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Solitude is very different from a 'time-out' from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other.
Finding some quiet time in your life, I think, is hugely important.
There are three reasons why I live in Scotland. First, I like silence, and you have to be a millionaire to buy silence in Italy. Second, I like cold weather. Third, in Italy I have too many relatives and know too many people, so I never get a quiet time.
We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly - spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.
I'm an early bird, partly because I like to have some quiet time and partly because by 9am emails begin arriving, the phone starts ringing and I have dragons to kill of one sort or another.