There’s always a positive and a negative in western thinking, a constant binary approach, this or that, right or wrong, black or white. Solitary once carried a greater positive sense of wholeness. To be alone can be a very positive thing, a time of deep reflection, integration and working with the data that inevitably comes from relationships and community. In fact, as one of my favourite authors, Parker Palmer, puts it, we can be community and solitary at the same time, an integrated approach to being whoever, as self, in the midst of community, and without denying others. Attending to self is vital and not at all selfish, if we don’t attend to self we become destructive to self and to others, so that community fares better when we do attend to self, and we become more whole as a result. To be solitary, to have solitude in the midst of community and life in general is to live with the eternal paradox that we need both self and others, and at the same time.
Back in 2014 I went on a bush walk in a conservation reserve at Chowerup, it was a time of deep inner conversation about my future direction and why, at the time, I felt blocked in moving forward. I was the the one who needed to set myself free and acknowledge that I was blocking myself and the solitary walk helped me to come to some clarity on this fact. Others had tried to point out the same in advice and solution giving, but it was all white noise to me until I was able to take the voice of community and and also self and reflect for a while. Solitude is healthy while grounded in community.