10 Steps to Harnessing the Power of Solitude

by Florence Falk PhD -

How to find profound spiritual meaning in the silence and stillness of solitude: 

Whether young or old, alone or with a partner, we can use solitude to guide us towards inner freedom. But this can only happen as we embrace solitude for what it is: a potentially creative and life-altering experience. 

In its space--and perhaps only there--we learn to harness our inner power and contemplate those things we wish to pursue to make ourselves whole. 

That's when we begin to listen to what our own voice is telling us and move to our own rhythms. 

With newfound self-awareness, we are able to change our perspective, step out of old ways of behaving, and live and love fully and creatively.


1. Learn to Befriend Solitude

Solitude has a bad reputation. We tend to think of it as a lonely state. Nothing can be further from the truth. We need the rich soil of solitude to grow into ourselves. Spend a few minutes each day in solitude. 

Turn off your cell phone and TV and just let yourself be in stillness. Gradually, as you befriend solitude, rather than flee from it, you will begin to hear the voice of your own authentic self.


2. Stay Patient

To be in solitude takes patience. Patience allows us to stay in the present so that we can reflect and change. Most of us are feverishly impatient. We want change and we want it now. 

Being in solitude takes patience so that we have time to rest, reflect, and restore ourselves. That's when we start to listen to ourselves so that true change can happen.


3. Start Where You Are

In solitude, you start where you are, with whatever feelings you have, not where you want to be. Expect that at first all sorts of raw emotions will come up, like fear, anger, frustration, shame or guilt. 

They belong to the old voices that tell us how we should be and what we ought to do. Question every should and ought that crosses your path. Know that you are on the right path--your path--when you feel your own voice kicking inside you like a babe in the womb.


4. Begin Your Sorting Process

In fairy tales, the princess is often given the task of sorting before she can begin to weave her new life. Solitude gives us the same opportunity. 

We sort and separate out the old voices from our own personal voice, the old story from the new story, which is about us, what we desire, and how to get it.


5. Take Time for Self-Blessing

A blessing is an act of reverence that bestows protection, holiness, and love on the benefactor. But the deepest blessing is the one you bestow on yourself. 

As we enter solitude, we let ourselves breathe deeply and quietly. Then we need to bless ourselves and our journey so that we might gain, or renew, a sense of our own loveliness.


6. Close the 'Knowing vs Living' Gap

We all know many things we want to nurture ourselves. Yet we often don't give those things to ourselves because the 'gap' feels too wide. 

Know that it is not. In solitude, chose one thing you want to nurture your growth and give it to yourself as your gift.


7. Remember the Small Moments

Wonder and joy are almost always found in the small moments that make up our lives; listening to the sound of a seashell, walking through the woods, knitting a new scarf, baking bread, listening to a bird sing. 

Solitude teaches us to pay attention to these small moments and realize that they are the jewels of our life.


8. Reconnect to the Sacred

As you take time to be in solitude, you will learn that it is food for the deprived self. 

We enter solitude for many reasons: to rest, to nurse our grief, to ease the strain of giving others more than we give ourselves, to hear the sound of our own voice, to nurture our creative energies, and for many of us, to honor our search for a spiritual life.


9. Step Into Your Own Life

Stepping out is an act, a self-assertion, a movement beyond whatever steps you have taken before. It means something different to each of us. 

Solitude, however, is a dynamic state that will in time lead you to where you want to be. Suddenly, without knowing exactly how or why, you will find yourself ready to be, or act, in ways you never could before.


10. Be There for Others

Solitude teaches us that we are both alone and all one. As we grow stronger in ourselves, we find that we have more to give to others-our partners, children, friends, but also the larger community of which we are a part. 

Spend some time to be with those who have been deprived of love and mentoring and desperately need it.