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Mindful : June 2014
Solitary Refinement Being alone can be scary. We often actively avoid it. Tanya Davis is good with solitude. She wrote a poem called How To Be Alone, full of tips on the many ways you can come to enjoy being by yourself. She suggests starting simply: go to the library, have dinner in a restaurant, take a stroll in the woods. “It doesn’t mean you aren’t connected,” writes Davis. “Just take the perspective you get from being one person alone in one head and feel the effects of it. Take silence and respect it.” How To Be Alone—shared in both a Yo uTu b e video and an illustrated book by filmmaker and animator Andrea Dorf- man—has received more than six million online views. Davis has hundreds of Facebook friend requests, and gets glow- ing emails from all over the world. “I’m not saying anything new or par- ticularly astounding,” says Davis. But she feels people find the poem “really satisfy- ing, because they are seeing elements of their own experience in there. Aloneness is a universal topic. “When I hear stories of other people’s lives I’m very touched,” she says. “But I continue to be pretty solitary. I work all day by myself, and I’m used to it.” As a yoga practitioner and meditator, she’s found a way to deal with feelings of lone- liness. “Sitting down, seeing the thoughts come and watching them dissipate while not holding on to them has become a real tool for me.” ● OVERHEARD “Meditation can become a natural part of our everyday lives. It’s simple to use and has the ability to reach far and wide, from children riding buses to school to teenagers just hanging out to business leaders in countries around the world.” k.d . lang To see the video of How To Be Alone, and more about the book, go to mindful.org/alone June 2014 mindful 11 ILLUSTRATIONCOURTESYOFANDREADORFMAN