Photograph by Arthur DurkeeLoneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.” —May Sarton

I am an introvert by nature. Simply put, I recharge by spending time alone. Mostly, it’s a good thing. There have been, however, occasions when I’ve taken this to an extreme.

My ideal is to spend time by myself when I am drawn to solitude, not to isolate because I want to avoid people. As a friend said to me once many years ago, “People are messy.” And I often feel that the complexities of social interactions can become too burdensome to navigate.

But of late, the time I’ve spent alone has been enriching. The quiet of my surroundings seems to cultivate a sense of stillness within. I read a little, write a little, cook, do chores, think.

Right now I’m eating a late lunch and watching the winter sunlight stream in through the front window. The wind stirs the branches of the trees. It’s a cold, cold day outside.

But inside I feel a soft glow of gratitude. For at this very moment, what I have is enough. And to experience an equilibrium between my inner and outer worlds is something to relish.