“Solitude is the soil in which genius is planted, creativity grows, and legends bloom; faith in oneself is the rain that cultivates a hero to endure the storm, and bare the genesis of a new world, a new forest.”
– Mike Norton
As we stand in the midst of a global pandemic, seclusion has become the new world order. Seemingly overnight we have lost our everyday connections with others – our work place interactions, social gatherings, gym times, and intimate, physical contact. As social creatures, many of us are feeling lonely, isolated, and solitary. The adjustments to our routine and the implementation of social distancing along side the constant flow of COVID-19 information from news agencies, social media, and casual conversation has left many of us shell-shocked, feeling anxious, fearful, and completely unprepared to deal with life on a daily basis. Although some families may be spending more time together, many individuals live alone and, like me, are spending most of their time sitting in solitude.
Although I am comfortable being alone and in my own skin, much of what I am feeling in quarantine is reminiscent of the emotions I experienced when I lived in the small, Inuit village of Wainwright, Alaska, deep within the Arctic Circle, remote, isolated, and alone. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought my 6 months in the cold, dark, tundra of Alaska would prepare me for a global pandemic, quarantine, and social distancing protocol. As we all struggle to establish a new “normal” routine, sustain our deep emotional and spiritual connections with loved ones and our community as we disconnect physically, and seek to preserve our overall well-being in a environment that is heavy with fear and uncertainty, solitude can seem overwhelming. Solitude, even in its discomfort, is necessary for all of us sometimes. It is an opportunity to check in and be fully aware and present in our own life, to peer into our heart to see if we are still manifesting the life that honors our vision, to explore our reactions and emotions and let go of what no longer serves us, and to sit in the quiet and hear our own voice. In solitude, we retreat to our center, recognize and resurrect our authentic self, and raise our resilience. Through mindfulness practice, meditation, and prayer we can find and hear our own divine voice that professes our unconditional self-love and worth. Immersing ourselves in the natural world and connecting to our environment not only improves our overall sense of health and well-being by reducing stress and strengthening immunity, but also expands our awareness of interconnectedness and social community by widening our perspective and growing our gratitude. In remembering our common humanity and holding space for others in loving kindness we can feel less alone in times of solitude.
I appreciate all of you who take the time to read my blog. I hope you find some comfort and inspiration in my words. With our continued quarantine and social distancing protocol in place, and with schools closed for the remainder of the school year, I have decided to change the focus of my blog for now. Beginning March 30th, I will be sharing a variety of simple plant and nature-based activities that may be used as resources to promote social and emotional health, academic learning, and family engagement as we all continue to adapt to a new daily routine in the midst of a global pandemic. Please share this link with those who maybe interested. Wishing you peace and health!