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Solitude: A Daily Ritual

by | Jul 23, 2008 | Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration

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Solitude: A Daily Ritual

In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives,
to our memories, to the details around us.

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

How are you all doing with balanced living? We haven’t talked about that much lately, probably because I’ve been too busy to be balanced! But in the quiet of the evening last night, I thought again about my need for balancing busyness with solitude. Especially in the busiest seasons of life, we need to find time for solitude. It is so important to our well being! But how? How do we find that time when life swirls around us and expectations abound?

Here are a few thoughts to stir our thinking:

  • Make the time for solitude and let some things fall through the cracks.
  • Try doing one less blog post per week or read a few less blogs in busy seasons. Blog world will still spin without our constant communication and participation. Your true friends will be there when you return.
  • Save up your emails and deal with them all in one sitting to avoid the constant interruptions.
  • Get up one half hour earlier to enjoy the quiet of the morning.
  • Turn off your phone and computer earlier in the evening. The world can wait until tomorrow.
  • If you have children at home, shut the door to your bedroom or bathroom for a short time each day or evening (if your husband is home or your kids are old enough to be alone!) and tell the children mommy is in quiet time.
  • Set appointments with yourself to do something different each week with some quiet time. Wander through an art museum, read a book at a new coffee shop, walk through a botanical garden, listen to music and daydream.
  • Create a special place for solitude. A clean and inviting bedroom can be a private sanctuary. Put on fresh sheets, pull open a window and a set a bouquet by your bedside.
  • Create rituals for your private time and look forward to those experiences. Light candles, journal your thoughts in pretty notebooks, meditate on gratitude, pray.
  • Learn to say no without excuses.
  • Be selective in how you spend your day, making sure to guard your private time.
  • Give yourself permission to live life at a different pace than others around you.
  • Make ordinary moments more special. A morning cup of coffee can be a memorable daily ritual if we slow down enough to savor it in solitude.
  • Be yourself and live authentically. Trying to impress is a sure fire way to be unbalanced in life.
  • Let go of the guilt for things you can’t get to and things you cannot control.

I’m challenging myself to continue to practice solitude every day in some form or another, even through this busy season (my daughter’s wedding)! Feel free to join in any way you can! I promise, it will be life changing if you are not in the habit of it!

Photo: This Old House, Eric Piesecki. I love that wall color!

Related posts by The Inspired Room:

Disconnect Challenge

Balanced Living in 2008

Grace Notes: Morning Solitude

Grace Notes: Alexandra Stoddard



  1. Kathleen Grace

    I hear what you are saying Melissa, and I know you are right. Now I just have to get over the feeling that those solitary pursuits are a decadent and selfish use of my time. That I should be constantly “accomplishing” something. There is no shortage of “the tyranny of the urgent”.

  2. bj

    good morning, friend…
    this is such a beautiful post; i myself am having a lot of time to think and ponder and wonder about while i am getting strong again. it is one part of the recovery program that i am enjoying!
    hugs, bj

  3. Ann Marie

    Such good advise. I’ve learned over the years and give myself time for solitude pretty often. And, I gave myself a break from posting on my blog this week; just because I needed some time away. (I’m obviously still reading my favorite blogs though.) Anyway, this is a lovely post with wonderful ideas for finding a little peace.

  4. thequeenofre

    Good Morning, So true. And great advice. Living a real and true life IS the best way to go.

  5. marykay

    Melissa – thanks so much for visiting my new blog and for your very kind comment!

  6. Monkey Giggles

    Hey it’s me again. That last post is from me Monkey Giggles. I was signed in under my other blog.

  7. Brittany

    Thank you so much for this post. I need more solo time but it’s hard to combat the guilt. Thanks for the support.

  8. Sarah

    Your words ring true. I get up about 1/2 hour before I actually have to, just to sit and enjoy my morning cup of coffee. Why does life seem so….busy. I miss the days when I was a child and summertime meant running through the sprinkler and just enjoying life. Oh to be 6 again and not have a care in the world…or a list that needs to be checked off.

  9. Carrie

    I love this post! This is exactly what I need to focus on. The guilt stacks up for me too. Its like I need someone else to affirm the life the Lord has called me to live. Separate from the world. slow, guilt free, making conscious choices to gaurd my quiet time. and my family benefits!

