It’s true, spending time alone locked up in limited space with limited social interaction, does help in getting insight. When I am in Saptari, Nepal for work, I go from work to the guesthouse and spend all evenings and weekends alone. Sometimes I haven’t heard my own voice for an entire day.

I have taken to art journaling, to relax my mind and tuck away the uncomfortable thoughts that keep surfacing. It works well, most of the time. Sometimes the thoughts are still there but the pain is numbed by the bright colours on my palette. One way or another the art helps!

The reduced social interaction, increases my capacity to analyse and introspect without requiring validation from the outside world. I also realise that the prolonged reduced social interaction makes superficial social interactions less bearable and definitely less desirable. So much of being with myself, makes it difficult to not be completely myself always.

So all this introspection, rumination, analysis brings me new insight into my life experience -professional and personal. I must say that reading Le Petit Prince had something to do with this revelation too. In the last 4 years living and working in Ahmedabad, I clearly spent more time working directly with children than with adults. I saw children everyday and got a chance to build beautiful relationships with many of them! I still live off these bonds in my mind.

This I need to survive, the child like view of life is essential for me to feel like the world is a better place. Their honesty and straightforwardness when you allow them to be, gives me hope for the future. Being around their quiet company doing a familiar activity or their enthusiastic search for a new pleasurable activity is relaxing and therapeutic for me. I didn’t realise that working with children was therapeutic for me. And all this time I thought I was the therapist!

Too much interaction with adults and too little interaction with children is not working out for me. As Saint-Exupery says:

“…. I have been in touch throughout my life with all kinds of serious people. I have spent a lot of time with grown-ups. I have seen them at very close quarters which I am afraid has not greatly enhanced my opinion of them”

Yes, need to go back to working with kids directly!