Why spending time alone - being all one - is good for you
Posted on 10th June 2015 at 07:30
You probably won’t be surprised to hear this, but most of the ideas for our weekly blog post come from our clients.
Usually, the same topic will come up several times in a few days and we’ll take the hint and get writing. Or, more accurately, Elaine will get writing while David does editorial comment (!).
Other times the hint will come from seeing several articles all on the same topic. Or in other people’s blogs. Or, perhaps, the time of year.
So where did the idea for this week’s post come from?
Well, from conversations we’ve had with clients this week, which have highlighted a very common myth about spending time alone. And one we’re very happy to dispel.
Mention spending time alone and the most common response is one of horror. Why on earth would I want to spend time alone? What will I do? Won’t everyone think I’m “Billy no mates”?
It’s interesting that spending time alone is seen in such a negative light by so many people. But is it really such a bad thing?
If you dig out a dictionary – or thesaurus – and look up the word “alone” it’s little wonder that this short word has such negative connotations for most people.
Here are a selection of meanings taken from the thesaurus on our bookshelf:
Unaccompanied, without any person, without help from others, done without others, without company.
And if that wasn’t enough there’s then:
Abandoned, deserted, isolated.
It hardly sounds like anything you’d want to be doing voluntarily does it?
The fascinating thing is that no where did we see any mention of the origins of this word – or what it really means. But when you do a very different picture emerges.
Go back into the mists of time and you’ll find that alone started life as two words. All-one. Just one more letter, but a very different word. One that feels completely different.
Its original meaning was of being whole, complete and at peace with yourself. And, even better, of being in harmony with the world and people around you.
If you’re wondering what this means in practice, look at the indigenous people and the way they live their lives. The aborigines of Australia or bushmen of Africa.
Or closer to home, at those who are at peace with themselves and the world around them. And we’re not just talking about hippies either!
That’s all very well we can hear you saying, but what about those of us who live in the “real world”. With all the stresses that modern life involves. Are you saying that we’ve got to go off for days on our own and contemplate our navels?
No. Of course not. While it may not always seem like it, we’re here to make your life simpler, not more complicated!
Instead, what we’re suggesting is taking a little time to be all-one each day. Of spending a few minutes – say, 15 or 20 – away from all the hurly burly of modern life. The important thing is that it’s somewhere away from everyone else and, ideally, outside in nature.
A walk with the dog. Potter in the garden. A nice comfy chair in the sunshine with a cup of tea.
If you’re out and about, park the car somewhere quiet and go for a wander. Or just open the window and watch what’s going on in nature around you.
Take a few deep breaths. Let your head switch off and enjoy the peace it brings.
If you want to meditate, great. If you just want to watch the clouds or birds flying overhead, that’s good too.
Yes, thoughts will pop into your mind. And that monster we all having living in our heads will probably have lots to say. About how selfish you’re being. Or how can you be sitting down when there’s so much to be done. And lots more besides. But just tell him – or her (!) – to stop, not now. And enjoy the peace and quiet.
You’ll feel so much better afterwards. Your mind will be clearer. Batteries topped up. Energy levels increased.
And, ironically, by taking time to be all-one you’ll be much more efficient when you start doing things again. By breaking the habit of rushing from one thing to the next, you’ll get much more done during the rest of the day. Trust us, it works.
Taking time out also boosts creativity. We’ve all done it and had those bright ideas “out of the blue” as soon as we let our minds wander.
So does taking time to be all-one still sound like such a bad thing?
Why not start taking some time each day and see what happens? The results may surprise you!
As always, the choice is yours.
Share this post: