I’ve been reading a leadership book by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin. Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude, examines why solitude is such an important and necessary practice for leaders. As someone who leans toward the introverted side of life, and has always appreciated the disciplines of solitude and silence I connect with this book, and the leaders highlighted in it’s pages.
Perhaps solitude is easier to practice during a time of social isolation, but I’ve been reminded, from my reading, about how important the practice of solitude is in my own life.
This morning I didn’t make it to “online church.” A lot easier for me to not “attend” when I have to engage a screen. I appreciate the effort, and I know we are living in uncharted times, but watching worship doesn’t do it for me. Worship is a participatory activity, and for me, it is too hard to participate and engage if I’m not there. Plus, this morning it was easier to choose another option as technical difficulties were hindering the live feed.
Instead, after a late breakfast and finishing up a 30 for 30 on the Celtics and Lakers my boys started watching yesterday, I decided to practice solitude by going outside and doing some work. I did not have an agenda, other than to be present , to rake up leaves and sticks into piles and burn them, and to organize one of our storage areas.
The result was just what I needed, relaxing and life giving. After spending the first hour outside by myself, my youngest son came out and helped. We were able to practice solitude together, working without much conversation, helping each other and being productive in the process.
Working outside has always been very therapeutic for me. Most likely something I picked up on our farm growing up. This morning was no different.
Some people look at social distancing as an island of boredom. Social distancing, doesn’t have to be a negative. I invite all of us to embrace this opportunity. I know the reason we are “sheltering in place” or have a “stay at home order” is because of a terrible virus, but we don’t have to let fear, worry, and being isolated bring us down. Be okay with being quiet. Take a break from technology. Re-learn who you are and what being you means.
In the ever noisy society in which we live, taking a break from the sound and the constant can be very productive. My times of solitude have helped me think through what I know to be going on in our world and country. This morning, I just needed to be outside without an agenda. Tomorrow, maybe solitude will grant me another opportunity to grow.