"I'm feeling anti-social today," Layla explained. Layla is going through challenging times. I understood and respected her need for space.
The next day, I asked Layla if she was still in an inward, reflective mood. She wasn't. She was ready to engage again. Extended retreats are wonderful at times, but currently, Layla's life is demanding clear, decisive action, so I was relieved to see her reemerge so quickly.
The need for retreat, reflection and hearing one's own voice is not generally honored in our culture. We speak of introspection as if it's a weakness or a problem. We wouldn't accuse an extrovert (or someone in a social mood) of being anti-reflective.
I try to align myself with my community members so that my presence supports their inner journey instead of distracts from it. That's why I often am invited in by people who are keeping the general world at bay. But even so, there are times when the "do not disturb" sign applies to me, too.
Introverts of the world, let's unite and set the record straight about the need for retreat at times!
Or... maybe not. Perhaps it's better just to let the world turn without us on occasion. Maybe our challenge is simply to honor introspection in ourselves and put out our "do not disturb" signs when we are called inward.