Inspiration in Solitude

Taking a Moment to Reflect

How often do you feel alone? How often are you actually alone? When you feel alone, what do you do? When you are alone, how do you spend that time?

I ask these questions simply to make a distinction between one’s sense of feeling alone, as opposed to being alone. The latter experience of “alone” is what I’d like to discuss today in this post.

Many times, creative inspiration can be made during times of solitary silence. All too often we seem to create things to do in order to keep us busy, distracted. But are we really inspired by those things we create to occupy our time, or are we merely ticking off things from our mental “to-do” list?

This was something that recently came up for me. Being an only child who has done much independent traveling prior to getting married, I haven’t had as much time alone as I had become accustomed to since I got married. And that’s ok, since learning how to effectively share space is one of those things about living in relationship- whether that be with a romantic partner, as a family unit, with friends or roommates, or even within intentional community.

So today I had an evening to myself. Earlier in the day I had been wanting to do some writing, even starting to jot some things down, but I kept getting “stuck.” My mind was racing with all these other things that I imagined I “should” be doing- housework, preparing new songs for my clients, playing around with the recording equipment…

Basically, anything but writing. And even though it felt good to get the housework done, I didn’t feel like I had been creative. So, since I was alone for the evening, I decided to go for a nice, long walk.

As I walked, I noticed the environment around me- the stillness punctuated by the sounds of traffic as I observed the thoughts that would float up into my mind. And as I sensed how I felt within my body, it was quite empowering to be in my own world without distraction, feeling myself propel up the hills and through the heat.

Once I got to my destination, I was able to stretch out on the ground and look at the sky while these thoughts and words poured out of me. It felt so good to be able to freely create and craft the thoughts that I wanted to share with others.

While there’s no doubt in my mind that the physical activity (over 4.5 miles/7.24 km) helped get the creative juices flowing, I am equally convinced that having that time alone with my thoughts and experiences (without having to navigate a motor vehicle) also helped push the mental fog away.

By continuously stepping into the present moment with awareness of the environment around and within me, my mind was cleared to what was real and without distraction.

What about you? How do you find inspiration? What is your experience of being alone? As always, please feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments.