Time alone

By N. Cardoso 07/17/19

“For a full day and two nights I have been alone. I lay on the beach under the stars at night alone. I made my breakfast alone. Alone I watched the gulls at the end of the pier, dip and wheel and dive for the scraps I threw them. A morning’s work at my desk, and then, a late picnic lunch alone on the beach. And it seems to me, separated from my own species, that I am nearer to others: the shy willet, nesting in the ragged tide-wash behind me; the sandpiper, running in little frightened steps down the shining beach rim ahead of me; the slow flapping pelicans over my head, coasting down wind; the old gull, hunched up, grouchy, surveying the horizon. I felt a kind of impersonal kinship with them and a joy in that kinship. Beauty of earth and sea and air meant more to me. I was in harmony with it, melted into the universe, lost in it, as one is lost in a canticle of praise, swelling from an unkowns crowd in a cathedral. “Praise ye the Lord, all ye fishes of the sea – all ye birds of the air – all ye children of men- Praise ye the Lord!”

Yes, I felt closer to my fellow men too, even in my solitude. For it is not physical solitude that actually separates one from other men, not physical isolation but spiritual isolation. It is not the desert island or the stony wilderness that cuts you from the people you love. It is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. When one is stranger to oneself then one is stranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others. How often in a large city, shaking hands with my friends, I have felt the wilderness stretching between us. Both of us were wandering in arid waters, having lost the springs that nourished us – or having found them dry. Only when one is connected to one’s own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover. And, for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be found through solitude.

I walked far down the beach, soothed by the rhythm of the waves, the sun on my bare back and legs, the wind and mist from the spray on my hair. Into the waves and out like a sandpiper. And then home, drenched, drugged, reeling, full of the brim with my day alone; full like the moon before the night has taken a single nibble of it; full as a cup poured up to the lip. There is a quality to fullness that the Psalmist expressed: “My cup runneth over.” Let no one come – I pray in sudden panic – I might spill myself away!”

This beautiful passage written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her book ‘Gift from the Sea’, so clearly explains my relationship with solitude which many of my friends don’t understand. It is not being alone, but rather spending time alone. Recaping and recharging my soul, reminding it of what is truly important and worthy while I walk this journey. It is a practice far from isolation, it is filled with silent and deeper communication, it is reconnecting to the source.
I have done many times the last part of this passage, walk alone along the oceans edge while trying and finding myself again and becoming comfortable with her.

The simplicity of a walk on the beach reminds me that life is simple; we just need light comfortably simple clothes, disposition to walk, to listen, to observe the rhythms of nature, and accept being sprinkled by the water sometimes. Nothing too elaborate, only the bare simple.

When I first read her book so many moons again I was blessed, I found myself while lost in the midst of her many inspirational lines. There I learned about solitude, and started practicing it about 8 years ago.

It can be scary at first. We forgot to check in with our soul. We grew accustomed to ignore our own thoughts, beliefs, dreams, faith and feelings in exchange to fit in with the crowd. We became skilled in masking anything that is more than a skin deep about ourselves.

Listening and learning from our inner master might seem like exposing our vulnerability, and people who do that are labelled ‘weirdos’. Yes, I am a weirdo, I believe I have always been one. I was scared of not being accepted, of not fitting in so, I too pretend I was strong, superficial, that I too didn’t care. To go within and be learn to be comfortable with the core of oneself takes a type of courage not everyone is born with.

My moments alone, either on the shore, the mountains, the desert, on my early morning meditations or even with my paints and brushes, helps me to connect to the main power, literally filling me up to the brim, allowing me to spill over and love not just myself but others too.

Many believe I am disconnecting, they could not been farther from the truth. Anne puts it so clearly what I sometimes get lost for words to explain.

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