a need for solitude

“Sunlight in the Blue Room” by Anna Ancher
“Sunlight in the Blue Room” by Anna Ancher

My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a “lone traveler” and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude – feelings which increase with the years.
~ Albert Einstein
(Einstein: His Life & Universe)

17 thoughts on “a need for solitude”

  1. Good morning Barbara, I love today’s quote from Einstein. Though I do feel connected to family and friends — this post makes me feel it’s OK to also enjoy being alone.

    I delight in your gentle, thoughtful Blog.

    1. Thank you, Sybil. I treasure my time alone, but like you, I do feel connected to family and friends, even though I don’t feel a need to see or hear from them every day the way some folks do. 🙂 As I get older, I’m not so sure I’d want to live entirely alone, though.

  2. Well, what I mean is, there are things I love that are being destroyed and I can’ t stop the destruction. I am left wrestling with the business of coming to terms with loss, trying to feel acceptance and peace toward those who are destroying the things I hold dear. Which makes me feel lonely, indeed.

    1. I think I kind of understand that feeling, Melissa – sometimes it’s so hard to believe the universe is unfolding the way it “should” be. I feel so helpless when I think of the way animals are being treated on factory farms, and when terrorists succeed with their deadly plans. But there are people who are making great efforts to let a light shine in the darkness and make choices that will lead us away from destroying things.

      My mood changed with the weather today – the wind is howling now and that makes me feel lonely, too.


  3. Hi,
    A lovely painting.
    I hadn’t heard of this quote from Einstein before, but I think we all need some time to ourselves every now and then, it can help to rejuvenate us I feel, not to Einstein extent though.

    1. Thanks, Mags – I agree. Einstein was such an observer that he had a tough time engaging in social niceties and small talk, even with his family. Perhaps it is the price he paid for having a great mind – it is lonely at the top, perhaps…

  4. Beautiful thoughts and painting. Every now and then we do need our solitude, that one place where we find peace and comfort.To reflect and discover our heart’s whispers. But unlike Einstein, I wish to travel with someone. It doesn’t make sense to me to have everything in this world and have no one to share it with. The most wonderful memories are those that we shared with someone we love then, now or those that we will love forever. Have a blessed weekend my friend. Where you journey, we travel with you, atleast through this blog.

    1. It’s true, Einstein was a compassionate soul and championed social justice and social responsibility, yet one gets the sense that he never found a true soul mate to travel through life with. I’m grateful for my life partner – we give each other space for solitude and we enjoy sharing things, too. And it’s so nice to know my blogging friends are traveling with me – what a great thought, my friend! Blessings to you!

    1. You’re welcome, Steve. I discovered her about a year ago in Wikipedia Commons while doing random searches for paintings to go along with the quotes in my collection. There are so many artists to learn about – I could poke around there all day!

    1. Thanks, Robin. I remember reading that in his day Einstein was followed relentlessly the way we follow celebrities today. It’s probably no wonder he needed so much time to be alone…

  5. Love the painting and the quote. My history of art degree didn’t include Anna Ancher I look forward to seeing more of here.

    I also treasure my space and my solitude especially after busy days at the Museum but because I’m no Einstein, I like to travel with someone.

    I love how Island Traveler put it: “The most wonderful memories are those that we share with someone we love.”

    1. That’s wonderful you have a history of art degree, Rosie! It must be impossible to include every artist in one degree program, there are, thankfully, so many of them. So far I have one other Anna Ancher painting on my blog at: http://www.ingebrita.net/archives/4483

      It is true about memories shared with others we love are the best, even if those moments are shared with an animal or a tree…

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