The billboard’s message, There’s more to life than “more” caught my eye for the first time while driving on the interstate near Dallas last month and then again this week a block away from my neighborhood near Houston. It’s a sign–literally and (dare I say it) so much more.

Days later a blog (another sign) caught my eye:The Most Important Skill Nobody Taught You by Zat Rana. He makes a case for the greatest achievement in the last 100 years: connectedness through technology and the togetherness constantly worldwide.

The positive ramifications of easy global access to others is understood. Completing business and checking in with friends in the states as well as in Spain, Australia,New Zealand, Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, the UK and Canada is beyond sweet.

The downsides? Among them, Zat Rana says:

We now live in a world where we are connected to everyone but ourselves.

 

Think about it (spoiler alert). Who has room for solitude with notifications pinging, zoom calls beckoning, SKYPE nearby and abundant news streaming 24/7 plus our jobs and family/social/community responsibilities?

And here’s when you have loads of appreciation for the late George Carlin’s dicey truth telling. This sign was on the internet and speaks to the pace of extremes you and I live. No one says it better:

Adding life to years— now there’s a concept worth examining. Combine Socrates dictum (another sign): The unexamined life is not worth living and the momentum to take a leap into what can be awkward and truly unfamiliar takes shape– and a darn good reason for solitude.

Imagine solitude— the state of being alone so you can connect with you. Electronics off. Are you feeling a little anxious? Wondering what do you do now that you’re alone? What can you accomplish ? Where are the questions to ponder? Strange. Feel like crying? Wonder why? Then, an urge to check messages?

What’s it like to “be” you? To breathe deeply and just be, gradually letting go of any stress to do? Observing what comes up for you, noticing and breathing as you let it go on by.

Read the signs:

  • There’s more to life than “more.” 
  • We are connected to everyone but ourselves.
  • The unexamined life is not worth living.
  • We’ve added years to life, not life to years.

The takeaway:

So, you’ve read the signs.

Say NO to “more” if only for a few minutes and connect to yourself through solitude.

No other agenda. No expectations. No phone. No computer. No pings, zings or dings.

You are nurturing self-awareness for those minutes alone. You are saying NO to “more” and being alone with your perfectly imperfect self.

Discomfort can morph to comfort as you allow any speck of self-acceptance to expand. Try it.There’s a kind of peace and calmness that’s quietly invigorating. It’s all right to be who you are, where you are, how you are–evolving, warts-and-all.

When will you take a few minutes today and connect to yourself through solitude? Being, so much more.

Looking for more ways to peacefully talk to others while setting boundaries so you can have solitude? Pick up your copy of the Say No Checklist now.

I’d love, love to know: What signs catch your eye? What about connecting to self through solitude– thoughts?


Mary Franz LCSW, PCC  is a couple’s therapist, critical incident responder, and personal strategy coach. Need to talk about a personal or business relationship challenge? Visit her website and ask for a complimentary strategy session.