Friday, 26 December 2014

Solitude vs. Loneliness

Photo:  MatthiasKabel
This is  a rather stunning photo of Solitary Geyser, located out on its tod in Yellowstone National Park, which ranks as my favourite place on this wonderful planet.  I'll have to seek it out next year when I return there. For planning holidays was one of the things that I did yesterday, on a Christmas Day spent alone.  I've initiated contact with my West Coast American friends to see whether they can join us in our travels.  I've also looked at the price of flights. Gulp!  With a bit of tweaking the dates that we leave the UK and come back it looks like I can thankfully shave a few hundred pounds off the cost. There's a fair bit of cat herding and financial wizardry involved with bringing  that trip together.   It was much easier  to book our much cheaper Whitsun jaunt to Perros Guirec where we'll meet up with a lovely bunch of people for the third year in a row.  With accumulated Yelloh Village loyalty points giving me three nights free camping and the discounts from being a member of the Brittany Ferries travel club this, in contrast to the American adventure, is a very cheap getaway.

My seven mile hike yesterday was gorgeous.  I ended up coming back to the campsite on a trail I hadn't found before but which leads to a network of footpaths that meander through woodland up to Dartmoor. There's a picnic table with a view within ten minutes of here which will come in rather handy for al fresco suppers when the evenings get lighter. And then after a light lunch of bagels and smoked salmon  I napped...a lot.   Now that was something that I hadn't anticipated.   But then that's the beauty of being alone without firm plans.  You can do exactly what takes your fancy without having to think about the needs of others.  It made for a very stress-free Christmas indeed.

From personal experience I know that there's a vast difference between solitude and loneliness.  Even though I'm a very sociable soul I've craved time by myself since childhood.  I find it restorative and suffer if  I am forced to spend too much time with others.  In researching this topic I've gone off piste and come across the Hassidic practice of Hitbodedbut.  It involves pouring your heart out to God in a field or forest in order to unblock negativity that obstructs the realisation of the divine within.  I might give it a go today.  Knowing my luck I'll probably divulge all my inner secrets to some passing dog walker instead of the almighty.  Maybe it might be just as therapeutic!

7 comments:

  1. Lucky you…..no stress! It is 8.30 here I am just eating my porridge and then must walk the dog, have a shower , make a fruit salad and be out of the house by about 10.30! Off up to Leicestershire to family party near Lutterworth, where I shall have to be chatty and nice for the rest of the day. My OH has just told me it could be snowing on the way back….oh joy! Snow on the M1 ! Your solitary day sounds very peaceful, but I hope you are seeing your boy today?

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    1. Not today but will be picking him up at eight tomorrow for the drive to Essex where we're having a late Christmas with my family. x

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  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.
    Arilx

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  3. I know what you mean. I am Desperate (with a capital D) for some peace and alone time. My kids are great and leave me alone, but the husband has achieved the age of 60 and now wants to spend time following me about (after running away for the past 28 years sigh).
    x

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    1. I feel for you! Would like to find someone to share life with but being single with half time childcare gives me lots of liberty. If/when I meet someone I'll be assessing their capacity to be able to give me space and want some for themselves as well. Don't think I could cope with being followed around! x

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  4. Maybe the passing dog-walker will be 'the one who is closer than you think!'

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    1. Oh no! Ideal man must like animals but must not be a pet owner! x

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