These days more than ever, there seems to be a social stigma attached to the idea of being alone. And I don't mean alone, as in single, I mean just the simple act of being alone in a room for no apparent reason. Being in a room without an iPhone, without an iPad and without an iMac. A room without a matt for meditation nor a book for distraction. I am talking about a room with a chair and one's own thoughts for company. That room. A private space for silent contemplation and reflection.
The paradox of the life we lead these days is that although we are never alone, always 'connected', constantly buying into this manipulated new age philosophy that we are one, somehow through a wireless connection, the epidemic of loneliness is more predominant than ever. We have isolated ourselves through the process of creating virtual 'profiles' of who we want to be, living in constant fear that we might be exposed for who we really are. Continually disappointed by the mundane reality of our un-photoshopped existence.
Creativity though flourishes on the on the fertile landscape of an empty mind. So how can we find a way to be brave enough to sit in that room, alone, with nothing except our own reflection? And even then, how can we make it through the initial state of utter panic to a place of surrender? This ever so simple task, takes a level of bravery that our popularity driven mindset cannot fathom, but the rewards of such a simple act are endless. It matters not what you think of during that time, but rather the act itself serves as a catalyst for a type of creative mindset.
So I challenge you to try it, following these ten not so simple steps:
1. Allocate a space, put a comfy chair and lock the door.
2. Designate thirty minutes to sit there without your iPhone, iPad, iMac.
3. Don't get up, even if you remember you needed to reply to a message.
4. Let your mind express its complete and total discomfort and shame.
5. Continue to sit there, even if you feel utterly absurd.
6. Think of anything you want, and I mean anything.
7. If panic enters, tell yourself that you are in a safe space.
8. Repeat the same thing the next day, even if you don't want to.
9. Remind yourself that in this time you can think of anything you want.
10. Do this every day at the same time for two weeks.
I imagine that these steps might seem like some new age, California style hullabaloo, and believe you me when I say I am the very epitome of nervous-overthinking-overworking-can't-sit-still-for-a-moment-have-a-million-things-happening-at-one-time-multitasking-monster. But time alone has become my friend and my confidant. It is there where I go to get away from the chaos outside and to a place that belongs just to me. Trust me when I say that as the days go by, you will begin to feel the shame subside, and there will come a moment of non-judgement and surrender that will lead you to a path back to yourself. A place within you that is not only truly 'connected' to the world around you but to a creative process that is intrinsically yours.