I have been moored in the above spot since Friday. It is just above Weston Lock on the Trent and Mersey. Because of the vegetation and silt, there is only comfortably room for one boat to moor. Since this trip began, I have only found a handful of moorings as isolated as this.
I have found that I can only deeply relax when I know I am going to be without company. My spirit expands to fill the space I am in and it feels wonderful. I can honestly say that I have not missed human company at all on this trip. Yes, I have had friends and family at the end of a phone or computer and that has been good, but day to day living without being face to face with anybody else has felt so normal I haven’t even really noticed the lack most of the time.
So I come back to my question – am I odd?
From Genesis onwards when God said ‘It is not good for Man to be alone’, society has arranged itself in communities and has treated with suspicion anybody who lived outside the group. These days, it seems to me, you are a second class citizen if you are not in some sort of relationship with somebody. It doesn’t really seem to matter if it is with a lifelong partner or someone you fell into bed with the night before, but if you live as a single person, I find you are treated with pity if not with downright suspicion.
It seems to be assumed by most people that if you are alone then you must be lonely. If you are single then you must be in search of a man – or woman! If you are a single handed boater, you must be in need of a crew (or as a woman, a captain!!) And if you actively seek out solitude then you must be, at the very least, odd!
I have been exploring what draws me to solitude and have come to conclude that it feeds both the unhealthy, damaged side of me and the whole, spiritually searching Mandy. The scarred by life part of me feels threatened and therefore frightened when anybody gets too close to me. I want to push them away – aggressively if necessary. But this part of me needs to be healed and the only way I can see of addressing it is by being in the company of other people and practising not feeling threatened.
However, the wise woman (as a close friend persists in calling me) needs space and time alone to explore the universe, both outer and inner, and that is where any wisdom or spirituality I have comes from. And there’s the rub. How do I organise my life so that I have both company and solitude? How do I begin to address the ‘defensive child’ in me, whilst at the same time feed the ‘wise woman’?
As for being odd, well I can live with the label. One of the advantages of being at home in my own company is that other people’s opinions of me are held fairly lightly.
OK, end of introspection for today. Normal service will be resumed shortly!
Oh, one more question. I have started to consider how I am going to earn my daily crust again and wondered whether I could write for a living – articles or even a book. If anybody has any comments or suggestions how to go about making money from my ramblings, they would be gratefully received. (Lynda, I’m particularly thinking of you!)