I spend a lot of time alone.
Partially because the work I do (teaching and writing about yoga) is solitary work, for the most part. Sure, there are classes and bodywork sessions and workshops and whatnot, but the bulk of the behind the scenes work is just me and my mat or just me and a pile of books.
I’m also an introvert. I need to spend a lot of time of alone in order to be the kind of person that can help other people. I love the buzz of the social world, but I recharge alone.
I also work mostly out of my house, don’t have a car, and live in a place that is not that convenient for car-lessness. So, even if I wanted to work in coffee shops, which I sometimes do, it’s not the easiest option.
Most of the time, I really get off on my solitude. Recently, though, I noticed that when I’m not working, I am almost always listening to something: an audiobook, a podcast, the radio, whatever. I have even developed an elaborate audio pairing system. Love + Radio is great for gardening. The TED Radio Hour brings out all the nuances of sweeping and mopping. Dishes pair with murder mysteries. NPR for the car. WWOZ for early mornings.
Is there something wrong with this? No, not in and of itself. But I noticed that even the thought of doing these things without audio accompaniment uncovers a subtle undercurrent of anxiety. It’s like I spend so much time by myself thinking about important shit that when I’m gardening, I just want someone to tell me a story about why bees are important or whatever.
There’s still nothing wrong with that, though, right? Maybe. Except that I, personally, don’t believe that anything interesting ever happens when you’re multi-tasking. Which means that I have been dramatically cutting back on the amount of time in which something interesting could happen to me.
That’s not okay with me.
So I made a resolution for the month of October that I would do one thing each day in silence that I would ordinarily do with noise.
And y’all, it is awesome. Turning off the noise has made me tune into all my activities in a whole new way. Dishes that I would usually just rinse hastily are actually clean now. The nooks and crannies of the corners of my rooms are clean. I see everything in totally new detail.
And what I have noticed is that my life is beautiful. There are rainbows everywhere. I just had to turn off the volume and tune in.
I challenge you to do the same. Comment below.