Sunday, October 22, 2006

More About a Blue Funk

I have, in the past, experienced physical exhaustion as well as academic exhaustion. I've had post-partum depression. The Blue Funk last week was ... different.

I've had time to look at the events leading up to and around my Blue Funk and I've decided it was spiritual exhaustion. Must be, almost.

I was pretty regular about the Morning Prayer thing all last year; taking time three and four times a week to sit, drink my coffee, think and pray. CPE caused a change in my routine -- but I still had the time to sit and think and pray; it was just at the hospital in the chapel most of the time, but it was still there. I got out of the habit of doing it at home in the morning.

This week, I've taken some of that time, and I am feeling better. I am a pretty extreme extrovert at times, but that doesn't mean that I don't need solitude. This week end, I've started making a 'space' for it even, in our bedroom. An oasis of calm and order in a world that is pretty chaotic and noisy. I've set up the sound system in there, cleaned up some of the clutter, placed out a bunch of candles. I want to re-arrange a couple of pieces of big furniture and maybe even paint the walls, even get a few pieces of new bedding. I think back to Jung and his castles at Bollingen and his little fantasy castles he made of stones he picked up on his walks. He did it in solitude and wrote "At Bollingen I am in the midst of my true life, I am most deeply myself." By creating a space for his physical self to dwell in, he could better dwell within himself to discover his authentic self.

Jesus often tried to go off to a different space and be. I had forgotten how essential that solitude is.

So here are a few quotes about solitude:

The monastic hermit realizes that he owes his solitude to his community and owes it in more ways than one. First of all, the community has bestowed it upon him in an act of love and trust. Second, the community helps him to stay there and make a go of it, by prayers and by material aid. Finally, the hermit ‘owes this solitude’ to the community in the sense that his solitary life with its depth of prayer and awareness is his contribution to the community, something that he gives back to his ‘monastic Church’ in return for what he has been given.
-- Thomas Merton

Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.
-- Thomas Merton

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them…. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.
-- Thomas Merton

One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.
-- Carl Sandburg

Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.
-- Paul Tillich

Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.
-- Barbara de Angelis

The mark of solitude is silence, as speech is the mark of community. Silence and speech have the same inner correspondence and difference as do solitude and community. One does not exist without the other. Right speech comes out of silence, and right silence comes out of speech.
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.
-- Henry David Thoreau, "Solitude," Walden, 1854

When they are alone they want to be with others, and when they are with others they want to be alone. After all, human beings are like that.
-- Gertrude Stein

Converse with men makes sharp the glittering wit, But God to man doth speak in solitude.
-- John Stuart Blackie, Sonnet--Highland Solitude

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell, Let it not be among the jumbled heap Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep,-- Nature's observatory--whence the dell, In flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell, May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep 'Mongst boughs pavilion'd, where the deer's swift leap Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
-- John Keats, Sonnet--O Solitude! If I must With Thee Dwell

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