Dear lovelies, the essential first:
Only goodness can come out of time spent on one’s own.
Even more so, life!
In case the thought of solitude feels like bringing death to something, it usually does. First, it is death to all those habits that are so easy to maintain in the midst of caring and caring for – I can and I want to; I should, and could, and must. Second, it is death to a period of possibly stretched engagement. Stretched most often because of I will only ________, and then…
Not that there is anything wrong in engagement, quite the contrary. However, I am undoubtedly developing into a devoted spokesperson for the cyclical nature of – everything. I notice that following the brilliant and soul-restoring work of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés since the past seven years or so has influenced my vocabulary around these matters. Her thoughts on what she has named the Life/Death/Life-cycle have been essential for my deeper understanding of myself, creativity, sexuality and life.
Living somewhere, where the four seasons distinctively differ from each other – yes, I cherish them all – does underline the experience of the waxing and the vaning; spending the summer in an environment where lush greets me as soon as I step out on the porch, has only heightened my awareness of the cycles that occur all around us; being a woman bleeding at irregularly regular intervals, I am aware also of the cycles within. Thus, eternal expansion doesn’t make sense to me. An inhale and an exhale do. Blooming and decaying; day and night; activity and rest, do. And the big bang that is said to have launched our ever-expanding universe into being in the first place? Who knows – maybe we are simply in the midst of the biggest heartbeat there ever was.
And so it is, that for some of us humans living in the midst of this heartbeat – and especially for creatives with a strong strand of introversion blended into their personality, if I speak for myself – withdrawing at times is a necessity. Not because the world is a weary place – even if it sometimes might seem like it – but because solitude is like a bath for my soul. At times it is enough with a great cup of coffee, or trying on a beautiful summer dress, or three, just for fun. At others, it can be that lonely drive somewhere with music blasting; or to sit in silence in a park, or by the pier, or on some rocks in the sun. It can be a dance class, or a yoga class, or going for a walk. It can be sitting meditation, or living meditation, or that precious lonetime at home. Even playing guitar, or drawing a picture, or reading a book! All those moments are a form of an exhale, of letting go, of creating space for whatever it is that wants to make itself heard. And yet, as I have come to discover, sometimes something else is needed.
A Minna Twice song in the making is called Make amends, and it reflects over the important and sometimes revolutionary power of women seeking solitude, or solitude finding a woman. This sought-out solitude is the place from where I seem to be able to best judge how to navigate onwards, be it concerning art or entrepreneurship or my intimate relationship(s). This is the place many long for when it is time to re-evaluate any partnership they may be in. This is the place where Life/Death/Life is very, if not most, likely to show its face: what will be allowed to live, and what to die?
I know now, that a younger me drew conclusions about the state of my intimate relationship based on not what I truly felt for my partner, but what I was lacking in self-nurture and self-love. The current me values communication and stating my truth, above all. The arrival of death does not necessarily mean the end of the relationship, but it may mean necessary changes to keep it a happy, sane and alive one. If a relationship is rooted in fertile, loving ground, any pruning of it will only make it grow bolder.
So, one more thing about that withdrawal, or retreat, or other period of intentional solitude: do not fear it. Make friends with it, and invite it in. Some of my brightest ideas, some of my most personal insights, some of my most creative endeavours have been received during times that I have allowed myself tro truly feel what needs to be felt, to see what needs to be seen. And before I know it (and by now I know it deeply), it’s time for an inhale again, to be out there to inspire and be inspired some more.
Please know, that I’m writing this note to myself as much as for anyone else: oh dearie, do not be fooled. Just because this solitude brought on those changes, it does not mean that I never again will stand here asking and sorting and weeding. I may be done for now, but the nature of cycles is to – return.
PS – with the exception of a few very short visits in partnershipland during my twenties, I was leading the life of a solitary woman until almost 30. After a period of self-chosen celibacy lasting about two and a half years, I got an urge to get a bigger bed, just in case somebody I’d like enough to share it with would show up. A couple of months later, I met my current life partner online, via a music project we both had signed up for. It took us four months to meet up, and when we did, I knew it was the end of one kind of solitude. Enter next!
PPS – you can find many of Dr CPE’s great audiobooks on Soundstrue, an independent publisher I’m happy to support.
Give any woman some time for thoughts
Give any woman some time for feeling
Leave any woman alone for a moment
And watch a world unfold
True dat, things may not go back to what they were like,
true dat, she might even ask for more
But though she is talking of a revolution, it might be one of love
Let me take a while to think about things
Let me take some time to feel what I’m feeling
Let me sit alone, for just a moment
Oh, leave me be in peace
I might take a walk to clear my mind
I might go inside and lock the door
I might seem shut down, not be at home
Oh, leave me, please, alone
True dat, things may not go back to what they were like,
true dat, I might even ask for more
But though I am talking of a revolution, it might be one of love
See, I might talk about love
© Minna Aalto | Minna Twice, 2015