It’s 4:13 in the morning as I tap out the keys on the old laptop. I just came in from the cool, breezy outdoors. Orange the cat and I have completed our regular communion. I hear the clack-clack of the bamboo wind chimes just outside the window–their sound is almost obscured by the soft whir of the HVAC warming the house.
Very early morning has been one of my favorite times of the day for as long as I remember. I enjoy the outdoors of towns and cities when most residents are still asleep. I partake of the benefits of civilization free of the noise and discord–its harsh byproduct. When the weather is too harsh for my daily dose of outdoors quietude, I love to simply take comfort in the solitude of this little house by the river.
Some people might categorize me as a hermit. Other circles of people will probably say I’m an extrovert. Both descriptions might be true, but I’m actually closer to being an ambivert–the personality between extrovert and introvert. There is a blending of traits from both extremes of the personality continuum.
My young friend Jonathan once said that he could envision me as an extroverted hermit. He sees that I shine in the company of small and large groups. I can derive “energy” in both types of scenarios with an edge towards small groups. In the company of one other person, my conversation usually becomes philosophical. When I’m alone, my creative spirit is alive. Jonathan intuits the curious, experimental nature of my personality. I see the same aspects within my friend. His ambivert nature leans more towards extroversion, but he is curious about going on a solitary retreat alone in the mountains somewhere.
It seems that Jonathan, to a certain extent, and I could temporarily take up the lifestyle of hermits. There are probably several thousands of people like us. There is something positively transformative that awakens from being all alone in our own elements. Some of the most creative artists and inventors have discovered their greatest breakthroughs during times of solitude. When a person is contentedly alone, he feels free to privately experiment with modes of thought and behavior. Paradigms are easier to shift when a person is engaged in solitude.
For most of us, it is healthy to keep track of our isolation. Too much alone time can foster overthinking and needless guilt trips over past situations. Past disputes need to be put to rest with that energy being directed to more effectively live today. When overthinking overtakes one’s life, it is time to reenter society.
For the most part, exploring the world of hermits provides constructive insights. One can receive intuitive acknowledgement that you are on the right path and that you have chosen your options well. A temporary recess from the normal daily routine is a benefit to oneself that can translate into benefits for humankind in general. The quietude of the hermetic life can provide some wisdom to help accept the joy that is present within oneself.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this quote from 19th century abolitionist and jurist, William Jay. “Half the pleasure of solitude comes from having with us some friend to whom we can say how sweet solitude is.”