I didn’t tell you about my silent retreat in London, did I? Jane was going away and so I said I’d cat-sit (a feral cat decided, about a year ago, that Jane needed taking in hand and so moved herself in). She’s called Prue (short for Dear Prudence Xanthe Antigone Isis Zampa-Narford). She is, quite possibly, the plainest cat in the world, with unfortunate markings that give her a faintly Hitler-esque air. I click my heels when I see her which makes Jane roll her eyebrows (of course she thinks DP is the most beautiful cat in the world. Truly love IS blind.)
Usually when I go to London it’s full-on busy. I will often have a pile of work commitments and I catch up with old friends. Then I will take myself off to see movies or exhibitions or just wander around the streets at night, remembering the old days.
This time I spent the week entirely alone. I didn’t speak to a soul. And, sometimes, maybe, you need to do that. Well, I do. Everyone’s different, of course but I go a bit nuts if I don’t have time alone. Blame it on being an INFP or an INFJ – I wobble between the two.
The Myers-Briggs personality type indicator was something I came across years ago, when I was studying Jung. Jung reckoned there were four principal functions by which we experience the world – sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. And that we expressed those in either an introverted or an extroverted way.
I wrote about this a bit in Spirit of the Home (as one’s dominant function will show very clearly in the way one chooses and designs, or not, one’s home). Two Jungian scholars, Katharine Cook Briggs, and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, took Jung’s ideas and developed them into an indicator. Is it useful to know? Well, I guess it’s handy if you want to understand what makes someone else tick – and if I were an employer I reckon I’d use it to suss out the best person for a particular job. But, for oneself? I dunno. I guess I just like taking tests (yes, I’ll waste time on those crappy memes about which colour or animal you are, or which Disney princess you’d be. Just kidding on the last one! What? Oh, okay. Mulan).
Anyhow. Apparently I’m an introverted intuitive who feels (rather than thinks). My type/s need time out. Yes, I can turn on the glitz, I can do my party turn when the situation demands. But I don’t seek out sociability for the sake of it. I easily become claustrophobic with people and I easily become bored. But I'm one of the good guys...yeah, really.
So. A week of silence. A week of doing…nothing. It would make a lot of people shudder, I know. Because lots of us get freaked by silence and tremble at being alone. But I figure aloneness is important. If you can’t cope with being by yourself, how can you ever hope to be with others? So many people avoid their own company: they keep busy, they keep talking to fill the silence. They distract themselves with shopping or television, the Internet, whatever. They numb themselves with narcotics. Oops, there goes the J bit (I’m such a judger, huh?).
Anyhow. There we were, Prue and I in London. Lying on the grass. Musing in the candlelight. Lolling in the bath (not together, I hasten to add). Watching worlds inside rain drops. Starfishing on Jane’s delicious memory foam mattress.
I did try to write a bit but Prue wasn’t impressed with that. So I let it be.
|See what I mean about the moustache?|
Prue? Oh, she’s an ISFJ. What about you?
There are loads of free tests based on the M-B out there. This time round I used this site: http://www.16personalities.com/