On contemplation

gift from the sea …, the answer is not in the feverish pursuit of centrifugal activities which only lead in the end to fragmentation. … On the contrary, she must consciously encourage those pursuits which oppose the centrifugal forces of today. Quiet time alone, contemplation, prayer, music, a centering line of thought or reading, of study or work. It can be physical or intellectual or artistic, any creative life proceeding from oneself. It need not be an enormous project or a great work. But it should be something of one’s own. Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day—like writing a poem, or saying a prayer. What matters is that one be for a time inwardly attentive.

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On the need to be alone

gift from the sea Actually these are among the most important times in one’s life—when one is alone. Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships. She must find that inner stillness which Charles Morgan describes as “the stilling of the soul within the activities of the mind and body so that it might be still as the axis of a revolving wheel is still.”

On being alone

gift from the sea

Every person, especially every woman, should be alone sometime during the year, some part of each week and each day. How revolutionary that sounds and how impossible of attainment. …
As far as the search for solitude is concerned, we live in a negative atmosphere as invisible, as all-pervasive, and as enervating as high humidity on an August afternoon. The world today does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone. …
What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it—like a secret vice!