Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Power of Solitude

Solitude is often portrayed as a negative time filled with gloomy thoughts, envy, regret, resentment, and self-reproach.

But it can be a glorious occasion for growth if embraced with gratitude for good times and spiced with fresh analysis and an appreciation of small things.

I think the key to many of its benefits is vigorous curiosity. 

How does this place work? Which word would be better in this paragraph? How did that author make such a minor character so memorable? Why did the composer choose that particular note? What tipped the scales at that committee meeting? What was valued? What was overlooked? Could this problem have been spotted earlier? How would a person of significant achievement regard this matter? Do the assumptions withstand scrutiny? What do I need to stop doing? Am I failing to help someone?

Here's a related point: A lack of gratitude and a lack of curiosity are two of the most dangerous gaps in life. 

Fill them in and life changes for the better.


garygruber said...

I have always thought of Solitude in positive terms - peaceful, serene, quiet, unless listening to music or singing, refreshing, joyful, and I look forward to those alone times for reading, writing, meditating, walking, communing with nature, and so on.

If you want a couple of classics on Solitude, check out May Sarton, "Journal of a Solitude" and Henry Beston. "The Outermost House" for descriptions of long periods of solitude.

Michael Wade said...


Thanks for the recommendations. I will check them out.



FrodoDLB - Doug Bottom said...

I have always found solitude to be joyful and in reading this I was reminded of this poem:

"When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is solitude."

--William Wordsworth


Michael Wade said...



I really like that.