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Save Space for Solitude

 

Writing this month’s blog is proving to be quite revealing about myself. So, I’ll say it outright, I’m a homebody. I wasn’t always a homebody. Somewhere in the years of motherhood taking over much of my identity and reveling in a home yoga practice, I found a sense of charge when I frequent myself in time spent at home. It’s not that I require to stay home, per se, but I’ve realized it’s been vital for me, my relationships, my career to give myself a solid dose of “Steph-time”. I think there’s an initial shock that takes place when one realizes the demands of dependents leaves little-to-no-room for having alone time. In the midst of me feeling crazy, I thought it was a phase. I could not pinpoint this phase of the craze for quite some time. I attributed it to not being well-adjusted to this mothering role. I didn’t dare speak up about feeling lonely, ungrateful, frustrated, sad, and downright depressed. I thought such feelings were a silent phase, one quietly keeps to herself, until the balloon popped and I wailed to my partner pleading words that I never thought I’d say, “I need help.”

I wrote about my early struggles in motherhood and how my yoga practice became my savior at a time I felt at loss. While the practice certainly played a big role in healing and self-discovery, it was merely a conduit in practicing solitude. That word sounds like it requires a whimsical eat-pray-love journey to Bali or some far away wilderness-living upheaval in a log cabin, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that one needs to travel for 6 months or drop everything and run. Surely, you could! And many have with great success and tales worthy of novelist pleasures. For those that want to kick back and create space for some self-time, you can start at home. Especially, if you’re like me with a child at home, I couldn’t drop everything and run. I had to start participating and taking responsibility in self care.

I started with asking for help. I think asking others for help is one of the hardest things to do. For me, especially, I was used to taking care of business, the eldest child, a stubborn Taurus, go-getter-do-good-er, who took pride in being independent, and often, selfish. My asking for help looked much more like someone clawing from a dark hole in the midst of a full breakdown. It was a vow that I needed some help in reviving myself and my partner, Steve, was/is certainly the hero in that department. Whether it’s your partner, trusted friend, or relative; the courage to ask for help is the start.


I started practicing yoga almost everyday. I knew what yoga had done for me in the past and intuitively imbedded the sentence that “yoga had to work” for me. I gave myself no other choice and I never questioned the importance of moving my body. I understood adrenaline and endorphins enough to satisfy any brain curve-balls that would keep me from my practice, refusing to never-not-go to class. I committed myself to a local studio, found my favorite teachers, and vowed to attend class - no matter what. It doesn’t have to be yoga, for you, it could be running, cycling, kick-boxing, or anything that gets your body going and your heart-rate up. It’s all yoga.

 

I started finding gratitude in everyday moments that often went unnoticed.

I started writing everyday. In a journal, on scraps of paper, sneaking one-liners in books, anything that was nearby in the moment of wordy bursts. I wrote what hurt, what felt good, and I wrote without rules. I let words pierce against paper without worrying about punctuation, grammar, capitalization, and any formal techniques taught in school. It was free. Often I shared those words on Instagram. It felt cathartic as with each release of penned words. The more I wrote, the more I let go.

 

I started finding gratitude in everyday moments that often went unnoticed. I walked everyday. Twice a week, I arrive home at 7am to a sleeping house, I press coffee, and sit quietly at our kitchen table. Driving alone, sometimes rare, I silence the radio and listen to the hum of the roadways. Going to the market alone, I slow my pace in aisles with little urgency to check-off list. We’ve set aside “quiet time” in our house (since our 4 year year old hasn’t napped in over 2 years!) where my son entertains himself quietly while I read, write, create, meditate, or practice yoga. I clean house, organize, or rid uselessness from the house, like purging old stuff. On days that are demanding, I am sure to visit my studio practice when the mister arrives home.


While away from home, say a weekend trip to Tahoe, I take full advantage to get up early to watch the sunrise over the lake, walk alone amongst the trees, and take time to slow down with myself with little distractions. I bring my hobbies with me on such getaways too; the camera in tow, sketchpad and pen, reading books for the stay, or crafts that take time to learn (my watercolors and calligraphy will be packed for next month’s trip). Mini trips to be one with nature are important. Go for a drive and search for tall trees or hills. Sit alone in a park. Walk along a river front or ocean or trail. Sitting in the sun, closing the eyes, and breathing for 5 minutes may be all that’s necessary to tune into yourself.

Spending time alone is vital to nurturing yourself. Being alone with your thoughts, sitting without technological distractions, forced conversations, or the busy-ness of life. We get so caught up filling ourselves with schedules, honey-do lists, people-pleasing that we create an environment of worth based inflated doings versus Being. It’s important to recharge from the inside-out. Fill up the senses through stillness, check in with your breath, express yourself on paper, read books, practice your yoga, learn new things, and do very little in order to find the gratitude in slowing down. Notice what shifts take place when you practice solitude and live simply in the pleasures of being with yourself.

I find that I am more patient, kind, and loving. I am present with others, I follow-through without a grudge, rely less on doing and count my blessings as Being. What do you notice when you practice solitude? 




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