Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Solitude/Loneliness

To me, this is what solitude looks like.  Solitude is quiet.  Solitude is transformative.  Solitude is a place away from much of the excess noise of life.  Solitude is desirable.  And yet, one of the synonyms for the word solitude is loneliness.  Something that carries with it a very negative connotation.  Solitude seems to be seclusion by choice.  Loneliness implies that someone might feel shut out of the world by exclusion.  Two words that carry the same basic meaning, yet when compared to one another, the words solitude and loneliness mean very different things.
Standing on the bluff in front of my home on the fourth of July, I felt a sudden surge of loneliness that caught me by surprise.  I was not alone, Mark, Angel Daughter Number Three and her boyfriend were all present with me.  My neighbors were all outside, talking, laughing and enjoying the beautiful firework display.  But towards the end of the display, I decided to remain outside to watch other shows that could be seen in the distance.  It was then that it struck me.  Loneliness.
On any given day, I can step outside to view the huge expanse of sunlit glass which stretches out before me, and experience nothing but peace.  I can take in the inherent smallness of being a single, human soul while still feeling somehow connected.  I can breathe in the breeze that comes in off of the ocean, teeming with the scents of life.  I can even perceive the relationship that I have to the massive flocks of seabirds who float effortlessly on the surface of the water searching for food.
And in viewing those seabirds which congregate by the hundreds, their presence emotes in me a solitude that is nowhere near a feeling of loneliness.  I am alone, but I am in no way lonely.
Other days, the scene might change, but my feeling of comfortable solitude does not.  I might stand ashore watching sailboats carrying their sailors out to sea, but once again, I feel a sense of connection.  The feeling that we are all bound by that particular moment in time.  A simple snapshot, in which everything and everyone appears as it should be.  Solitude in unison.
And when I walk the beaches, the discovery of a single, brilliant piece of seaglass can draw me out of any sense of loneliness that I might be experiencing.  Each tiny piece, a reminder to me that I am never alone.  Not really.  
Yet, sometimes, even in the midst of large crowds of people and exploding fireballs of color raining down from the sky, it is possible to feel very, very lonely.  And that is okay.
It is okay because loneliness and solitude are two sides of the very same coin.  And sometimes, when solitude becomes a little bit too familiar, loneliness steps in to keep us from becoming overly reclusive.  Sometimes, we need sudden moments of loneliness in order to remind ourselves of how important it is to stay connected to other people.  Like a small piece of seaglass that turns up in precisely the right place on the path that we are walking, moments of loneliness can also turn up as an important reminder to stay balanced.

This Thursday, July 9, will be my forty-seventh birthday.  Angel Daughter Number One shared a bit of her soul-felt wisdom with me, the other day, by reminding me that a birthday is a time to celebrate oneself.  It often amazes me that such words of awareness, can come from someone so young in years.  So, in order not to allow myself too much solitude on my birthday, I am announcing it here.  In the coming year, I intend to celebrate not only those whom I love and adore, but myself, as well.  It is time.  And life is not never-ending.  Thank you for dropping that bit of seaglass wisdom in my path, AD1.

23 comments:

Laura ~Peach~ said...

hope you have the happiest birthday ever... and love the last several posts... i have been having issues with blogs loading so have had to play catch up... those neices ... what cuties!!!!!

Sylvie Van Hulle said...

I enjoyed this post and recognised very much in it!
Have a wonderful birthday with all the ones you love :-)
xx

Debra W said...

Laura,

So wonderful to always read your lovely comments. Thank you for the birthday wishes!

Sylvie,

So nice to see you here, dear one! I have missed you. I am glad that you were able to relate to what I wrote.

And thank you for the birthday wishes. One can never get too many of them!

Be well!

Hugs,
Debbie

Anonymous said...

welcome mommy! love you! :)

*me

Maria-Thérèse said...

I'm inbetween solitude and loneliness myself right now; I've worked so much and been around a lot of people - only for a couple of days at the exhibition but it takes its toll on me. I'm the kind of person who needs a LOT of alone time.

You should celebrate yourself every day!!

Adventures In China said...

What beautiful thoughts and pictures, and wow, what a view you have!

I have thought about this topic, because I am not someone who has a desire to get married and have kids. I enjoy solitude, but at times, it can be lonely. I have to learn how to balance my need to solitude with the emotional need for connections with others. I'm still learning to do this.

