How to be alone

Published by Lori Pickert on August 16, 2010 at 03:39 PM

A lot of interesting things were brought up in this weekend’s open thread, and they had me busy thinking and scribbling notes to myself.

Hopefully I’ll have a post up in the next day or so about perfectionism, stress ... and the things we do that are just for ourselves.

In the meantime, Brain Pickings offered up this post:

Modernity offers a curious paradox of connectedness and loneliness. Our perpetually networked selves cling to constant communication in an effort to avoid the deep-seeded sense of loneliness we so dread. Somewhere along the way, we forget — or maybe never even learn — how to be alone, how to stay contented in our own company. — How To Be Alone

This ties in nicely to my thoughts this weekend about how we sometimes have to break free of the stranglehold of always considering other people's expectations and whether our work is attractive or makes sense to anyone other than ourselves. When we judge ourselves too harshly or set our expectations too high, we can’t experience the relaxed playfulness that learning requires. We need to be comfortable with ourselves, with being alone, with doing things that are only for ourselves and no one else.

Poet and singer-songwriter Tanya Davis and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman address this forgotten art in How To Be Alone — a beautifully hand-illustrated, simply yet eloquently narrated visual poem full of all these things we so often need to tell ourselves and believe, yet so rarely do. — How To Be Alone

Be sure to check out the visual poem — it’s wonderful!

10 comments

Comment by Elizabeth on August 16, 2010 at 06:30 PM

I'm thankful for the internet for introducing me to my current crafty interests and yet the same source of inspiration turns out to be the main reason I can't seem to start a project. If I can't get it looking like the inspiration I found on a blog I read or worse still, if I don't think I could make it something worthy of a few comments on flickr, then I don't attempt it. Of course, the past few quotes you've posted about doers has really motivated me to try to push past my perfectionistic tendencies. I'm SO grateful my daughter hasn't followed in my procrastination due to these tendencies. I'm learning a lot from her.

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 16, 2010 at 06:45 PM

"i'm learning a lot from her." -- love that. i learn from my kids all the time. sometimes i feel like i fake it till i make it with them, by trying hard to be the person i want to be so i can set a good example .. then they feed it back to me and pretty soon i'm no longer faking it. :^)

"if i can't get it looking like the inspiration" makes me think of art/craft projects for kids where there is a sample to copy or "inspire". so many kids get frustrated when they can't match the sample. with authentic art, there's no sample, so kids can just create.

"if i don't think i could make it something worthy of a few comments on flickr, then i don't attempt it" -- *that* is getting to the heart of what i was reading in and between the lines of the comments on this past weekend's open thread. making something just for yourself and deciding *not* to share it can be very freeing .. and maybe we can break through that perfectionist/fear block so that we can share things without needing validation/fearing we won't measure up.

Comment by Jill on August 16, 2010 at 07:35 PM

Funny, I just watched that "How to be alone" this weekend. When I saw your post title, I was thinking to share the visual poem with you. Ah shucks! I guess I won't be validated now! :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 16, 2010 at 07:58 PM

i'll always validate you, jill! :D

i can't wait to show it to the 10yo -- it's a mash-up of three things he loves: poetry, video, and drawing!

Comment by Laura on August 19, 2010 at 03:04 AM

Hmmm, must be something in the air, I also recently enjoyed seeing "How to be Alone", and appreciate your thoughts on creating art work for your own fulfillment. It sure is freeing!

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 19, 2010 at 04:30 PM

thank you, laura! :^)

Comment by Heather on August 20, 2010 at 08:59 PM

I was just talking to someone about how the ability to be alone must be cultivated and protected. I'm a total people person, but I recharge when I'm alone. That's where inspiration, creativity, clarity of thought and so many other things are birthed from.

I'm looking forward to our cabin getaway where each of us can have time of solitude and quiet! Even my rowdy little boys just cling to times like this! :)

btw, I recently discovered your blog and have really enjoyed reading here. I left an award for you at my blog and I hope some of my readers will take the time to stop by and be blessed too!

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 21, 2010 at 04:52 PM

thank you, heather!

Comment by Naomi on September 2, 2010 at 09:25 PM

How true! After my stint on FB, which is now gone by the way, I've had a hard time not feeling like I have to share all my thoughts with the world. I'm relearning how to enjoy my own thoughts and keep a few to myself :0)

Comment by Lori Pickert on September 13, 2010 at 03:52 PM

naomi, this dovetails nicely with a post i'm writing right now! we're getting so used to sharing *everything* (as a society) that the idea of keeping something for yourself, private, has become novel. so odd. :)

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