can i sit with myself for more than 30 mins without doing anything at all?   can I sit without making a call?  checking facebook, text messages or emails?     can I sit in my own body listening to the twittering humming birds fighting, the waves crashing below me, little dog breathing deeply on my lap.

can i just stop imagining for just one god damned minute?  can I stop being so bloody infuriated by injustice?  can I just concentrate on the blood pumping around my body?

I sat alone in malibu all day and I did not nap, I did not look at pornography, i lit a huge fire, i fed the dog tinned salmon, i picked up my godson from  his drama class and ate chocolate with him in the truck as we drove down the PCH in the rain.

I like being on my own.  i have no idea what being with anyone would be like anymore.  I don’t know if I can share what I have.  being a curmudgeonly bachelor may be on the horizon.  was it meant to be like that?   probably.

strangely peaceful tonight staying over in deep malibu where my phone does not work.

i am a very lucky man.  i am surrounded by people who love me, who include me, who will catch me if I fall.

10 replies on “silence”

Sitting in silence can be terrifying or wonderful, but it’s always useful. Part of my recovery has been a huge dose of mindfulness. The therapy that I do is heavily based on Buddhism. Sitting in silence for 10, 15, 30 minutes every day is like exercise for the mind. It makes you comfortable with just existing. I think for people with addiction issues, just sitting and being is the hardest thing possible. Because we have nothing there but screaming emptiness, regret and pain.

I recommend it, whenever you can find the time. I wish very good things for you, happiness in whatever form you can find it.

And isnt it nice knowing that theres some one to catch you when you fall?
You seem a bit more settled, in mind anyways, i think people mistake solitude for being lonely when it isnt the same at all!
Have fun at the partys, all the glitz and glamour and then come back to whats real and solid in life.

I would echo Holly on this that solitude does not equal loneliness. Peaceful. I believe being able to be alone and happy with yourself is the corner stone for being able to share yourself in a relationship with another. You can be comfortable and peaceful alone, and not need another person to distract you or fill any void one may feel within.
Your home in Malibu sounds like an Oasis of calm. It is important to have a calm nurting place you can retreat each day.

In unnecessary answer to your rhetorical questions, I believe you can. Like anything unfamiliar, it takes practice. You might consider some form of daily meditation, whatever kind you would enjoy and therefore be more likely to continue. Just sitting is as good as any way. JUST sitting. NOT thinking. Allowing the mind to drift, without anchoring the thoughts. Just sitting. Being empty brings focus.

I don’t see you ever turning into a monk, but you do have a contemplative side which nourishes your inner peace. It’s the balance to your flash facets.

I agree with Mikey. I think you would enjoy a meditation practice. Working with the land is a form of meditation… as well as walking the dog. You can also sit for 15 minutes a day and concentrate on your breath. Long inhale / long exhale. When the thoughts come (and you know they will) just go back to your breath. The practice of non-thinking for 15 minutes a day can open a whole new world. Try it, you might like it.

I love the simple pleasures you describe in this blog post. Those little moments like eating chocolate with your godson — that’s what makes everything worth while.

How are you Duncan, it has been a while since I commented, but I still continue to read your blog, and i enjoy it every day. Today what you wrote about silence brought me back to comment. I sat down and thought about that, and considered all the things we take for granted. Thank you for reminding me about it. And I am glad that you are surrounded by people that loves you. Believe me, even if I am far away, i am not lying if I say you are in my heart, I want you to be well in every way, because you are my hero.

I am not an expert, but I think you are, in essence, meditating when you enjoy the chocolate with your godson, when you are sitting and enjoying a fire, when you are appreciating the rain. Those moments are present moments. I am working on trying to remind myself of that whenever I find my mind churning over the past or the future, so that my feelings of contentment and my present moments get longer and more frequent.

I have been without a “partner” for many years now, and it is two years (this weekend I just realized) since my children moved on. Being completely alone was new to me, and a very difficult adjustment–I found myself watching many hours of TV, to stop thinking, to disassociate. I knew that I had to give it up (I have done so a few times over the years, for a year or two at a time), and it was you who helped me to make the decision. Since then, I have adjusted and become calmer and more rested, and have improved my life in many ways. So thank you.

I think that I comment too often, but I would like you to know that your blog is important to me, and I appreciate the comments of your blogees. So much to learn from each other.

Duncan – You might benefit greatly from the thinking of Sister Wendy Beckett, a contemplative who is also an outstanding art critic. She lives as a solitary, in a house trailer, on the grounds of a Carmelite convent in England. One of the most warm and loving people you could ever know and not at all preachy. Sister Wendy has written several books on esthetics and also had an art history series on public television that was truly outstanding. She is so articulate (like yourself) and has refined emotional sensibilities, but also a marvelous practical vision of life’s reality. She is no stranger to suffering. Seriously. Check her bio out here:

Duncan: I just read your post on the Daily Beast. I just wanted to encourage you in your continued recovery. I watched the show because I could relate. You came across as one who was truly working the program and I am happy to see that you came away from it better. One day at a time. Let Go Let God. Never Give Up. Keep in touch with fellow sufferers. Isolation kills us. Honesty about where we are and what we are doing keeps us alive. All the best to you. I’ve been at this for almost 11 years, not “healed” but much much better over the years. Kind regards, DJF

Hi Duncan,
I’ve been thinking about the same thing lately…many people think they must find their “better half” in order to be “complete”. I have a friend that, instead, calls her husband her “better whole”. We need people in our lives, we are social beings yet, I don’t think we need a romantic relationship to be “complete”. We should be complete, whole and at peace with ourselves as individuals. If we find someone that can add to our lives and that we can share our lives with, that is awesome, but a partner should not “complete” us just “complement” who we already are…

peace, hope and love,


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