    BTW, the color is fabulous!

  10. Carrie

    sorry, for that. Wrong blog address!

  11. pam

    I have learned to just say no to people, it was hard at first but I was getting burned out, and I felt it was more important to take care of my family with out so much stress.

  12. Melissa

    Thankyou for that post to remind us to slow down – even if just for a small amount of time spent with the Lord…

  13. Marie

    If there is a blog I can always count on to make me gasp when I see the photos, it’s YOURS. I love, love, love that wall color! THAT is the color I wanted for my office…but I didn’t get. Oh well! Anyway… I love the list you compiled. I should read it daily to remind myself to take some time out of LIFE. Yesterday I sat on my bed and read a book. I haven’t done that in a long time…and it was nice!

  14. Susan Drysdale

    Beautiful Post! I also love the room you posted. That gorgeous archway, pretty blue paint and the white trim are wonderful.

  15. Barbara

    Hi Melissa,
    I love that room, the paint color is what I have in my master bath, I was going for serene and spa-like… didn’t quite accomplish what I wanted, but it’s amazing how just having somewhere peaceful where you can unwind at the end of the day can help you regroup. It’s such a simple routine, but getting ready for bed and the rituals of turning in at the end of the day help my mind slow down and stop going a million miles an hour thinking of the to-do lists…

    Thank you for the reminder to slow down and enjoy today a bit more rather than always waiting for tomorrow.

  16. Joyce

    Just came across your blog and find it very interesting and inspiring. I really enjoyed reading some of your posts and will definitely be back again!!

  17. julia

    Thank you for a gentle and powerful list regarding solitude and quiet… I absolutely love all of these Melissa. when put in practice it seems i am always way more effective in whatever it is i am doing. This is a necessary reminder for this busy life we often get too caught up in.
    have a wonderful day today!
    love j

  18. Penny

    Wonderful advice Melissa….and perfect timing for me. Thanks!

  19. courtney

    Ah Melissa…such a wonderful reminder…am sort of longing for the day when my kids are old enough to let me lock myself away for a few minutes… :-)

  20. JUST COOL Design Blog

    great advice – so funny because i was thinking this morning i spend way too much time blogging blog reading and should spend more time in the real world! love your blog–thanks for sharing it!
    btw adding you to my blogroll

  21. please sir

    I need to make more time for just sitting quietly and thinking – thanks for the reminder!

  22. Vicki K

    Today I almost didn’t read your entry in search of more time to reflect and process, but I’m glad my need for closure (checking my daily 20) overrode – I have been encouraged by your thoughts. Thank you!

  23. Pat

    Striving for this Melissa. I’m cutting back with the blogging routine. Will only post when I feel inspired. Which has already been a couple times, this week! All we did was take a little day trip and see a movie and my urge to share was very strong!

    But I have cut back on visits. Only visit half my list per day. As usual, I’ll visit all those who comment, but it might take a bit longer.

    Taking a rest is a good thing.

  24. Jeannene

    A lot of really great advice to balance my time. I will take it too…

    Thank you for your post Melissa I hope you are enjoying the rest of your summer. Do you have anyone going back into school soon?

    There is a new post on “In Her Shoes”, posted today!


  25. Vee~A Haven for Vee

    Such good advice! Course if I’d given up reading blogs I wouldn’t have found it! ;>

    I’m not writing a blog today, but I’ve been sewing so my world looks a wreck. Think that setting that back in order will bring about some sense of peace.

  26. Andrea Mitchell

    Thank you for the great advice, Melissa … now all I have to do is follow some of it! Will try and do so today :)

  27. aswewalk

    Oh, yes, a voice of reason in a too-busy world.

  28. Denise

    Thank you for this challenge/reminder, Melissa!

    It reminds me of the story of Susannah Wesley (mother of quite a number of children – 17 or 19 or something – two of whom became a famous preacher and a famous hymn writer ). She would flip her apron up over her head and the children would know she was praying. That’s one way to train your kids for solitude and to still be “present” if you can’t close the door!!

