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November 7, 2012 / Dale Melchin

The Value of Solitude

Vacation.  Anymore there just doesn’t seem to be the time.  Or is there?  If we are going to respect our minds, bodies and sanity, it is necessary to take a vacation every once in a while just to unplug.  I took an extended stay this last weekend at the Motel 6 here in Moline.  It is good, affordable place to stay.  It’s not the Hilton, but if you need a place to stay and get some work done without interruption, this is the place for you.  I will be doing this again in the future.

You’ve felt it before though.  A sense of lesser madness, you feel like you are being crowded out by the noise.  Stress of job, friends or family and you just feel the need to scream.  You don’t need to leave for long, but you need to unplug and get away.  That urge is there for a reason, and it is best not to ignore it.

After listening to Michael Hyatt’s Podcast Seven Steps to Getting the Most from your Vacation, I took an impromptu vacation this weekend to get my creativity back.  I took several, books, my laptop and clothes and after work on Friday, I ran and hid!  Leading up to that I had created a very specific agenda.  It basically consisted of various meditations I was going to do and ways of relaxation just so I can get my creativity back.  And got it back I did.  That was the goal and I accomplished it.  I also got some long range planning done, as well as a lot of soul searching and a lot of resting as well.  It was great.  I can assure that I will be well rested and ready to return to duty on Monday.  However I have gained three insights from this trip that I wish to share with you

We all need to unplug. 

We live in a world of overstimulation.  This can lead to faster burn out and slower recoveries if we aren’t careful.  While I recommend developing a morning routine that will help you plug in and an evening routine that will help you unplug, sometimes we need to have greater periods of being unplugged.  By unplugged I mean this in all senses.  Get away from everyone and stop the pinging.  Turn the Smartphone off, stay off of Facebook.  In my case I couldn’t be complete internet free b/c my files are cloud based, but that doesn’t take internal resources to deal with.

You will get to know yourself better if you are alone with yourself. 

Most of us don’t like silence.  Many of us instinctively turn on the radio when we are in the car.  I personally believe this is a function of discontent of wanting to be moved on to the next thing, rather than being present and enjoying the moment you are in.  This stems in many ways from us not liking ourselves or perhaps just general discontentment.  If you are able to turn down the noise, it makes it easier for you to hear your intuition and in fact understand yourself a little better.

It allows you to write without inhibition.

In addition to being able to create content, I also wrote a ton about my thoughts and insights as to how my life is going right now, and as a result I have gotten to know myself very well this weekend and I am glad of it.  I write regularly anyway, but this just adds more to the experience.

It is my hope that this article inspires you.  If you have been jonesing to get away, I say do it.  Be responsible however, and don’t use it as an excuse to dodge responsibility.  Get all your work done before your go if you are in that kind of position.  If you are a front liner who doesn’t have a lot of additional responsibility, just judiciously use your vacation time to unplug and get it done!

Just remember to be intentional about how you are using the time.  Are you resting? Are you looking to restore creativity?  Do you need to be alone with your thoughts?  And so on, what is your goal?

What would having an extended block of solitude make possible for you?

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