This morning I drew The Hermit. And I laughed because it’s 2020, so obviously I’m an expert on being a hermit now, right? Except, is that really true?
2020 has been a ridiculous year. And sure “social isolation” has been a big component of it. I don’t want to discount the emotional weight that having to keep 6 feet or more from … everyone … and not being allowed to gather in groups … and having to wear a mask when you’re around people has. But even shut at home in our little bubbles, are we really cut off? Are we really “alone”?
Anecdotal evidence: I sit in front of this machine where my thoughts are digitized and immediately broadcast for the consumption and entertainment of others. I have email, four social apps, and a streaming music service sending me a constant stream of information about others in my “social circle.”
Reader, I am not alone. And if I let it, the cacophony of that digital stream will drown out my own voice very efficiently, and for as long as I want it to.
Sometimes that’s comforting. When you’re dealing with mental illness, being completely alone with your thoughts can be a terrifying prospect. So each person needs to make their own assessment about how much “alone” is actually healthy for them.
Still, for most artists, finding some time to be alone IS healthy. Some amount of cutting out the noise of “what will everyone think?” is required if you want to hear what makes your heart beat… if you want to connect to your intuition… if you want to find out what you really think about … anything.
Enter The Hermit…
“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”
Henry David Thoreau
Outside distractions are inevitable in this digital age. Our constant connectedness and our necessary responsiveness to the needs of those in our circle of influence take up a lot of mental space. Do you find your thoughts drifting when you sit down to try to be still?
If you’re having trouble turning off the chatter in your head so that you can hear your muse, The Hermit offers this advice: There is no remedy so potent for the distracted mind as time alone to reflect.
Solitary contemplation is so important for your writer’s brain. The Hermit card reminds you to take time away to process what you’ve been soaking in through your daily experiences. Being able to turn off the distraction of your day-to-day is necessary to finding the Truth with a capital T that we’re all seeking through our thoughts and words on the page. But it’s a practice that can only be developed over time.
The noise of the outside world may drown out your intuition. Remember to trust your gut. You have everything you need to tell your story already within you. Give yourself the quiet and space you need to get it out onto the page.
Key Words: solitude, meditation, introspection, trust your gut
Caveat: As I said above, knowing how, and when, and how much to turn off the outside distractions is unique to each individual. Always keep a solid, reliable support system around you. Hell, even Thoreau had his mom nearby to do his laundry for him.
So ask yourself, “Am I in a place right now where I can safely and joyfully take some time out?” Even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes a day. And then turn off those apps, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, and spend some time listening inward. Channel your inner Hermit. Once you get past the noise, I think you’ll be pleased to discover that your intuition has been waiting there for you all along.