The day was beautiful. The sun shone and the trees outside were beginning to change from greens, to bright oranges and reds. Just down the lane there was a field of sunflowers. There were 5 women there that weekend who were all spending time away from their families, their friends and life’s responsibilities. The farmhouse was picture perfect. The windows over looked rolling hills with expanses of green, and the trees that lined the roads were preparing to say good bye to summer. However, on that weekend it felt as though summer was trying to hang on for just a few more days, not yet wanting to say good bye. The day was warm, but the fall air began to sneak in at dusk. The living room housed a piano, a comfortable, but stately sofa, a few arm chairs, and a rocking chair. They all surrounded the wood burning fireplace. The dining room table invited hearty meals, and long conversations to be shared in its midst. The wood floors creaked as the stairs were descended. The beds were just soft enough that one could sink into them, and then be enveloped by the heaviness of the down-filled blanket. It was an environment that just welcomed a little solitude, a little time to oneself. And the idea of that was blissful to me. Yes, we were there to write, and I wanted to write, but some time away, some time for me and some quiet was what I most needed.
“Today we will spend the afternoon in silence. No talking to one another until we meet for dinner…”
As the words left her lips the unease began to set in.
I am an introvert by nature. However, I work in a field in which I constantly talk to others, listen to others, advise others and support others. And I am good at it and I love it but it does take its toll and I need to at times remind myself that I need time away and that I need to give into and embrace my true nature. I am introvert by nature. However, I have more friends than I can at times keep track of. I have the same best friends that I have since I was two years old, and I have continued to pick up amazingly wonderful people during the 35 years of my life. I love my friends. I am good at being a great friend. I talk, and I listen and I share stories and we all share our lives. But I am an introvert by nature. And I have two daughters. And school starts and activities and playdates, and coffee dates with moms and the dreaded fundraisers and halloween parties and Christmas parties and Valentine’s day parties….. But I am an introvert by nature….
As the 5 woman set off for the afternoon of writing, of reflection, of reading, of writing of napping, I sat. I pulled out my pen and my paper. I shifted uneasily on the couch. The computer, that’s what I needed. I pulled it out and turned it on. It was so quiet. Not a sound. Nothing. One woman stood up and put on her jacket and went outside. Should I do that too? No, I was going to write. My iPod? Would listening to music on my iPod be cheating? Yes, yes it would be. Can’t do that. It was quiet. So quiet. My book. I would read my book. Yes. That’s what I would do. But no. There was only 3 hours. I should write. Yes, write. I would write. No, I should sit, enjoy the down time. When do I get time away like this? I never get time away like this. But the time away was ticking away. What do I need to do most to enjoy my solitude? Meditate. Yes, I should meditate. But the words and thoughts streamed through me. I looked around enviously. One woman had gone upstairs and was likely napping. One woman had gone outside for a walk, another sitting under a tree outside, and one fast asleep on the chair across the room. They were relaxed and they were embracing their solitude. Had I lost the ability to cherish and embrace what I need most in my life? The guilt I felt for not writing in the time I should be writing. The shame I felt for being resentful of the ease that all the other women slipped into. The growing panic that I felt as the time ticked away knowing I was never going to be able to enjoy the solitude of that day.
The promise that I made to myself that afternoon that I would never forget that I am deserving of time to do nothing…….