• How do you renew and regenerate yourself? Where do you experience Lorca’s duende? (The spirit of passionate renewal, the igniting power of fire that comes from the depths of the human spirit.) Angeles Arrien
Throughout the journey through the Silver Gate, solitude and learning have arisen as a touchstones for me. Solitude creates my place for restoration, rejuvenation, and healing. Learning inspires me on my journey of renewal.
By now I recognize the signs of overstimulation. I have more than usual difficulty in staying present. I resort to distractions rather than rest. And I have difficulty with sleeping. Generally, I think of myself as uncentered – becoming irritable and inattentive – like a child without a nap.
All of these signal a need for solitude.
Learning feeds me in a different way. When I am in malaise or feeling burned out, finding myself living by rote and not living to any purpose – it is time to learn something.
One could argue that I learn something each day. But there is a different spark for me. It is listening to one of the many teachers who I admire, and hearing their insights. It is choosing an online class from coursera.org and seeing an entirely different view of my world. Or it is choosing a class at the local university to sit in on movies and discussions, to have interactions with people having the same interests or opposing views. This is renewal.
Solitude and learning. Tending to my inner self and learning from the world around me. These are my dependable ways to bring myself back into alignment.
“Where do you experience symptoms of soul loss: inertia, apathy, emptiness, numbness, confusion, futility, discontent, anxiety?” Angeles Arrien
How to identify? How to be aware? Resistance, self-righteousness, overwhelm,
More likely it is mindlessness. It is living my life by rote, not making decisions but oozing through my life. Seeking incessant distraction on computer games, romance novels or food.*
But what are the causes?
I have thought about this since I first read this chapter of the book. The causes come in many guises and I could call them by many names, but they all refer back to lack of solitude. Lack of time spent in contemplation, meditation, prayer…
It’s as simple as that. No matter how difficult to reorganize my life – I must!
* A sure symptom of living within the fixation of my enneagram type (7).
• What generates meaning, hope, inspiration, and curiosity for you? Angeles Arrien
Well, I guess my reflections are just slow. Although Solitude one of my major needs, I didn’t think of it in relationship to this. Who can say which is more important for my inspiration in life? Connection, travel, learning, service . Perhaps I would rank connection and solitude as my top two. And they are the ying and yang of it, aren’t they?
I crave solitude. In that state I know myself – I have no doubt of who I am and am comfortable with that person. My mind can wander down paths without seeming to lack the power of attention. And I get some of my best thougths there, too. In the days when I vacuumed more, my creativity began there. What is more solitary than running noisy a vacuum cleaner back and forth over a floor?
Yes. I must include solitude.