Learning the Art of Solitude


Being an extrovert and a social kind of girl, I am not like Carl Jung, who apparently said that talking is often a torment for him. And he was even a clinician, into ‘the talking cure’ just like I am.

It is indeed true however, that after a day with clients, I am more than ready to enjoy times of silence and solitude to restore my soul and equilibrium.

But essentially as an extrovert, times out and about with my friends, having a few wines and talking about “life shit” as my friend Lou calls it, stimulates and nourishes me. Or simply having fun, being silly, giggling and laughing does it for me too. Given that my work is usually dealing with the sadder side of life, laughing out loud with friends is good for me. After all, it is highly unusual for someone to come to therapy saying “ I just want to explore how happy I am.”

I separated from a significant intimate relationship 5 years ago and initially, as is common after a relationship break-up, I felt very lonely. But I now enjoy living by myself and the ease of living that accompanies that, not having to accomodate to anyone else in my living space. However, this is only so long as I have access to the company of good friends and community when I want to and choose to.

Enter Covid-19, and for five months or so, with only a few weeks of reprieve during that time, we have had the BIG Melbourne lockdown of one form or another. We are in Level 4 and it is cited as being one of the toughest lockdowns any country has ever had. We still have a few more months to go, before we are hopefully out of it, or at least at Level 1 or 2.

Times of solitude outside of work are now the norm for me. Learning to relax with long term solitude is the lesson for an extroverted personality like me.

I walk to the gardens close by (our limit is 5km), sit under a tree and read, write poetry, watch the children play, dogs chasing each other and the leaves blowing in the wind. Nice and peaceful.

My gorgeous wooden meditation stool, so beautifully made has been collecting dust. She/he invites me to dust her off and just be.

I plan to tidy drawers, sort out my office and papers galore, but I can’t be bothered. That is too boring. Maybe one day I will. I laugh with Grace and Frankie, a TV show about two friends, hilariously creating bright pink vibrators for older women and that entertains me.

I gaze at more Netflix, read more books, have zoom catchups with some friends and a glass of wine or gin (mind you that is not really solitude is it?) It kind of is, and they do keep telling us to stay connected for our mental health’s sake.

The only trouble is, for an extrovert like me, who keeps having a 21st birthday party every year and who will dance the night away till 5 am in the morning, if she gets half the chance …….

I find myself falling asleep in front of TV at 8.30 pm 😳.

rosmlewis

Clinician, Lecturer, Group Facilitator, Educator and Supervisor in Education, Social Services and Mental Health.

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2 Comments

  • Meg
    October 10, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks ros, very well expressed – the reality of being born a woman in this culture at this time. It’s like we’ve lived the same life except you’re an extrovert.
    I’m relieved to live alone, no one to call me a c… any time they choose. I can listen to music, watch comedy and go to bed feeling safe! The only creature to jump on me is the dog and the cuddles from my grandchildren are warm and comforting. It’s as good as it gets. 🙏

    • rosmlewis
      Rosalind Lewis
      October 10, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks for your response Meg. Love the image of your dog jumping on your bed and the cuddles from your grandchildren 😊 x

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About me

Rosalind Lewis

Rosalind Lewis

Professionally I have 33 years experience as a Clinician, Lecturer, Group Facilitator, Educator and Supervisor in Education, Social Services and Mental Health. I currently live in Melbourne, Australia and work in Mental Health. I have a particular interest in supporting and empowering women and men to be all they can be, by assisting the discovery of tools that help them find strength to transform difficulties into opportunities, enriching their lives both personally and professionally. I am a New Zealand Registered Psychotherapist with PBANZ, member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists and have a Masters of Health Science (Psychotherapy) First Class Honours. My research thesis was about the long term consequences of intimate partner violence for women. I am influenced and informed by both my professional experiences and my own personal journey, which has involved many challenges and celebrations along the way.