Solitude ~ Through the Eyes of Poet John O'Donohue
Solitude is one of the most precious things in the human spirit. It is different from loneliness. When you are lonely, you become acutely conscious of your own separation. Solitude can be a homecoming to your own deepest belonging. One of the lovely things about us as individuals is the incommensurable in us. In each person, there is a point of absolute nonconnection with everything else and with everyone. This is fascinating and frightening. It means that we cannot continue to seek outside ourselves for things we need from within. The blessings for which we hunger are not to be found in other places or people. These gifts can only be given to you by yourself. They are at home at the hearth of your soul.
John O'Donohue Excerpt from ANAM CARA
The value of solitude depends on whether an individual can find an interior solitude. That is where solitude comes in. Such a separation requires what psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott called the “capacity to be alone.” This is key to Bowker’s idea of solitude as self-strengthening. “You have to have that capacity: the ability to know that you’re gonna survive, that you’re gonna be okay if you’re not supported by this group,” Bowker says. “Put another way, a person who can find a rich self-experience in a solitary state is far less likely to feel lonely when alone.” There is a catch to all of this: For solitude to be beneficial, certain preconditions must be met. Kenneth Rubin, a developmental psychologist at the University of Maryland, calls them the “ifs.” Solitude can be productive only: if it is voluntary, if one can regulate one’s emotions “effectively,” if one can join a social group when desired, and if one can maintain positive relationships outside of it.
Michele Wolf - Registered Psychotherapist - Aware Within - Psychotherapy
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