit in the background of my mind – the same part of the brain that is activated when a song gets stuck in your mind! In solitude these questions gently present themselves and I pay attention to them. I am never able to to answer these questions, but I learn something about myself each time they surface.
Over the past few weeks I have noticed myself smiling more than ever. Even when giving instructions to groups when facilitating, I have noticed myself smiling … maybe I always do? Maybe turning 40 has switched something on inside of me?
New questions came up tonight like these … How does a smile connect us with ourself and with others? How does the experience of being present reshape the neural networks in our brain and how can this be applied to social networks and community?
I am on a facilitation road trip of 14 workshops in 17 days … uncharted territory for me and am questioning whether I do it again. Time away from my beautiful wife and boys is a struggle, but, the solitude this afternoon and evening has been a gift.