Thursday, April 21, 2011

Isolation's Worth

The other day my thoughts had turned to theme in writing and I've continued down that vein for the last couple of days. As I was processing those thoughts I thought "if I were to have a theme for 2010, what would that theme be". For reasons I am not entirely sure of the thought that immediately popped into my mind - and has stayed there in the subsequent days - was isolation.

Absent the meditations on theme, I am not sure if I would have gone there if asked to describe 2010 in a word - I would have been more likely to consciously choose healing. It was definitely a time of healing. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was an accurate enough description of 2010.

There are a couple of reasons for that. First, I think the process of being ill or injured is always a solitary process, as is an subsequent healing. Yes, other people can certainly make that journey next to us, but essentially, we are there alone - especially when we close our eyes, especially in the solitude of our minds, especially in the dark of the night. There are a thousand small things that we must move through alone, in isolation, when we are healing. The love and support of the people around us may very well mean we are not alone - but it is quite possible to be isolated in a crowd. The steps on the journey of healing are steps that we have to take - no one can take them for us. Healing is result of isolation's worth.

Second, 2010 was "The Year of the Great Purge" where nearly three quarters of my "stuff" was donated or trashed or moved on to it's next home. Ultimately, that was work that was done in isolation (though with the constant encouragement of T.R.), even though other people physically helped (my friend B. was invaluable in the simple task of hauling things up and down stairs, especially since a lot of it was done while I was on crutches). The process of going through the things, of reviewing them, sorting them, and psychologically purging them is largely a process that must, of necessity, be solitary.

Those two threads lead me to the term "Isolation's Worth". You see, when the term popped into my mind, it was absent any of the connotations our modern, over stimulated society, absent anything negative. It is isolation in the sense of being alone, in the sense of being still, in the sense of being unfiltered. If I look at the events of late 2009 and 2010, when I consider all the things that happened, on the small and intimate scale, on the large and grand scale, I think of it as a time of necessary, healing, healthy isolation. I have come through that time with a clearer, stronger sense of self and direction than I have had in a long time.

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