Sometimes, I see Mom struggling with her sleep, to give me company. When I say, ‘Mom, why don’t you go to sleep?’
‘Then you will be all alone!’ She says.
‘Hey, I don’t mind being alone at all.’ I keep trying to convince her.
Being a widow doesn’t mean that one is all alone. I mean, just remember, when hubby dear was alive, how much time did we spend together anyway? The man went to office, then his sports and other activities. Yes, we had meals together, mostly. But there was a lot of time spent on one’s own even then. So, it is okay, to be alone. I remember there were times, when kids were small and I was on holiday from my job, I’d look forward to some ‘me time’ alone.
I’m sure you do, too.
It was something for which one often yearned. Specially, us writers and artists, do need time to collect our thoughts.
I’m sure everyone does.
Why do you think, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) spent forty days and nights in the cave of Hira?
We all know it is possible to be really lonely in spite of being with company. You can be in the middle of a swinging party, feeling lonely and lost. So, it is not about being alone at all. It is all about being comfortable with yourself.
Are you comfortable with yourself?
Why do we put on this loud music, television, YouTube videos, and what not, just to distract ourselves or to entertain ourselves? I suppose it is a bit of both.
Dr. Wyne Dyer often welcomed silence, as he believed, then you were in the presence of God. Isn’t that precisely so. I mean, half the time, I’m talking to myself, I get confused if I’m talking to ‘myself’ or to Him.
I know, one thing He certainly talks to me. All those ideas that come to me from nowhere, definitely come from Him. I heard this two-hour amazing talk by Ashfaque Ahmed at the National Art Gallery in F-7, when he spoke about the creative process happening straight from Allah. Only God could make man do all those magical creations, like the Sistine Chapel paintings, and so many other things.
Many times, the visions I receive, are unrelated to what I’m doing, and then there is this idea sitting right in the middle of the room from no-where.
I’m reading a very interesting book these days gifted to me, ‘Big Magic – creative living beyond fear.’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes, the same one who wrote that block buster book ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ Which later was turned into a movie, with Julia Roberts.
So, ‘you probably don’t need it!’ my Nataliya said to me while handing to me. Its true. I’ve never been in any ‘fear’ about my creativity. I mean not really. But just a bit. It has never consumed me, it has only challenged me and pushed me further.
I’m not afraid of failure.
Both ways, I gain.
Failure certainly teaches one more.
But success is definitely more pleasing.
So why worry!
The worst thing is: to not be doing it.
So, I’m sure you’ve seen many of my goof-ups – lots of them online – it is okay. In my twenty-five years’ career in free-lance journalism, there were many goof-ups. Some on my part, some on the part of the newspaper or magazines. It happens!
Much better than not happening at all!
Here is the legendary Bulle Shah, telling us to stop getting angry, tell the truth and clean up your inner selves. This is what I mean, how can we clean up our inner selves, if we are busy with other activities and being with other people. It is vital to be alone with one’s self and do some cleaning up. That is when space is created for your inner creative self. When you can begin to function as your own self.
Creative process only happens when we are alone. That is when ideas find the space within us to penetrate.
As teenagers, people are usually very keen to be part of the ‘in’ groups in the school. As the Academic Coordinator in Roots for the O’level students, I witnessed a lot of that. I found myself observing students keenly, and often invited them to my office to discuss any issues they had. Sometimes, for no reason at all except to satisfy my own curiosity about the student. Especially if they intrigued me. I’d invite them in just to talk to them.
I used to observe a student who would always be alone. There would be a group of young boys and girls chatting at the other end of the class, but this young man wouldn’t join them. I began to worry about him, so I called him to my office. I found him to be intelligent and quite mature. In fact, so mature, that I realized, he had chosen to sit alone, rather than to keep that kind of company which he himself didn’t like.
Wow! I was very impressed. It also means that he was a strong young man. I hope his mother knew what a gem she had brought up. I love this kind of confidence in a human being. To know what one wants; and to fearlessly go for it. – Also to happily pay the price for it, if needed. I am sure this young man was never ‘lonely’.
This is what I mean.
Be complete within your own self. Be satisfied with your own choices, because you made them consciously and with great deliberation.
Then if you find the right company, fine. If you don’t, that is great too, because you are already in great company.
May I confess, I’ve grown to care deeply for my readers now. Stay blessed.
Note: Photographs of landscapes and stones by Sarmad Sarosh, rest of photographs by author including the rooftop mountain one. Punjabi Bulle Shah poem taken from WhatsApp forwards, photograph of book from Amazon.books, Rumi poem on my painting, photograph by author/artist.