Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Happens when all our Hiding Places have been Found

(Just threw in this old image - which everyone has seen before - because I think it's suitable for this post)

My childhood was spent in games of hiding. Hide and seek, cops and robbers, things like that. But I've always sought out quiet places for more than just games. I crave moments of solitude in safe places. I've retreated to rooftops,  beaten paths in forests, waters' edges, homemade structures, whatever kind if place I could find to feel grounded and comfortable in my own skin. To spend some time with myself and sort out the whirlwind of thoughts that constantly spin in my head.

But what happens when your special places start to become known to more people? Strangers showing up in spots you thought were secluded. Strangers who see the beauty of a place but ruin it immediately with greed, jealously and exploitation at another’s expense. Do you stand your ground and fight for the magic that these places hold? Or do you retreat and hope that you can come back another day when other’s will hopefully be busy with something else and leave you alone?

Or what about when you need those times alone and you feel like you have nowhere to go, or no chance to escape. The concept of wanting to be alone can be very foreign to some people. Why would you want to be alone when you can be with people? Don’t you like people? Aren’t we fun enough for you? Don’t you love us at all?  People see your need for time alone as a desire for them to go away. That is, of course, not true. It’s never that we WANT to be away from our loved ones. It is, instead, that we WANT to be with ourselves. I find that sometimes while I’m with people I forget how to be with myself at the same time.

And your relationship with yourself is the most important one you can ever have. Nobody should know you better than you do. But sadly this is the case with most people. We don’t like to get to know ourselves well enough to see our flaws, or even the parts of us that make us beautiful. We are so self-conscious that we’d rather not learn the reasons for why we’re wonderful. But don’t you think we would be so much happier if we did discover these hidden treasures within ourselves?

 I recently told a friend that what I want in life is a quiet place to drink tea and read books. She told me not to ever let go of that want. So basically my solution is this: I will always find places to be by myself. I might sometimes share those places with loved ones, or, depending on that place, strangers. And I will never feel guilty for needing the time to escape because after all, it will make me a better person to be around when I do return.

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