Sun’s rays filtering
Through atmospheric layers.
When I was at school, we learned that by the year 2000 we would all have much more free time on our hands. Advances in science would mean that robots would do most of the work, leaving you and me to enjoy a life of leisure.
So much for free time Continue reading
We have looked at the importance of solitude – having time to ourselves. And we have looked at the importance of companionship – having a confidante. Now we are going to look at the importance of having more than one or two people in our lives.
There are many references to the benefits of a large circle of friends. Nearly three thousand years ago the Bible said that there is wisdom in the multitude of counsellors. And even today the concept of a neutral observer or arbitrator is widely recognised. So how can we use the power of a third person, or more, in calming our anxieties?
The first, and possibly the most obvious area concerns what happens if we have an issue with our confidante. It may be that the very person that we turn to looking for a hearing ear is not available. Worse, what if our confidante disagrees with our proposed solution? After taking his or her views into consideration, we may see the sense of what they say. Or we may be even more committed to our own proposal. Now we need another viewpoint.
What if our confidante is the apparent cause of the problem? Again, we may need another person’s input in order to help us to get through the difficulty without too much anxiety.
The second area to consider is where we don’t have the authority to make a final decision. This is where “a multitude of counsellors” may be required. Of course, this can lead to its own stress. As soon as more than one person is involved in making a decision, we have to deal with more than one opinion; and opinions are often personal, which means that personalities are involved. Now it gets interesting. Some people have very strong opinions linked to their very strong personalities. How can we avoid stress in these situations?
That’s really a discussion in its own right. But, simply stated, how important is the decision, anyway? Most decisions are about personal preference. If it’s about personal preference, then is it all that important that we have our own way?
Of course, when the decision is made by a group, then we should be able to accept that we have been part of a process that seeks to find the best solution to a problem. And we can be content that, by consulting with others, we have done the best that we can to ensure a successful outcome.
Finally, there is the situation where we have no say in the matter. It would be easy to say that in this situation we can simply walk away without any need to worry. But so often it is the case that someone else’s decision affects us, or someone close to us. How we deal with this stress is the subject of a future article.
Solitude is important. We all need time alone with our own thoughts. But it is also essential that we do not isolate ourselves. As mentioned in my previous article, The Power of One, isolating ourselves from other people can lead to selfish thinking.
So, in addition to spending time alone, we also need good companionship. Why? Because there are times when we simply need to talk with someone. And, sometimes, we need someone in whom we can confide.
It isn’t always a matter of getting advice. Just having someone listen to us often helps us to deal with issues. I remember someone telling me that her friend was chopping wood, one day, and she went and sat on a swing, nearby. As he chopped, she talked. After some time she said, “Thank you. You’ve really helped me.” “Actually, I haven’t said anything,” he replied. Then she realised that he was right. He hadn’t said anything. Just having someone listening was enough to help her come to terms with the feelings she was experiencing after the loss of her husband, a few weeks previously. And this wasn’t even that close a friend. In fact, it hadn’t been more than a few days since she had met him and his wife. But he was a good listener. And it was enough for her to find peace and move on.
Now, just imagine how much more a close friend could achieve; especially if that close friend is someone we care for and who cares for us. It’s a beautiful experience.
So don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from a close friend or, even better, your marriage mate. But remember, to have a friend, you have to be a friend. And that can lead to all sorts of peaceful possibilities.
We all need other people. We are designed for companionship. We thrive when we are in good company, especially in times of trial or adversity. In fact, that’s when we need each other most.
Yet we also need time on our own. We need time to contemplate the things that affect our lives and the lives of those we care about, no matter where they might live and no matter whether we know them personally or not.
That’s why we need personal time. We need to be alone, sometimes, just to be able to make sense of life. We could say we need time to breathe; to refresh ourselves; to clear everyone else’s clutter from our minds so that we can get on with dealing with our own issues.
So what do we mean by “time alone”? It can mean different things in different circumstances. Sometimes we may want to just kick off our shoes, stretch out on the sofa, close our eyes, and listen to our favourite music. But there is so much benefit in simply enjoying silence. Our lives are so full of noise, these days, and we need to switch off from it so that we can hear those things that really matter.
One word of caution, though. We must not isolate ourselves. As the opening paragraph says, we need other people around us. Isolating ourselves too much can lead to selfish thinking and actually cause more problems than it solves.
One good suggestion is to take yourself out for a meal. Go to a nice restaurant on your own and eat a meal on your own. It’s a fantastic experience. And you will still have other people around you. You may even have better service!
Still, look for opportunities to have some time alone each week or, preferably, each day. Give yourself a break. Life will be so much easier to deal with when you start looking after yourself. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to deal with anything.
Children now grown up.
Mindful of the time we spent
I just love the emotions involved in this photo. It’s so full of memories, happy and sad. It’s a reminder that children don’t stay young, forever.
Originally, I titled this photo, Neglect. But I now like to think of it as Loneliness because it tells a story of having been a best friend, now abandoned in favour of more important interests.
Well. Almost abandoned. The spiders found a good home there! And the contrast between the spiders’ webs and the man-made netting is a treat.
Enjoy your children while you can. Treasure the time that you have with them. There will be plenty of time for your career once they leave home. At least, there’ll be a little time until the grandchildren come along.
And then you can re-live those days all over again.
“Romeo, Oh Romeo,
Wherefore art thou, my Romeo?”
“Stop nagging, woman!”
(Prompted by William Shakespeare)
“How soft is the light
That shines through yonder window.”
”Just dig the garden!”
(Prompted by William Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet)
Following the “success” of Weekend Fun #1, I have decided to create a new category for my blog. It’s called, “Work to Live.”
We can so easily forget that we do not live to work, but we work to live. Also, I am aware that because of various things happening in my life, at this time, I am becoming a little too serious.
So I have decided, mindfully, to lighten up. I hope no one minds. I will still be posting my take on mindful matters, but from now on I am also going to randomly post famous quotations and phrases with a poetic/haiku/senryu twist. I hope you see this as a mark of respect for the original author, rather than mockery. After all, Rachmaninov made a good living rhapsodying Paganini’s themes. (Something like that, anyway!)
If you would like to join in, please tag your post with “Work to Live” so that I can find it in my reader. I will visit each post and I will probably comment on most of them, too.
Who knows? If I can come up with enough material, maybe I will start a whole new blog on that theme.