Actually, spend less time alone / by Cherryl Duncan

It’s not everyday that one wakes up feeling inspired and ready to take on the world. In fact, for someone who’s job it is to be with people, and not just one on one people time, but fairly large groups of people on a fairly consistent basis, it’s kind of a surprise to realise just how much time I need alone. My alone time is gold to me, it’s where I get to write, think, read which usually means exploring new and old ideas and interests. Yes, of and some Netflix binge watching, there I said it.

I’m someone who feels like there isn’t enough time in this life to learn about all the things that fascinate my mind. The trouble is, I can get too much into my alone time which often means I’m too much in my head, and while it’s endlessly fascinating (no doubt for me alone), the head is not necessarily the place where happiness resides.

We know this from what the ancient mystic traditions tell us. Happiness resides in the heart; it is after all where we feel fuzzy things like love, joy and compassion.  And yet, when we’re feeling disconnected or slightly off, it’s often the head we’ll go to for comfort; we try and think, plan, strategize, or distract our way out of the unease.

Of course there are many ways to get out of the head and into the heart and Yoga is a sure fire way to do this. A well sequenced breath and intention filled yoga practice will leave you with a greater sense of connectedness, ease, groundedness and well-being, guaranteed.

But there is another way to get out of the head, a way to break out of the often whirlpool effect of spending more and more time alone, and that’s to force yourself into a meeting with someone else.

I’m not talking about your trusted friend who’s always up for a coffee or a glass of wine to chat, or your buddy you can easily convince to have dinner with, or more comfortably numbing, an ex girlfriend/boyfriend because it’s oh-so-fun to rehash that yet another time. I'm not saying don't hang out with your friends, I'm talking about shifting energy out of funk town and into inspiration city.

I’m talking about collaboration! For those of you not following me on Instagram (why not ? :-) my word for the year is ‘collaboration’.

Because as capable as I am on my own, and as much as I hate team sports or team anything, unless of course I can be the leader of said team (not proud, just true),  I have come to realise that we are simply stronger together.

BUT!.. and here’s the big but; you’ve got to choose your collaborators carefully.

Essentially, they have to be bringing their A game (which means you have to be bring yours too).

So, when I’m feeling drawn to excessive alone time,  I will now often make an effort, as hard as it feels sometimes to not get sucked into days of head time,  to reach out to those that sparkle with their own enthusiasm for whatever it is they’re doing. A shared interest helps, although you’d be surprised at how contagious authentic enthusiasm is no matter the topic.  And by reach out I mean meet with them, call them, come up with a crazy ass idea that may go nowhere and pitch it to them. I’ve even reached out to people I’ve never met before and sometimes nothing comes from it, but the mere act produces an energy that often sparks another idea, thought or just general warm, fuzzy feeling in the chest.

I’ve managed to collect a handful of these people who, even if we don’t speak on a regular basis, I know that if we connect, if for no other reason, I’ll be sparked into action. I’ve worked with each of them in some capacity and now make it an important value to be open and on the look out for more, and it’s interesting, because the more I open this channel, the more comes my way. Mysterious but true.

In an age of fast and instant digital connection, we can easily lose sight of good old-fashioned telephone, or person to person meeting. I even find myself staring blankly at my phone when it rings wondering what kind of sane person calls instead of texting or emailing.

So for you introvert/extroverts out there – like me, as wonderful as you find yourself, and yes, of course, alone time is crucial for sanity and rejuvenation, make an effort, when you feel THE LEAST INCLINED TO DO SO, and do something daring and meet with someone to do something weird, wonderful, scary, mad, creative or …. ___________(Fill in blank here)

Keeping the fire burning

Love

Cherryl