Different paths have different stops, but I enjoy reading about yours.

WV LeAnn said...

"In the coming year, I intend to celebrate not only those whom I love and adore, but myself, as well. It is time. And life is not never-ending. Thank you for dropping that bit of seaglass wisdom in my path, AD1" Remember the "but myself" here!!!!! That is so important and time. Each year when my birthday approaches I look at it as another year that I'm thankful for still being on this earth with the ones I love and the opportunity I must take to enjoy life more fully. Happy Birthday Deb!!!!!!

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

You SHOULD celebrate you. After all, you alone are worth celebrating.

You and my Dad share the same birthday....which doesn't surprise me. BOth of you are strong and kind and wear your heart on your sleeve.

Of course, the heart my Dad wears is someone elses but you get my point!!

Hallie :)

Sunshine said...

Deb, love the picutes,my fav one is the 1st pic.. quite and observing in its own world.. Lovely thoughts were written with that.


cheers:)
Sabi

Blue said...

every time you write a post like this...one of the quintessential "Debra Insights Posts", I have the thought that I hope someday you'll compile them all into a book that will show up on shelves across the world. Such a beautiful way of seeing things.

kim-d said...

***Happy, Happy Birthday, Beautiful Deb!!!***

Once again, you've produced a post that I needed to read, just at the right time. Why am I NOT surprised. :)

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Oh HAPPY DAY!!! It's your bday!!!

It will be as special as you are....I just know it. :)

Hallie

Snap said...

Wonderful post, beautiful words and pictures. I've come to visit from Maria-Therese's blog and wish you a Happy Birthday. My 60th was the end of May and I'm still celebrating! Nice to meet you. I'll be back.

Afioris sister Louise said...

Grattis på födelsedagen!!! Happy birthday!!!! :D

i cant sew said...

what a great name for a blog! happy birthday for the 47th time :)
hope you have heaps of fun loving yourself and those around you.
%*_*% rosey
p.s.maria-therese sent me

Debbie said...

I hope you had a wonderful birthday yesterday! And I do hope you celebrated yourself. You deserve it.

Mickey Johnson said...

...wonderful post. i hope you celebrate yourself on more days in the coming year and let yourself shine! xo, mickey

Shauna said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Sweetie, hope that you enjoyed your day...it IS wonderful to think of b-days as a time to celebrate yourself...and from AD1 too!!! Wisdom obviously flows in your family!!

Thank you for your visit to my blog and may your pain days be as low as possible, and I always give--

Gentle Hugs <3

jenX said...

Dang it! I missed your birthday!!! I wrote a short story once titled Searching for Solitute. One of the many blogs I kept over the last 10 years anonymously was titled Searching for Solitude. It is quite different than loneliness. Solitude seems like something we strive to achieve, but the real gifts are in loneliness - a discipline like no other.

These photos are magical - especially the one of the sea glass. It took my breath away.

jenX said...

Dang it! I missed your birthday!!! I wrote a short story once titled Searching for Solitute. One of the many blogs I kept over the last 10 years anonymously was titled Searching for Solitude. It is quite different than loneliness. Solitude seems like something we strive to achieve, but the real gifts are in loneliness - a discipline like no other.

These photos are magical - especially the one of the sea glass. It took my breath away.

jenX said...

Dang it! I missed your birthday!!! I wrote a short story once titled Searching for Solitute. One of the many blogs I kept over the last 10 years anonymously was titled Searching for Solitude. It is quite different than loneliness. Solitude seems like something we strive to achieve, but the real gifts are in loneliness - a discipline like no other.

These photos are magical - especially the one of the sea glass. It took my breath away.

Cheryl said...

Hi Deb... It's always so good to visit you and be blessed by the presence you bring to cyberspace...and our world. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us. The sea glass metaphor is beautiful and oh so true. I am thankful for the holographic beauty and reflection that you are on my journey - like the joy of unexpected sea glass along the way, and all the lessons and reflections that it offers.

Keep shining dear friend..
love and big, big hug... ~Cheryl

Angel... said...

Happy Belated Birthday Debbie...I hope you had a wonderful day.. I love the pictures you posted.
Huggs
Angel

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