In his new book called Silence: The power of quiet in a world full of noise, Thich Nhat Hanh says this. “Real solitude comes from a stable heart that does not get carried away by the pull of the crowd, nor by sorrows about the past, worries about the future, or excitement or stress about the present.”

Here we are again with the rush and hubbub of the holiday season, better known as the hustle and bustle of Christmas, Hanukah, and perhaps Kwanzaa for some. It’s easy to get caught up in shopping, holiday parties, and all the varied activities of the season.

If real solitude is a stretch for us in June or August, how can we possibly achieve it in December?

How do we replenish our spirits when we’re going non-stop, with fifty things on our mind and with little time to think about solitude?

When creating the pictures over the course of some years for Transitions in Healing: A Journey, the images didn’t come out of hustle and bustle, for sure! Sometimes we are forced by our spirit to slow down, get quiet, go inward, listen, and actually pay attention to our inner life. Perhaps I missed some exterior things during those years of inner searching, but I didn’t notice them then and I can’t recall anything I missed today. While I don’t have to spend quite so much time in seclusion or solitude now, I continue to find it helpful, even imperative, that I do so on a regular basis.

Whether it’s just being quiet for five minutes a day or engaging in several minutes of Mindfulness Meditation, it’s beneficial to start the day centered. Or perhaps a few minutes at night is preferable. It benefits body, mind, spirit, and even the brain, to slow down and focus on the breath.

Perhaps we can think of it as a Christmas gift, or a holiday gift, to oneself.

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