Friday, April 26, 2013
KEEPING COMPANY WITH OURSELVES
If only we looked forward to keeping company with ourselves the way we anticipate actual company.
We might prepare something special to eat, or tidy the area where we plan to hang out. We might consider what activity we'd most enjoy doing on our own.
Instead, we go off alone only when the tasks we consider important are done, no one needs us urgently, and we can spare the time. Even those of us who schedule regular times of meditation or prayer often see solitude as something good for us rather than times to relish.
Julie Cameron, who wrote The Artist's Way, a self-help book aimed at helping adults recover their lost creativity, advised readers to take an afternoon a week to be alone and play as a child, swinging on a swing at the park, feeding ducks, kicking rocks or a ball. She believed this to be crucial for getting in touch with the younger, true self.
She wrote, “Rather than being taught to ask ourselves who we are, we are schooled to ask others. We are, in effect, trained to listen to others' versions of ourselves. We are brought up in our life as told to us by someone else. When we survey our lives, seeking to fulfill our creativity, we often see we had a dream that went glimmering because we believed, and those around us believed, that the dream was beyond our reach. Many of us would have been, or at least might have been, done, tried something, if . . . if we had known who we really were.”