shining bright in near isolation?

Aurora Borealis. New Student Reference Work (1904) Aurora Borealis or Northern lights. Scan of 2 d image in the public domain believed to be free to use without restriction in the US.YOU SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ALONE,” people admonish me with regularity. I find solitude invigorating, and even formative (if someone my age can be in her formative years). Modern-day humans don’t get nearly enough of it.  Apparently the universe’s biggest stars—and by that I mean up in the sky, not on Hollywood Boulevard—agree that alone time’s just fine for making big things happen, a 2010 University of Michigan study revealed.

In a December 20, 2010 release, new observations by the university’s astronomers were said to “add weight to the theory that the most massive stars in the universe could form essentially anywhere, including in near isolation; they don’t need a large stellar cluster nursery.”

It’s a charming little (vast?) story, and written so that we laypersons can understand it—including a big-fish-small-pond analogy, and more. Have a read.

Author Katrina Kenison says this on solitude:

‘Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead.’


So the next time someone tells me I should get out more and mingle, I’m using this tongue-in-cheek retort:

No, thanks; I’m busy burning bright in isolation. :)


(1904 drawing of the Aurora Borealis via Vintage Printable. I understand that technically the Aurora is made of charged particles, not stars, but I like the image–it matches my mood. Poetic license; mea culpa.)

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  1. Kitty says:

    My sponsor calls me a ‘lone wolf’, alternating with the other term, ‘silver tongued devil’ ~ I really like spending time alone.

    When I mean alone, I mean really alone. That means not having the voice of another inside my head, which presents a challenge sometimes, as I am still trying to work out the long worn out internal childhood based ‘coping mechanisms’ negative self talk chatter that is endemic to the human condition.

    As of late, I have been learning how to box, and doing intense group workouts as part of that training, which ofc is not alone. I am amazed how much time it takes me to get other people out of my head. That being said, I am making strides, and as a result, time spent working by myself is getting much more productive and satisfying.

    Nice Topic, Maggie !


  2. Laura Biegger says:

    Yes, being “alone” is fine! How quiet it can be without radio, TV, arguing grandchildren (yes, they do that!), and knowing you’re the only one on the place for once. Lets me read in peace or take a walk around, whatever I want. Doesn’t happen often, though!

    1. Margaret says:

      SO nice to hear from all of you right away on this, Laura, Kitty, Kari, Colleen, Leanne. I loved that report about the stars; it just stuck with me. Happy to share it.

  3. Leanne Regalla says:

    Great stuff! I love my time alone – am guarding it selfishly this winter. It’s amazing how many people are annoyed by that! ;)

  4. Stars shine brighter when alone, but tuck them into a Milky Way or some other celestially lit place, and they fade!

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    follow Sharon Lovejoy on Facebook and Twitter

  5. Johanna says:

    As Voltaire wrote, “The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.”

    And here’s another quote: Language…has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone. –Paul Johannes Tillich

    Of course I named my place Busy Solitude Farm, so my loyalties are clear!

  6. susan says:

    Alone time for me does include my dogs, who make my soul happy. I can sit in silence knowing that there are here with me and create away.

    I will agree with Johanna, “The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.”

  7. Marti says:

    I have always needed some time completely alone each and every day. I have known this since I was very young. My Mom asked me once when I was quite small, “why do you spend so much time in your room?” My answer she told me after I was a little more grown up was, “Well Mom, everyone needs time to be a Person.” We laughed about that often and discussed what I might have meant by that at such a young age. We came upon the conclusion that alone we are free to think, act and just be exactly who and what we are. With others there is always some outside stimulous pulling and tugging at your very soul. May daughter and son are just like me with their need for solitude………

  8. Kathy M says:

    I have always found peace by being alone with nature whether walking in the woods or sitting with a cup of tea and watching our bees doing what bees do. Even as a small child I remember escaping the sometimes chaos in our home by going into the woods and sitting on a favorite rock and watching the birds and squirrels. Somehow it always made things better. Solitude is fuel for my soul.

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