Spending time alone means putting aside everything else in your world. It means walking away from your trashy TV and saying no to your friends because you have a date with yourself.
Notice the limited time, if any, that you give to just you. Time that is not spent catching up with friends or responding to emails. We rarely allow ourselves to be alone with our true authentic self.
As social beings by nature, it can be difficult to walk away from our social lives for this quality time. Instead of simply doing it, we’ll go on facebook, and peruse social media sites for distraction. We’ll keep our cell phones at an arms reach to shield us from diving too far into our scary inner thoughts. Everything and everyone will always be impeding on our precious alone time if we don’t actively choose to place it into our lives.
A wonderful book called “The Artist’s Way” describes this time spent alone as an Artist Date. It’s a short period of time that you set aside to take yourself out on a date. It can be a museum, a photography exhibit, a walk in the park or a meditation class. It’s a date to re-center, time when you focus on just yourself and wherever you physically are in this world. It can be anything you want, but it’s a time you commit to yourself to fill your brain with images of the world around you.
If you’re thinking you don’t have time for this, you never will. Life is never going to slow down, or grant you hours upon end of free time. You must be the one to carve out that simple hour and fit it into your lifestyle. Whether it’s 30 minutes on your lunch break, or an hour on Sunday morning, this quality time is a crucial tool to getting to know yourself better. It opens the door for an immense amount of clarity and serenity in your life.
Artist Dates for me will always be a struggle. I am constantly battling the desire to spend my free time watching a mindless and unmistakably funny episode of FRIENDS, or debating between a good writing session and the gym. I have to force myself to remember the glowing feeling I get after a few hours at my favorite coffee shop, or after wandering around a unique antique store. These are the events that refresh my center. It’s this alone time that allows me to take on the day-to-day, deal with the crazy makers in my life and live life positively.
Alone time is a different kind of independence, one that is harder to learn the skill but easy to master once you’ve gotten the foundation. It’s a kind of independence and self-satisfaction that you've never felt before.