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Seven Days of Gratitude: Day 2

SHINING LIGHT

DAY 2: SOLITUDE

By: Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez, Editor of Modern Witnesses

Hi friends,

It’s day 2! If you are just joining us now, the way it works is as follows: I give you my personal list of gratitude, and I encourage you to make your own list and share it. Tag us and use #7daysofgratitude.

Let’s roll. As always, I am grateful for you. I hope those of you outside of the United States/ North America (our Canadian friends celebrate, too) participate and learn why so many of us love the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Wishing all of you a beautiful season of gratitude.
xx

GY

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[Image via @tinakunakey]

DAY 2: SOLITUDE

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Blaise Pascal

It’s my belief that only by learning to be alone can we truly be in healthy relationship with others. Solitude is instrumental in growing as a person and in growing in our relationship with God.

We need regular community worship, but to contribute well to that community, we also need daily, committed time with God.

“People don’t have enough silence in their lives because they don’t have enough solitude. And they don’t get enough solitude because they don’t seek out or cultivate silence. It’s a vicious cycle that prevents stillness and reflection, and then stymies good ideas, which are almost always hatched in solitude.” Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

I am sharing some of my favorite things to do alone that have contributed to peace and growth:

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[Image via @Frenchgirlthings]

Meditating on Scripture

I often pick a theme to study in Scripture. I love early, light filled mornings, and the quiet they bring. I always pray before leaving my home into the crazy city streets. My early moments of solitude allow me to be extra aware of God’s protection and the moments where God winks at me– like a seat on a packed subway car or someone who randomly (or not so randomly) comes to my aid. Solitude helps us see Him.

Thomas Merton once wrote:

“[A vocation to solitude means] . . . to deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over that land and fills its silences with light. To pray and work in the morning and to labour and rest in the afternoon, and to sit still again in meditation in the evening when night falls upon that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars. This is a true and special vocation. There are a few who are willing to belong completely to such silence, to let it soak into their bones, to breathe nothing but silence, to feed on silence, and to turn to the very substance of their life into a living and vigilant silence.”

Food Shopping

I hate shopping, but I love food shopping. I love doing it slowly and methodically. Observing details in food makes me feel more connected to it and to myself. I can’t quite put it into words. It’s something I learned and admire from French culture. How we interact with food can affect us a lot and affect the respect with which we nourish ourselves. I also believe children could really benefit from interacting with food in this way.

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[Image via @Frenchgirlthings]

Self-care

Our lives are so busy, but solitude can be short moments of being mindful and present, even in the presence of others. It can be the amount of time one takes to get ready, a morning tea, a walk, taking a book to a bench– a face mask. It requires intention.

We often do so much for others and don’t do the same for ourselves. Invest in yourself.

Many of the brightest minds and most prolific writers spent a lot of time alone. I have found that my best moments of introspection and reflection are done in solitude. We all need a minute to process life, as it is happening.

“It is difficult to think clearly in rooms filled with other people. It’s difficult to understand yourself if you are never by yourself.” Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 26:3

Make your list! What do you like to do in your solitude? What lessons have you learned?

If you aren’t used to solitude or haven’t had some in some time, schedule some intentional and purpose-filled alone time. Time in God’s presence is never wasted.

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[Image via @Frenchgirlthings]

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