Divine Solitude

If I am given the option, I choose in most situations to be alone. Despite what others think, I am not a loner. It’s just that I don’t require the presence of others to be happy. Too many people, too much noise especially from people who talk and say nothing. These are the people who talk because they find their happiness on that side of the world. Unfortunately, I and others like me are outnumbered and as such we are the ones who are looked down upon. We are questioned because we don’t share the same need to be loud and talkative. I am questioned often about the lack of love I have for being with other people. “Why don’t you like people?” There is an assortment of other questions and with my response, I do not mean to be mean or nasty when I say, “I don’t like most other people” and I certainly don’t need others for my happiness.

I like the peace and solitude in which I find quiet. I find as I age peace and solitude have become more of a need.

John Burroughs the naturalist who never really reached the acclaim of other outdoor philosophers such as Thoreau, Muir, and Emerson was heard to say, “Communing with God is communing with our own hearts, our own best selves, not with something foreign and accidental. Saints and devotees have gone into the wilderness to find God; of course, they took God with them, and the silence and detachments enabled them to hear the still, small voice of their own souls, as one hears the ticking of his own watch in the stillness of the night.” Those who struggle to find the beauty in silence are condemned to hear the utterances of their own voices and have only that noise as companionship.

As I took the time to saunter along the beach, crowded with others but alone with the thoughts in my head, I was reminded of the contentment which I achieve when I saunter alone. I enjoy just taking in the scenery and wish to share it with others and am dumbfounded by those who look at the scene in which I find awe and simply state, “That’s nice.” Those are not the individuals with whom I wish to spend my alone time.

When I saunter, I prefer to do it on foot. Either walking or on one of my daily runs will do. When I run, especially on the weekends, I prefer to do it at a time where I can reach certain locations at just the right time. The “right time” is the time I can be on a certain bridge or along the riverfront to be able to stop and take in the sunrise.

“Solitude is dangerous. It’s very addictive. It becomes a habit after you realize how peaceful and calm it is. It’s like you don’t want to deal with people anymore because they drain your energy.” This is a quote which is often attributed to Jim Carrey. Regardless, it hits home with me. The more time I spend with others, the more I realize I need and want time alone for me

I need to saunter more often and embrace the quiet.

Namaste

 

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Vacation + Busyness = No time for me

I like my vacation time. I enjoy my vacation time, when I allow myself to enjoy it.

I started writing this post June 10th and here it is June 29th…what does that say about allowing myself to enjoy the passing of time?

I work a lot. 40 +-hours at a job where I get paid to work 35 and an additional 15-hours each week in my private practice.

I don’t need the money. I mean we all NEED money but I don’t need the extra money. I like the extra money because it goes into my retirement account. I make a good salary at my day job. I am, like a lot of people my age concerned about retirement. There is that question you see on the commercials asking “How much is enough?” I can’t answer that question and I would think the only ones capable of answering that questions are the ones who never had to worry about money to begin with.  When I began cutting back my hours at my practice, I’ll be the first person to say it was a struggle. What am I going to do with my extra time? I admit it has been a luxury. Sure the first paycheck from an insurance company which was a third the normal size was a bit of a shock, but it felt good. I felt happy. Sitting outside and working on the book I had neglected writing the past two years was amazing. I had renewed energy.

So if it’s not about the money then why do I do the extra work. There are a lot of reasons or perhaps reasons is not the correct word. Perhaps excuses is the correct word.

I mean c’mon it’s a little about the money. I enjoy the feeling the little extra security brings as I am able to put more money into a retirement account. It’s also about being or keeping busy. Busyness is a great thing if we don’t ever want to face the things in our life which lead us to unhappiness. Busyness doesn’t leave time to be unhappy or to even think about being unhappy. We have been brainwashed to believe the ability to “multi-task” is a good thing. How is that even possible? I want to do two or even three things very well, not six or seven things poorly.

The flip side of being so busy is identified by all of the above and leaves me no time to spend with my grandson, my wife or the myriad of activities which I so much enjoy. Sitting outside in the fading light of the day with my journal, my kindle, a good cigar and a glass of scotch happens all too infrequently. My cardiologist might agree, especially as it relates to the infrequent cigar, that this is a good thing.

I begin, toward the end of winter to look forward to traveling to the warmer and sunnier climate of the Gulf coast of Florida. As May and June approach my still very white body, still relatively depleted by Vitamin D even with the addition of a daily dose of Vitamin D look forward to this thing called a tan. More importantly my brain looks forward to the ability to shut down for one week. This vacation I was proud of my ability/willingness to complete three books. I am able to sit and  walk on the beach with sunglasses and hat in relative obscurity. No one knows who I am and for that brief period of time, I am free. Depression, at least for that period of time is also gone.

As I pack a carry-on bag, I look forward to boarding an airplane which will magically transport me to those warmer climates within just a couple of hours. The door to the plane will close and latch and create a vacuum against what remains outside.  When I remain busy, it creates an impenetrable vacuum. Nothing lives, for long in a vacuum. Happiness also goes here to die.

Yes, I remain connected to the outside world via computer and cellphone. As an Introvert, I have few friends who call. My phone can go for days with not even a text message being received. I recently deleted my Facebook account. I found symptoms of depression  growing and these symptoms being denied by my incessant busyness. I have since created a new Facebook page using an alter ego and friending the people with whom share my desire to be relatively drama free. and away from the fake news and political bull shit which has become so much of our world today.

I write one-month post vacation. It does not seem like a month has passed. It does seem as though six-months has passed. When did we become so busy? When did I become so busy?

This past week, now even later, saw the untimely deaths by suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain’s death for me was and remains a particularly troubling and difficult death. He never knew me but like many others I traveled vicariously with him every Sunday night to locations I will more than likely never see and eat the foods which again more than likely I will more than likely never have an opportunity to eat. Rest in peace Kate and Anthony. I guess I’ll have to travel without you Anthony and experience the things which seemed to bring such a smile to your face.

Namaste

I wear my heart on my sleeve.

It is usually me who carries the weight of emotional sentiments and deep moments in our relationship. It are these deep emotional moments which keep us tethered to each others sides. On the outside I wear my heart on my sleeve, Nancy is my calm and collected counterpart. We are a perfect balance and nobody protects my sleeve the way Nancy does.
 
I cry at the drop of an emotional hat. It takes little to stir the emotional pot and for it to begin to overflow. When I meet with a couple to discuss the plans for their wedding I often find the emotions beginning to stir within. I begin to think and plan out shots based on their personality. The same is true when I walk with a couple while photographing their engagement session. My mind and my eyes wander; looking for that photographic moment which captures the essence of the couple.
 
Still photography, for me is the medium with which I connect. There is nothing like a solid black and white photo to bring out the emotion of a photograph. Our eyes and our hearts are not lost in the vibrancy of the color. Often, when I look back at weddings and portrait sessions which I’ve photographed, the moment in time when I pressed the shutter button comes flooding back. The sights, sounds, smells and laughter of that captured moment become forever imprinted in my brain.