“What if I asked you to be alone with yourself, I am not asking if the idea of being alone appeals to you but if you can actually be present, with yourself, for longer than a couple of hours, without flipping on the TV or the radio or picking up the telephone or a magazine, if you can truly find and be at peace with your own company.”
-The Invitation by Oriah
Last night before bed, I traveled downstairs in my pjs, turned on a soft light overhead and curled up on the couch with one of my favorite books of all time, The Invitation by Oriah. It’s one of those books that touches the most tender parts of your soul, bringing perspective where you need it most. And, each time it speaks to a different part of one’s self. Last night, the above quotation really stirred something in me.
Can you be alone with yourself and truly be at peace with your own company? No Original Netflix Series binge, no mindless surfing through Facebook or Instagram, no iTunes Radio, no bag of Cheetos (Lord, that sounds so good right now), no cleaning the entire house, no organizing anything, no catch up phone calls to family and friends, no, none of those things- just you, by yourself. Isn’t that a novel idea.
In the rush and push of our daily lives, when the time arises for us to relax, we just want to zone out, do something mindless. Our feet need rest. Our brain needs rest. We just want to rest and not be bothered. And, let’s face it, we don’t want to journey inward. I mean, there’s stuff there that needs to be tended to and, darnit, we just want to do something that doesn’t require a lot of thought and/or work.
But, sometimes, we need to go there. We need to sit in silence with ourselves and maybe even hear what that inner voice is saying. Sitting in silence means sitting with joy and also pain. One is easy and the other is difficult, but they’re both equally important. These things tell us a lot about where we’ve been and where we’re going. The inside, from an emotional perspective, needs our attention, too.
I’m a runner. I’ve been a runner ever since I was twelve years old. And, both full marathons I’ve run in my adult life were without, drumroll, music. It was just me, running along a 26.2 mile path feeling pure euphoria one minute and like I might die the next. It’s a battle mentally and physically, and every time you engage in it, you are sharpened mind, body and spirit.
Now, I’m not telling you to go out and run a marathon. But, I am telling you to spend time with you, free and clear of any distractions and toe up to what your inner voice is saying. It could make you smile. It could make you cry. It could move you to change. It could be a beautiful thing.
Find a quiet place. Sit. Pray. Meditate. Levitate. Journal. Breathe. Just be.
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