The Gift of Solitude
The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.
Mary Oliver (1935-2019)
It is a silver morning like any other. I am at my desk. Then the phone rings, or someone raps at the door. I am deep in the machinery of my wits. Reluctantly I rise, I answer the phone or I open the door. And the thought which I had in hand, or almost in hand, is gone. Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart — to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.
But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses itself, splashing, into the pond of meditation. And what does it have to say? That you must phone the dentist, that you are out of mustard, that your uncle Stanley’s birthday is two weeks hence. You react, of course. Then you return to your work, only to find that the imps of idea have fled back into the mist.
Mary Oliver, Of Power and Time
Creative work needs solitude. One effect of the current global pandemic is solitude. What we do with this unexpected gift is of course up to each individual. I have always trusted my inner intuitive self which has become much more valuable than the rational mind. After years of traveling the globe to far flung places to teach The Way of Story and other writing workshops, that soft inner voice made it clear that I was to take a year off and stay home. I interpreted this to mean at my age, there was a need to replenish the well. So last October after my last trip overseas to Dublin and Edinburgh, I began saying ‘no’ to teach abroad and other cities in America, accepting only venues in California.
I completed a memoir that I had delayed for the past few years then did fifteen revisions before laying it aside. As my publisher of the last three books does not publish memoirs, I knew I had to find a home for this book. However, I delayed doing so and continued to work as a writing consultant and also do psychic readings over the phone as I have done for some decades now.
And then came the Q-19 Virus Pandemic. Inwardly, I expressed gratitude to the wisdom of that inner intuitive voice telling me not to travel but to stay home. Having felt the need for sometime for unscheduled days of solitude, as many others around the world now, I settle into a mandatory solitary life due to the spreading virus. Enjoying endless time for reading and watching good films.
My second book, Heal Your Self with Writing, is about developing that inner intuitive voice, creating a deeper dialogue with the Self, and self-healing trauma and grief.
Heal Your Self with Writing is an elixir for the soul. Psychology Today
Heal Your Self with Writing is available on amazon as print, Kindle, and Audible. It is my hope that the short exercises within this book may help you create a deeper dialogue with your Self during this challenging time. A time that also offers to you the gift of solitude.
When you cease to fear your solitude, a new creativity awakens in you.
John Donohue, Anam Cara
For writing consultant, psychic readings, interviews, wayofstory.com