Solitude has been used as a punishment since the dawn of recorded history.
What’s the highest level of punishment levied in ancient civilizations? Banishment…solitude.
What’s the highest level of punishment levied by organized religion? Excommunication…solitude.
What’s the highest level of punishment levied in a modern prison? Solitary confinement…solitude.
Solitude can be the greatest challenge, especially when forced upon you.
Solitude works as punishment because isolation and loneliness suck the life out of us. We’ve known that instinctively, and now scientifically since the very beginning of our existence.
But a season of solitude also provides a unique opportunity.
It’s an opportunity to recharge, refocus, and recommit. To elevate the priority of some things that seemed less important a short time ago. To try new things or rediscover your love for old things. To follow your heart or mind in a direction that didn’t seem possible before.
Jesus, Ghandi, Buddha, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Shakespeare, Newton…whether it was forced or by choice, physical or mental, all of these great figures knew and used some form of solitude to their (and our) benefit.
If they could use it, can you?
What can you create?
What can you learn?
What can you read?
What can you write?
What can you think?
What new direction can you explore?
What old hobby that once brought you joy can you pick up again?
To whom can you reconnect?
With whom can you connect deeper?
What emotional wounds can you address and work through?
Transform your perspective.
Your possibilities are literally endless, but it takes perspective. A perspective of gratitude, of opportunity, and of possibility.
If you can find that perspective, a season of solitude may be exactly the thing that gets you unstuck, or on the right track, or more productive, or completely changes your life as you now know it.
Give it a chance.