“Spend some time alone every day.”
Modern society has a tendency to measure success by the accumulation of wealth, power and belongings and to gauge a person’s usefulness by their busyness. If we are not furiously multi-tasking and chasing the next marker of success, many of us find that in our few quiet moments we fruitlessly compare ourselves to others and dwell upon our perceived shortcomings and failures. In amidst the endless lists of things to do and to worry about, it can be easy to lose one’s sense of self. The sheer pace of life and the cumulative burdens of people, tasks and things vying for our attention can, all too often, result in poor mental well-being.
For many, the antidote maybe the idea of a good holiday, the reality of which involves more money to be earned, more time spent perusing the options online and more lists to make of what to pack and who’s going to feed the cat. There is, however, a far easier and more accessible way in which to take a step back from your life and gain a little perspective. Simply by taking a few moments of quiet solitude, you can shut out the constant cacophony of modern living and give yourself a chance to listen to your inner voice.
The practice of mindfulness is all about observing our thoughts for exactly what they are: thoughts. By being mindful, you begin to realize that your thoughts do not define you or control you, they simply are. By observing your thoughts in this kind of detached manner, you can begin to disassociate from them and let them go. Being mindful means paying your undivided attention to the small detail in the here and now. It may be your breathing, perhaps a sunset or a beautiful flower or the sound of birdsong filling the air, freshly scented from a recent shower.
Of course, it is not always easy to find a quiet space in which to enjoy your moment of mindful solitude. Whether it be the incessant ping of your iphone, the overhead thud of a teenager’s drum and base playlist or the dog whining for a walk, there will always be something clamouring for your time and thoughts. A Garden Escape, just moments away from your backdoor, can provide you with a refuge in which to retreat from the hubbub and snatch a little slice of solitude.
Lest you should feel guilty thoughts threatening your mindful moment, remind yourself that spending time in solitude is not only a mindful act, but a self-compassionate act too. Furthermore, the more balanced you are, the better you’ll be able to deal with life’s trials and other people’s foibles, allowing you to make your world a little bit brighter. You may even find your inner creativity is reignited. After all, it worked a treat for one of the greatest inventors of all time, who truly lit up our world.
“The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.”