Wednesday, June 04, 2014


I feel a little guilty when I say that I am sometimes happiest when I am alone.  Give me a day home alone with a good book, a cup of coffee, and my favorite music and I am perfectly content.  When I am alone it is a stress free zone.  I don’t not have to meet anyone’s expectations or demands.  I don’t have to change who I am to fit in.  In a recent conversation with a friend who has been a monk for 50 years I shared that even though it’s been over 40 years since I left the monastery and my days as Brother Dominic, I am still temperamentally a monk.  I am not, however, anti-social, and, for what it’s worth, neither are monks.  I like people and most people like me.  In spite of my preference for solitude I must interact with people every day.  I have a wife, children, a granddaughter, extended family, and friends.  I still need to come to work every day and interact with all kinds of people.  Some days this can be challenging.  When I was a young monk, and I was in much better physical shape than I am now, I used to wander for hours in the woods and hills around the monastery.  The monk who was responsible for my training allowed me a weekly “Hermit Day”.  I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a lot more people like me than most people realize.  Even if you are an extrovert, I think people need solitude and time alone.  It is only in solitude that you meet yourself and learn to deal with who you are.  Solitude is not always a party for me.  Sometimes in solitude I come face to face with my weaknesses, my dysfunctions, and my hang ups.  I occasionally have to stare in the mirror and deal with myself.  Outside of solitude you can avoid yourself forever.  If you are constantly moving and running and surrounding yourself with distractions, you can spend your whole life out of touch with your own reality.  I like who I am but I know I am not perfect.  I have needs that are not being met but I also must occasionally tell myself to get over it and let it go.  Sometimes I have to bring a halt to the pity party and remind myself of what’s good in my life.  So, as you can see, solitude can be a double edged sword.  It can be a peaceful retreat from the demands of life or it can be a face to face encounter with your own dark side.  For me solitude is my comfort zone.  However, as I recently wrote, sometimes you have to leave your cave to fully appreciate all that life has to offer.  I probably don’t do this enough.  However, that doesn’t mean I am putting a “For Sale” sign on my cave.  I am keeping my cave because that’s where all my stuff is.           

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