SIX : Alone, Together

This morning I got to join the regular Monday morning meeting of the Creative Music Workshop downstairs in the main room at 1313 Hollis, and I’m so glad I was there. They are a super thoughtful group of movers and sounders with a regular practice of meditation, movement, listening and playing together. I really appreciated the open and curious spirit of this group – honest offerings, spacious playing and lots of laughs.

For the first five days of my time here, I’ve been struggling to balance what, in my usual mind, are the completely separate entities of socialising and solitude, with their respective sets of rewards and challenges. I should add that this is an issue that goes far beyond the first five days of this residency – it’s probably the life thing I tweak and juggle the most in general, with a personality that is interested in people and loves connecting but needs solitude to centre, charge and create. For my ten days in Halifax, I simultaneously have been wanting to have a hermitic solitary workweek and to make the most of being in this community by meeting new people and hanging out with friends. What’s ending up happening is a panicky feeling that I’m not doing enough of either.

But today, and a lot of times in the past week in improv sessions, good conversations and connections with friends, a new dimension to this previous duality (in my usual mind) is emerging. A nuance to the social vs solitary debate. First, the possibility for meditative, safe, mindful social experiences that foster presence as well as connection, and conversely, the reality that a significant portion of my solitary time is characterised by anxiety, critical voices, unrealistic expectations, over-analysis, etc. So the lines of safety and risk are not so clear, in fact.

I’m so very very far from saying that I’m no longer essentially introverted and will now gloriously spend all of my time in groups (cue the sound of exploding fireworks factories) but this morning’s group session was a beautiful reminder to consider the possibility that time spent alone or with a bunch of people can be grounding, enriching and calming. The secret ingredient may be farther from control of the environment, time management and preconceived expectations, and closer to learning to stay present, breathe and flow along in whatever the social or solitary situation.

[And I discovered the Halifax Public Library café! (See above photo) From whence I write. (Yes I said whence).]