Space For Solitude

December 22, 2023 | 
2 minute read

The coming of the end of the year always brings out a spirit of contemplation in me—questions about what we are really doing here and why. But more than that, the end of the year invites some solitude. When I have space for this solitude, there are a few favorite things I listen to, consider, and read. I share them below in case they open up for you some space and time to reflect as you head into the New Year. 

  • Listen to: This time of year is about George Winston’s album December, which evokes images of naked tree branches scratching the window, and open, wind-swept plains. 
  • Consider: There are two folks whose work I am thinking of now. The first is Dr. Daniel Friedland, who invites us to consider the question of “what matters most now,” and Maya Angelou, who said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” 
  • Read: Mary Oliver has a poem, Wild Geese, that invites readers to let their body love what it loves. Also, I find myself returning to Truman Capote’s. “A Christmas Memory,” in particular, on the last page, he writes, 
    “And when that happens, I know it. A message saying so merely confirms a piece of news some secret vein had already received, severing from me an irreplaceable part of myself, letting it loose like a kite on a broken string. That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular December morning, I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying towards heaven.”

What do all of these things have in common? The tension between beauty, stillness, searching, and love. There are times in our lives when there is quiet, and we get to invite questions of what matters most, what we love, and who we love. And there are times to think about what we owe each other, of how we must lean into knowing and doing better. This time of year invites us to consider these things, both the I and the We, the Me and the Us. It invites us to consider impact from the inside–out. 

What impact do you want to make in yourself and for the world in 2024? 

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