I recently wrote a column about Anneli Rufus' book, "A Party of One." Well, I finally finished the book. It's a big, "Whew." I can't say enough to recommend it, if only to understand people can live comfortably in society enjoying life with a few friends and mostly by themselves. Being alone. Sometimes alone people are contradictions, especially to society.
And you're reading this going, "Huh?" Ok, I'll try to explain as best I know. My brain and mind is geared to pay attention to life and the world. I'm a Taoist. Taoist observe, we look and see, and wonder. We let the vastness and diversity flow into us and let our minds sort it out instinctively and intuitively. We have an innate view to just go with the flow and be ourself as we best know to be good and whole.
I know I am alone in the world as a person, but I like company and conversation. It's part of the obsevation. I also am a photographer (like Duh, I have a Website dedicated to it). If you look, you'll see my images are either without people or as an observer of people. Portrait photography takes an interpersonal person, something I'm not. I have difficulty asking people to allow me to take a moment of their life, to capture a snippet of their time.
I like observing people and photographing them going through life, and as I see them at that moment. I like walking around places observing and photographing, whatever crosses my view and I can capture the image. I also like dropping in places to browse, like everyone does, and perhaps talking with the folks in the shop. I like sitting cafes, having a good cup of coffee watching the flow of the place and engaging in casual conversations.
So how does make me an alone person and not a "loner?" The word "loner" has all sorts of meanings and connotations to people, and explained in the book (above) to be misused by the media to be a negative and incorrect label. While I do almost all my stuff in life and the world alone I'm don't shun people, I don't dislike company (for awhile anyway), and I don't have grudges against people (ok, some people but don't we all?).
So why and what's the benefits? First, I'm not afraid to be alone, to be by myself, or within myself. It helps in my thinking, writing, photography and almost everything I do. It focuses my attention, helps address anxieties and fears, and helps find answers and solutions. It teaches me to trust my intuition. It teaches me to explore my imagination. It teaches me to question everything, even my own thoughts, feelings and ideas. And it teaches me to seek and learn.
Being alone may be fearful to some people. Our individual ability to be alone is partly genetic as is our fear of being alone. It's not either good or bad, it's just who we are. So, in future, you may meet someone who likes being alone and never know it. We're not always obvious and we're among you living our life just like you, as best we can.
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