There’s nothing like a quiet breakaway to the mountains – away from the stimulating adrenaline rush of the city. The fresh, crisp air, the majesty of trees, rocks, streams, lakes, flowers, birds, clouds – the colors, the beauty. Ahhh, just thinking about the mountains is wonderful. Deep, relieving breaths are irresistible. It’s so . . . restorative.

We all need solitude to be rejuvenated.

AND there is a distinct difference between solitude and isolation.

Solitude vivifies; isolation kills. Joseph Roux

Solitude is important for reflection and realignment. Solitude enhances our autonomy, but autonomy is developed in community, not in isolation.

Allow me to explain.

Growing up is about developing autonomy, a sense of distinctive self. We learn who we are – the unique way in which we express the divine essence on this planet. We are taught to value independence, self-sufficiency, and self-expression.

Yet, this experience of independence, self-sufficiency, and self-expression is always best nurtured and refined in connection with others.  Always.

We live with family and friends where we learn social skills; how to play well with others. We go to school to learn how to gather information, to strategize, to perform, to cultivate our resources, both externally and internally. We go out into the world and learn how to participate, accumulate, and contribute. We learn to dream, hope, and reach for the stars.

This is the ideal, of course.

That being said, however . . .

Too much self-centered attitude brings isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering. Dalai Lama

And . . .

Isolation is a dream killer. Barbara Sher

And here is something to consider.

Isolation is the petri dish of addiction. Susie Hayes

Yes, you can quote me on that. It is in isolation, secrecy, and shame that addictions flourish. Addictions bring suffering. Isolation brings suffering. They are intimate companions in loneliness.  Pause to think about that for a moment.

It is only when we appreciate our connectedness that we heal and that life is brought into balance. Our participation and contribution is absolutely essential to our well-being and the well-being of this planet. It is essential to our security and happiness.

This is a fundamental view of the world. It says that when you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it. Christopher Alexander

The world longs for the nourishment of your life, your water, your fruit, your sunshine, and your fragrance.

We can learn the art of fierce compassion – redefining strength, deconstructing isolation and renewing a sense of community, practicing letting go of rigid us-vs.-them thinking – while cultivating power and clarity in response to difficult situations. Sharon Salzberg

Living for each other is the rule of nature.

Please let us receive the gifts you bring.