“To be a soulful person means to go against all the pervasive, prove-yourself values of our culture and instead treasure what is unique and internal and valuable in yourself and your own personal evolution.”Jean Shinoda Bolen
At this stage in my journey, as I brush against four decades of life, alone time has become a vital part of what it means for me to feel alive, centered, grounded, and evolved. I am an introvert, and my personal evolution has come to rest heavily on whether I am creating enough space for myself each day.
If I have a day that is full of meetings, then I need another day, soon after, that will not include me leaving my house to communicate with other people. I am learning how to refuel myself, how to recharge my batteries, and I am learning that the process is one that, for me, is best done in solitude.
I enjoy people at times, and I immerse myself in public activities that feed my senses of curiosity and adventure. But when I need to heal, when I need to feel through my feelings to navigate a difficult emotion, I don’t want or need people—I crave solitude.
Like many introverts, it took me several years of battling with guilt and expectations before I was ready to come to terms with my Me-ness. We live in a society that constantly pushes us to put ourselves “out there” to “network” to “make connections” and to actively pursue being the voice people will listen to.
For some people, those things can lead to personal growth and professional success, but for most introverts, all that pushing and connecting comes at a significant cost. We do not form meaningful relationships, we begin to resent people for encroaching on our space, and we just feel overwhelmed by all the people-ing we are forced to do in order to appear productive, engaged, and sociable.
But we can do something about all of that. We can find and explore virtual and in-person spaces that complement and nurture our specific needs. Here are five spaces sacred space and solitude are facilitated, celebrated, and welcomed as part of one’s personal evolution:
Replenishing stations for the quiet time you crave
Between Words and Water
May 14 – May 16, South Carolina
Between Words and Water is an all-inclusive Spiritual Writing Retreat, created and hosted by storyteller and spiritual writing coach, Trelani Michelle, to help women deepen their relationship with writing and Spirit using intimate and intuitive techniques and tools. This space is customized to provide the time, support, and perfect setting for writers of all levels to ditch writer’s block and reclaim writer’s flow.
Quiet Powers: 14 Days of Self-Discovery for Introverts, Introspectives, & Sensitive Souls
May 1 – May 14, 2016, Online
Quiet Powers is a self-discovery email series for women who are quiet + sensitive and ready to stop apologizing for it so they can use these qualities to their advantage. GG Renee Hill, a quiet revolutionary and writing coach, created to help women realize that they can be bold and fully expressed and still quiet and reflective.
Radical Selfie Summer Camp: An Introspective Travel Experience for Women
3-day weekend slots from June 10 to August 29, 2016
This solitude-focused summer weekend camp is a moving meditation where each woman spends three full days being herself, by herself if she prefers, with me nearby to handle all the logistics. For the travel-loving woman who wants to combine tropical travel with quiet reflection, serene beaches, and stunning views, this experience will definitely invite her to harmonize with her spirit.
The Body Relationship Breakthrough Session
Sometimes we surrender to outside pressures, which can leave us feeling guilt and shame around our own physical bodies. If you are tired of your negative body feelings holding you back from the life you truly desire, a body relationship breakthrough session can guide you to the clarity you need to begin building a loving relationship with body and self in order to live the life that you desire. Ivy Felicia, certified wellness coach and body peace activist, believes that all bodies are beautiful and deserving of love. If your personal evolution is trapped inside your feelings about your body, these sessions may be exactly what you need to get free.
12 Ways to Own Your Introversion
Jenn Granneman runs an online community for introverts and highly sensitive people. She authored a beautiful article that offers twelve simple ways that people like us can practice confident ownership of our natural tendencies. This is one you can read weekly, if only just to remind yourself of what you can do to feel how you want to feel. Here’s an excerpt:
Anyone who says you should just “put yourself out there more” doesn’t understand what it means to be an introvert. Of course, we all should do things from time to time that force us out of our comfort zone—that’s the only way to really grow as a person. What I’m talking about is working with your temperament instead of against it.
Questioning your way towards yourself…
What specific things do you do to honor your personal needs? What types of activities are ideal for your personality type and your unique desires, and fuel your personal evolution?
Those questions can feel heavy and difficult for some of us, particularly if things like solitude, silence, and sacred space are what comprise your idea of a fantastic day. For introverts of all kinds, making room for this sacred space can be a challenge, riddled with guilt and peppered with the seasoning of inconvenience—who will watch the children? when is the best time? how will it make everybody else feel? I’ll just read a book instead. Or just drive with no music on. Or just journal about these feelings.
As introverts, we do what we can to create the space we need to replenish ourselves. The world gets noisy and busy, and we crave solitude. We want to think through our thoughts, mine our feelings, and get eye-to-eye with our emotions. It would be great if we could dedicate a few weekends each year to sacred space and solitude, which doesn’t always mean that we want to be alone.
Sometimes it just means we want to be in spaces where we are not being coerced to speak up, or to work with someone else, or to do anything we don’t want to do. These spaces can show up in many forms, and some won’t even require you to leave your room.
Choose from one or more of the options above, and start fueling your own personal evolution.
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