You may recall the phrase Dulce Fare Niente from “Eat , Pray , Love” , if you can’t recall the scene , here it is .
The whole idea really struck me at the time and I remember having it as my BBM status (yes BBM!) for months. Actually incorporating it into my life was another story. I was a natural introvert with very extroverted qualities and this led to me being thrust into many leadership roles and a very packed schedule. Especially in my last years of high school and my early years at university. I was also doing something even when I was by myself which unfortunately wasn’t often enough. After University I quit. I quit everything. No clubs. No extra activities. No nothing. I had all my extra time to myself. But not even that pleased me. I was so used to always being occupied that I was no longer sure how to be my own company. To make it worse I wasn’t sure how to be with people either. My friends always wanted to “chill”. Chill? Can you provide the definition? Use it an sentence. Indicate the origin of the word. I just wasn’t used to hanging out. Maybe it was the space I was in at the time but I was super conscious of energies and it proved difficult to have certain interactions.
Fast forward a few years , a few breakdowns and few failed relationships later I finally figured it out. I hit the balance of being alone and enjoying that and being around people and enjoying that. Trust me when I tell you the process was far from easy.
The sentiment of “Nothingness” again presented itself again in the form of T’ai Hsu , translated as ” the Great Nothing” in a book I recently finished called the Tao of Pooh. T’ai Hsu speaks to the clear mind , the empty mind as opposed to the over stuffed mind , the mind filled with knowledge and cleverness and abstract ideas. It speaks to the fact that many people are afraid of Emptiness ( i know I was) because it feels too much like Loneliness. But as is expressed in the book and from my own experiences , it is when all the space is filled that Loneliness sets in. I remember feeling alone in a room filled with people , in the middle of a conversation , laying beside a partner. I would just feel so alone I would often withdraw my energy and get completely lost in my head as I tried to comfort myself. I had filled my life with so many things I didn’t want that there was almost no empty space for me. After a few months of chipping away at my emotions and clearing space in my life I was finally able to appreciate nothingness. And it was through nothing that something was created.
I think because of the wonderful world of inter-connectivity that most of us find ourselves in we often feel lonely and lost when faced with our own company and our thoughts but being alone is important. It is in these most vulnerable moments that we find ourselves and truly know ourselves. I learn things about myself on a daily basis and I revel in that process. I’ve learnt that alone doesn’t mean lonely , doing nothing can be a liberating experience and also that I really like talking to myself. like..a lot.
I think Socrates said it best , “Beware the barrenness of a busy life”
Love and light,