As I mentioned to a friend yesterday, I feel like someone has kicked the puzzle of my life and loosened some pieces. The writing piece, the yoga piece, the strength training piece, the running piece, the eating healthy food in reasonable amounts piece. Detached and scattered about willy-nilly. Luckily, the central pieces concerning husband, kids, and home are secure.
Still, without those other pieces, I start to disassemble. Slowly, but surely, I get cranky, sad, sleepy, exhausted, and anxious. I know where that heads if I don’t take care of myself and start putting those pieces back into place.
Communities are vital and all the social interaction can be exciting and fulfilling. But sometimes, especially for an introvert, being in community is overwhelming and exhausting, not at all restorative. Even when that community is only one’s immediate family, the need to get away is powerful. Time and space out of community is often essential to refresh the resources needed to return as a positive participant in communities.
When a quiet evening reading a book in a coffee shop isn’t enough, I go on retreat to a hermitage. I go to the woods to a one-room cabin with no plumbing or electricity. Gas heats the room and the tea kettle. I sit in a rocking chair, a knit blanket over my legs, cup of tea in hand, looking out a picture window at the trees, squirrels, and occasional deer. I listen only to the wind and my body. Walk when I want to walk, eat when I am hungry, sleep when I am tired, write when I am compelled. Gaze out the window for hours, if I so choose. No time, but the sun. No obligations, but to be present.
For four days and three nights, I will remain in silence and solitude. If I cross paths with anyone, we will nod and continue on our way. This is desert time. The only noise will be the clattering in my mind the first day, after which, I will relearn stillness. I will relearn patience. I will relearn kindness.
Silence, solitude, stillness. I long for these as water. Soon. Soon.