Friday, August 13, 2010

"How to Be Alone": Four Minutes of (Beautiful) Solitude

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J.—I said I was done for the week in my last post, but this was just too good not to share. So, not quite yet...

One of my friends on Facebook shared a video that really spoke to me personally, so much so that I think it'll speak personally to some of you too. It's a setting of a poem entitled "How to Be Alone" written by Canadian singer/songwriter Tanya Davis, filmed by another Canadian, Andrea Dorfman, in a charmingly whimsical, vaguely Michel Gondry-ish style.

Loneliness doesn't have to be a bad thing, as Davis suggests. If you're comfortable with yourself and remain engaged with the world even when you're alone, solitude can actually be quite beautiful. That feeling of having your thoughts to yourself, being unburdened by others' wants and demands, and being free to contemplate and explore on your own—to my mind, those are feelings to treasure (at least, as long as you balance solitude with the equal pleasures of social interaction).

Besides, aren't we all alone, basically? As Rainer Maria Rilke, that great poet of solitude, once wrote: "At the bottom no one in life can help anyone else in life; this one experiences over and over in every conflict and every perplexity: that one is alone. That isn't as bad as it may first appear; and again it is the best thing in life that each should have everything in himself; his fate, his future, his whole expanse and world."

Here's the video:

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