The Place of Solitude in Self-Care

Imagine waking up to the rain pattering on the window.  You leave your phone charging and ignore it for awhile.  Then you head into the kitchen and grind some coffee beans.  But you stop and listen to the whirring of the grinder.  You laugh wondering if you woke up anyone else.  After the coffee is made, you sit on the couch, and watch the rain, just holding your mug and smiling from the warmth.

In order to start a morning like this, you must first realize that stillness is healing.  You must believe that small details in life are worth noticing and that they bring you joy.  You must discipline yourself to put away technology for awhile, and resist the to-do list that screams in your mind the second you wake up.  I promise you, it can wait.

Last week, I had a solitude morning in the midst of the city.  I went to a local coffee shop for a cup of tea and writing in my journal.  Then I walked two blocks to eat some gluten-free porridge with coconut milk.  Just me.  I enjoyed watching the regulars at the coffee shop chat with the owners and local artists trying to promote a gallery night by passing out flyers.  I needed uninterrupted time just to put pen to paper, writing whatever came to mind.  I watched the chefs make breakfast and the waitresses in thick sweaters, overalls, and wide-rimmed glasses smile at me.

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Ruth Haley Barton, in her book Sacred Rhythms says,

“Solitude is a place. It is a place in time that is set apart for God and God alone, a time when we unplug and withdraw from the noise of interpersonal interactions, from the noise, busyness, and constant stimulation associated with life in the company of others.”

Now my solitude morning had noise.  Yet I could see God in the beautiful coconut milk porridge, in my rainy walk avoiding puddles, in watching friends talk over breakfast and coffee.  It was a morning to witness the abundance of God’s good creation–and know that this abundance is His love for me.

Why is it difficult for you to seek out solitude? Do you think solitude is important? Why or why not?

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