When I read Sylvia Plath poetry, I often think of the manner in which she died. Putting her head in an open oven and killing herself, while her little children slept in the adjacent bedroom. Did she see herself alone in her thoughts? Was her loneliness self inflicted?
It must not have been, otherwise, how else would you describe the amazing feelings my self induced solitude gives me? Where I am fasting on my busyness while serving up myself loneliness in abundance.
The first time I met my solitude, she greeted me warmly.
“I am glad you are here.” I blurted.
“Where else would I rather be?” She had said.
I was stunned. I realized she was the one who will help me create everything that I always wanted. I learnt to rejoice in her company. In my mind’s eye, I collect and curate all the beautiful things I love. There I already possess everything I need. When I stop to think so deeply, I also stop consuming. Contentment fills the very place I occupy.
I like how my quiet time is not so easy to come by. I like how she likes to be pursued. And how I, who am so used to instant gratification have to practice this pursuit. And every time I sit down to reflect, “Who am I?”, she shines the spotlight on me. “There’s more truth than what meets the eye. This is how you’ve lived, see?” She seems to say. When I align all my earthly senses with my mind, the joie de vivre causes some moments of heightened sensitivity. After I leave her company, I feel like I can be twice as amazing to my family. Doubling the quotient of my grace around them.
I do not know what these lessons of solitude will impart in my children and their lives. For now, I hope that these will ready them for long periods of boredom in adulthood. These passing lessons in silence, I hope will change their state of permanence. I cannot show them my mind’s eye, but I can show them how I feel by writing it down in academic prose.
I ask you to celebrate silence not because I am disenchanted with chiming into modern life. I do not underestimate the importance of the quality of our closed relationships. Don’t withdraw from others, just from the busyness associated with the social context. Give others the benefit of meeting your authentic self. Where you were willing to walk a mile in their shoes earlier, now you will be creating a lifeline of deep gratitude. A willingness to say that they made a difference. You will start socializing to accommodate and adapt.
When you stop to see inward, there is a chance to change what you don’t like about yourself. You want to be like those birds, that sunrise. Don’t you? Enduring, predictable and unfiltered. Muse on reflection and self discovery. “Will the next moment be my best shot at life?”
Give yourself undivided attention. Observe that silence. Listen to it keenly. There is enough stimulation for all the knots to be untied. Buried inside the core of our solitude lies that vivid colorful imagination. When imagination opens, the possibilities are endless. Create your own Kilimanjaro, the mountain up in the clouds. Take time to realize those thoughts.
By taking a break, you will give yourself a break with compassion. You will stun yourself in the mirror. I ask you to feel the openness in all directions, not just asphalt. In pure unadulterated oneness, nourish that insatiable desire to create. Creativity unleashes when there is silence.
So, once in a while, steal yourself from the world. As selfish as it sounds, it’s actually self effacing. Dream to make something of yourself. Quell the constant evaluations. Tighten the space around yourself, so guilt, fear and insecurities have to leave the room.
This is my favorite. Although you might not be able to physically travel to the place I will be, just sit still and think. Those images of your childhood and its surroundings will fill you up with ecstasy. You will never look back on your solidarity to that freedom.