Alone With My Thoughts

I talk all day. That’s my job. Helping others sort through the crap in their lives. Sometimes the struggle is to sort through the crap in my own life. My idea of a modified form of self-care during the day is to steal a few moments to myself by closing my door. The closed door is a sign that I don’t want to be bothered. Still there are knocks at my door. Anytime I can steal a few minutes alone with my thoughts during the day is time well spent.

I pack my bag for the day and it always includes my journal, fountain pen, a and my Kindle. The time to read anything other than work related items during the day is often nonexistent. I carve out an hour in the evening before bed for that. My writing helps separate me from the other thoughts I have throughout the day, the things which I need to think about. I find any stress which accumulated throughout the day falls by the wayside when I take this time for myself. When I write, my mind focuses on the words which seem to fall like rain from the nib of my fountain pen.

I look for those things which bring a measure of gratitude to my day and to my life. There are many. Some times I lose sight of those things and find myself traveling down the dead end street which brings loneliness and sadness. My mother struggles with Macular Degeneration as did her mother. She has chosen to give up reading. I purchased her a Kindle which has the ability to read the books to her. She says she doesn’t like this and I understand. Last year I suffered a TIA. This is a constant reminder of how fleeting life can be. A friend just entered Hospice at 58 years old. He is also a reminder that life is fleeting and each day is a gift to be respected and honored.

It might have been the Buddha or at least a Buddhist practitioner who said, “When you walk, just walk. When you eat, just eat.” I find my time alone is not lonely. The time I spend in solitude sitting outside, the warm rays of the sun landing on my face, the smell of my cigar and a good whiskey are sometimes all I need during the week to help me find my center. There are days when I am done seeing clients at 8 pm. I grab Bandit’s harness and tell him we’re going for a walk. He rises, eager for our departure. My wife tells me she has walked him already. I respond, “This walk isn’t for him; it’s for me.” I sometimes hang around the office for 10 or 15-minutes after everyone else has left. This allows me to enjoy my silent retreat through the parking lot to my car.

My preferred place to sit and write is outside in my backyard in one of the Adirondack chairs that should have fallen apart many years ago. There are times when I wish to survey the world and times when I wish to hide from it. Just about anyplace where I can find anonymity is a good place. This past week I had a rare Saturday all to myself. Usually that morning is blocked off for 4-clients. It took me a few minutes to get centered and not worry about my decision to not schedule clients. Once I uncapped my fountain pen, opened my journal and reached for a cup of coffee, I hit a rhythm that felt right.

My son and daughter-in-law presented me with a beautiful leather bound journal from I had never before heard of this company. Their journals are cost more than I would have spent on myself but once you hold the leather in your hand and run your fingers over the surface you’ll quickly understand where that money is going. The paper is well suited to taking the ink of a fine fountain pen and the nib slides smoothly across it’s surface making it a joy in which to write one’s thoughts. I ordered a cover for my Kindle from the same company and eagerly await its arrival.

When I find myself traveling down that dead end street and going in circles, I find my desire to write lacking. My thoughts seem stuck in an endless loop and the rut which I wear into that thought pattern sometimes seems inescapable. A few moments alone with no one else around, my journal in hand is usually enough to help me push through the self-imposed block. When that doesn’t work, I’ll add a cigar. After all, as Edward Bulwer-Lytton once said, “A good cigar is as great a comfort to a man as a good cry is to a woman.”


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