  29. Melissa

    Hi Friends! The thing I love about the early morning is I get the solitude in first. No teenager in their right mind gets up before noon, right? My house is pretty quiet in the early hours.

    Seems like once the day gets going it is SO hard to find the time and the peace! I love the apron over the head idea, you do what works!

    happy solitude!

  30. rosieswhimsy

    Perfect timing….you seem to always have it! I love all my blogging buddies and your so ,right we’ll all be back here (blog land) sooner and or later as we come and go with our busy lives. It has been refreshing to see many taking time for themselves and family. It reinforces what we all know ….. we’re allowed!

    Hugs to you Melissa!
    :-) Rosie

  31. Ele

    What a great list to remember! The blues in that house are so relaxing.

  32. Sharon Goemaere

    A little something awaits you at my blog Melissa!Love~Sharon

  33. seeb

    I love your ideas especially about early mornings,one hour of early mornings worth as a whole day, when you have time for thinking reading…all yours.
    But for other things I have to wait with a 2year old girl and 5year old naughty son!!!

  34. Carrie Oak Rise Cottage

    Great advice. Alexandra Stoddard is one of my favorite authors, and one who inspired me to seek and develop an enhanced lifestyle. I’ve enjoyed reading her books and giving them as gifts.

  35. catherine

    I always thought that as I got older that life would slow down. For me it’s been just the opposite. I love your post reminding us how important it is to get priorities in order and slow down a bit. I’m looking for some solitude!

  36. Laura Ingalls Gunn

    Set to commence on August 4th also known as the day Phoenix mothers shall celebrate the passage known as “Back to School”. :)

  37. magdalene

    I just stumbled upon your blog today via someone eles’s blog….can’t remember whose was it.

    I must thank you here for writing and publishing such an interestinig topic blog post. ….Solitude!!

    I need to find a peaceful place to retreat!!

    I am very stressed and depressed lately. Lots of going on in my life now. The moving house issue is driving me crazy. My jewellery shop is doing ok but needs more new stock (i design and create my own range and retail them) and health is not so good too lately.

    I will keep reading your blog posts. Please do visit mine web blog if you have sometime.

    Thank you.

  38. KJ

    Like Kathleen Grace, I thought of the “tyranny of the urgent” as well. Everyday I endeavor to find balance and order, and yet still take time to refuel. It isn’t easy, that’s for sure.

    These are some excellent points. Blogs and email can consume huge chunks of our life if we’re not careful…

    Even cell phones monopolize us. I have made the case many times that there was a time when we went grocery shopping without cell phones and we weren’t worried about who was ringing our telephone at home—even possibly without an answering machine! Why do people treat every call like it’s an emergency? It only makes me want more balance. But God…

    Hugs, KJ

  39. Mari-Nanci

    -Oh sigh- What a wonderful entry! I really needed this. Thank you, Dear One.

    Miss Mari-Nanci

  40. A-M

    Oh goodness, reading this I realise I don’t have ANY solitude. You are better than a therapist! Thank you for such a wonderful inspiring read every time I visit! A-M xx

  41. Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall

    Melissa, the timing of this one couldn’t be better! God is really working on my “solitude” time! I love this post, very inspiring! So glad you are here in blog world!

    BTW, you must now I love that room:)

  42. Amy Brooke

    Your site is reallly beautiful. I love the practical pieces you give. I also liked the Virginia Wolfe quote that you led with.


  43. Suzanne Eller

    Isn’t it odd how that in this culture restful time is seen as “killing time” instead of restoring and nurturing relationships, physical being, and slowing down long enough to enjoy the moment. As a cancer survivor (I was 32 when it was diagnosed and a young mom) I have learned what it means to slow down and enjoy solitude, joyfilled moments, and to balance life. Sometimes I have to stop and slow down again as it’s a constant temptation to give in to the mentality of running at breakneck speed through life. : ) Great post.

  44. Enjoying Life

    I love and enjoy solitude. I have been doing it since I was a child, at that time I didn’t knew that it was something called Solitude or that I am finding happiness in being alone.

    I only discovered all this theory later, when I found that I got irritated and sad when I wasn’t able to some time for myself. I loosed my energy and enthusiasm.

    Now, when I know I need it, life has made it difficult to find some time for myself everyday.



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