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While we don’t like to think of ourselves as part of the animal kingdom, we are, and social animals at that. In other words, we naturally live in groups, whether large or small. While the degree of sociability varies a huge amount from person to person (!) interaction with others – ideally face to face – is an important part of our lives, which has been made very apparent during the last couple of years… 
However, just as important, is time spent alone. Or, to be completely accurate, voluntarily alone. To recharge our batteries, have some quiet time away from the hurly burly of modern lives and be ourselves without any pressure – or expectations – from those around us. 
Interestingly, when we mention the importance of having some time alone, the response is usually the same. One of horror. Why on earth would they want to spend time alone, they’re far too busy to do that. What will they do? Won’t everyone think they’re “Billy no mates”? And lots more besides. 
So, why is spending time alone is seen in such a negative light by so many people? 
Well, once again, it’s all down to semantics. And, if you dig out a dictionary – or thesaurus – and look up the word “alone”, it’s little wonder this short word has such negative connotations for most people. 
Here are a selection of meanings taken from the dictionary and thesaurus on our bookshelf: 
Unaccompanied, without any person, without help from others, done without others, without company. 
And, if that wasn’t enough: 
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 actually means. 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. 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. Switch the Little Monster in your head “off” and enjoy the peace it brings. 
If you want to meditate, great. Or, perhaps, just watch the clouds or birds flying overhead; then that’s great too. 
Yes, thoughts will pop into your mind. And the Little Monster in your head 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. Had those flashes of inspiration “out of the blue” as soon as we calm down and 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. 
Photograph by unknown author 
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