Read the challenge yourself here.
I’m sort of going to break the rules here. But, I don’t think the folks running this challenge would have a problem with that, nor would Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose book Resilience has inspired this whole shebang. But, here’s what I’m going to do…respond to the Emerson Quote that introduces today’s challenge instead of the challenge itself partially because I do not think the challenge actually sticks to the heart of the quote. Here it is in full: It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
So far, this is the first quote of Emerson’s from this challenge that I actually have found helpful and true. Whether you have some type of faith commitment or not, a discipline of solitude and silence, so highly regarded by many religions as well as the great thinkers of the ancient world, the great poets of history, and most of the great men and women from America’s past, is crucial!!! I, personally, am an introvert…not in the “I’m afraid of people” sense, but in the Myers-Briggs “I like to process my thoughts and recharge alone instead of with people” sense. Therefore, I instinctively know the power of being alone with one’s thoughts and with one’s God.
I’ve been able to participate over the last few years in silent day retreats. No one is allowed to speak. We travel to some beautiful location. And we just exist there. Some take journals with them, others a Bible or inspiring book. The leader of these retreats warned us, and was right, that the first reaction to slowing down and unplugging from the busyness of life is exhaustion. I often spend the first two hours of these getaways horizontal and comatose! How tired we all are! You and I. We go and go, not knowing that our bodies would prefer to just shut down than to go one minute more!
Personally, I find these day retreats about 13 days too short as well. They are excellent, no doubt. But, we’ve all noticed how it’s usually day 5 of our vacation when we begin to feel ourselves unwind a bit, and that is only true if we’ve truly, and intentionally, unplugged. Sadly, the iPhone and Blackberry tend to keep this from ever happening for many. But, even when we leave the social media, emails, and cell phones behind, it takes, literally, days to begin to rest. Just as a day away required a couple of hours of sleep for me, a week away requires 4 or 5 days of getting over the withdrawals from the addiction to the rapidity of normal life. But, can we afford to get 10 or so days away? Would our companies fail? Would our online relationships dissolve? Would the Earth cease to rotate around the Sun? Would life as we know it cease to exist? And would that be a bad thing? Hmmm.
If you need to think more about this. Here are a few posts on it from a mentor of mine.