National Hermit Day

For some of us, October 29 comes as a welcome holiday, since we naturally lean towards a more solitary life. For others, this sounds like a difficult thing to do, as they are more socially minded. But whatever your natural bent, today is a day to stand back from the crowd and be on your own.

St. Colman of Ireland lived as a hermit in in the Burren Forest in a cave for seven years. He died on October 29, and it is believed that today’s holiday is in honor of him. People who want to get away from the pressures of the world and live by themselves, may be found in all over the world. For many, this is a spiritual practice, as the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the third century CE onwards. The Irish are also noted for this practice. There are no deserts in Ireland, so the Irish hermits tended to find remote, rocky places to build a small hut away from others.

These hermits attracted others, both because of their lifestyle and piety. They sometimes formed small communities, or monasteries. In Ireland these would be presided over by a male or female abbot, and were sometimes had both male and female members.

Today, for most of us, this doesn’t appeal as a permanent lifestyle. Yet, though humans are social animals, we also need a certain amount of alone time to gather our thoughts and to unwind from the demands of life. Today is the day to do that without feeling guilty. Detach from social media. Turn off your phone and television. Shut the door and read a book, or write your thoughts or simply meditate. Take whatever time feels right for you, whether that’s a snatched fifteen minutes, or an entire day. Feel what it’s like to be quiet and alone, at least for a little while.

Quotes about solitude.

All humans are frightened of their own solitude. But only in solitude can we learn to know ourselves, learn to handle our own eternal aloneness.–Han Suyin

Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your won presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.–Alice Koller

Do not rely completely on any other human being, however dear. We meet all life’s greatest tests alone.–Agnes Macphail

Each of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. … When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open-ended transition but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality. –John O’Donohue

I feel the same way about solitude as some people feel about the blessing of the church. It’s the light of grace for me. I never close my door behind me without the awareness that I am carrying out an act of mercy toward myself.–Peter Hoeg

I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.–Audrey Hepburn

I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.–Henry David Thoreau

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.–Pearl S. Buck

It is in solitude that the works of hand, heart and mind are always conceived, and in solitude that individuality must be affirmed.–Robert Lindner

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.–Aldous Huxley

Solitude can be frightening because it invites us to meet a stranger we think we may not want to know–ourselves.–Melvyn Kinder

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