“I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
–Henry David Thoreau
When I am physically, emotionally or spiritually unfit, I find myself Isolating. On the other hand, I also find there are differences between Solitude and isolation. Granted, sometimes those differences are subtle; nevertheless, they are different. It only takes abstinence to clearly see the difference and unless one has experienced that state, I doubt if this can really be understood.
Isolation shuts us off, not only from other people, but from God Himself. We tuck in our tails and busy ourselves with whatever comes to mind and our sole purpose is to avoid human contact. Isolation is not good. When I am isolating, I feel shame and I risk overeating. While I may not do this consciously, I run a risk of depression. I also feel guilty and the negative thoughts run amok.
Solitude is not hiding from others as isolation can be. On the contrary, I can nourish myself by being in solitude. Because I have a creative nature, solitude allows me the freedom to explore and be as creative as God intends for me to be. If I don’t allow myself solitude on occasion, I am in essence damming up the gifts God has given me. These gifts need the freedom of solitude to make them materialize and be all they can be. Because I have experienced the disease of compulsive eating and all the manifestations of this disease, I can clearly see the differences between solitude and isolation. I learned that I can be in a crowd of people and still be isolating. I can also be in a crowd of people and be in solitude. If I have spiritually and emotionally shut down, I would be going through the motions but deep down in my soul I would know that I’m isolating. When my spirit is free and I am working the program, one might glance at me and see me drifting off to a room where there is a piano and recapturing a moment of music … or staring out a window at a view so beautiful that it takes my breath away … or sipping a cup of coffee and observing those around me but not actively participating in their small talk but wondering who they really are.
One day at a time…let me remove myself from the pain of the seclusion of isolation and substitute the wonderful state of solitude that brings me such great joy and peace of mind.
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