Monday, May 10, 2010

The Importance of Solitude

Don't forget Solitude

We are, by nature I believe, social creatures. Quite frankly, most of us enjoy being seen. The popularity of coffee shops, for example, is that one can "be alone with other people". Social and visible.

In our (American) day-to-day lives, we are constantly on the go and surrounded by -- or interacting with -- scores of people. While this may help us develop and refine our social skills, it can also serve to dial up the stress levels to an unhealthy level.

To counteract this, we resort to such things as MP3 players and ear buds. However, one oft-overlooked solution to "Social Overload" is Solitude.

Solitude is temporary withdrawal. Isolation. A "coming apart" from the crowd to set oneself alone, with no distractions, no responsibilities and -- ideally -- minimal noise.

Solitude doesn't not necessarily mean sitting alone in a cabin in the woods and contemplating The Meaning Of Life. At the same time, simply sitting in a coffee shop with ear buds in, listening to Vangelis while writing blog entries is not solitude. I believe there's the necessity of physical separation involved in true solitude. What you choose to do during that time, I believe, is not nearly as important as the physical isolation.

Recently, for example, I enjoyed a day of solitude while working on a software project. I sat alone in an apartment in New York City, listening to enjoyable music (Gotan Project -- great stuff!) and sipping rum while working. Not only was I able to work at twice my normal pace, but the solitude enabled me to relax while still working. This helped me get into "Flow", yet stay connected with my realization that I was enjoying what I was doing but could quit at any time. At no time did I need to concern myself with the thoughts or actions of others. It was spiritual.

Solitude may be for only a few hours; It need not be a weekend (that would be terrific, and keeping in line with a new tradition I am starting for myself, that of a regular "retreat" to Solitude). Solitude need not be in a monastic setting; My own was in Alphabet City, sirens and music included.

Solitude must -- as obvious as it may sound -- involve only self. While that may seem selfish to some, let me remind you that you cannot pour a cool drink from an empty vessel.

All The Best,

-- Don

Saturday, May 08, 2010

George Rekers

George Rekers has made quite a splash in the news lately. If you're not familiar with the so-called scandal, quickly:

This guy is huge in the "you can become NOT gay through therapy/religion" movement.

So, he was photographed returning from a 10-day trip to Europe with a male escort. The escort can be hired through a website that rents gay escorts.

The buzz, especially from the political left, is that this Rekers bashes gays and wants to limit their rights and yet it turns out he, himself, is gay.

Rekers has defended his actions by saying he hired the guy to help him with his luggage while traveling, and that he (Rekers) used the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the escort.

The liberal media has jumped all over Rekers' apparent hypocrisy.

Disclaimer: Politically, I'm mostly liberal (with exceptions, mostly the 2nd Amendment, because -- like it or not -- it's the Constitution).

Anyhow, here's the thing: Rekers MAY be telling the truth, and I think it's unfair to ASSUME the scandal. Here's what may very well have happened:

Through is network of contacts, Rekers learned of a very contentious "gay guy" who could help him. Rekers then asked the guy to help him, knowing that he'd have 10 days to show true Christian love and explain the gospel.

And so he did.

After they returned, a photograph was taken at the airport where Rekers was tending to the luggage, "proving" that Rekers didn't need help because of surgery. In fact, when the photograph was taken, Rekers was not carrying anything and he very well could have been looking for documents (passport?) in his carryon luggage.

Later, the "scandal" breaks. The escort, now learning who Rekers is, sees the opportunity to "slam" this gay-basher and tells the press of a gay trist in Europe.

We don't know the fact, and never will. Do we really want to assume that Rekers is a hypocrit? Is that the kind of society we want to be? Do we want to assume the worst?

Given a lack of evidence, I suggest this story be ignored and just go away. With the Gulf of Mexico being destroyed by a huge oil spill and our government's efforts to reign in an unchecked Wall Street, don't we have bigger fish to fry?

All The Best,

-- Don