Like many who are not close watchers of all things royal, I did make an exception and watched the recent wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I planned to watch for the pageantry, to admire the hats and to see the royal family and the finely-dressed A-list guests.

Instead, as the nuptials concluded, I realized I had received a lesson in how to be serene in solitude.

The Bride

Serene in solitude, a bride expects her father to walk her down the aisle, only to learn late in the week he is not well enough to attend.

Missing her father, the bride walks alone but self-assuredly down the aisle followed by a sweet group of very young attendants. Midway to the alter, she is joined by the groom’s father who continues the walk with her.

The Mother of the Bride

Serene in solitude, a mother is seated, the sole person in the pew. Her joy, admiration and love for her daughter visible on her face. She does not appear to be self-conscious or ill at ease in her solitude in that pew.

Both Dorie Ragland and Meghan Markle maintained that air of serenity in solitude, while being watched by millions of viewers and while thousands of miles from family and friends.

Doubtless, you and I will not face this situation. However, I suspect we can all recall situations where we did not intend to be solo, but there we were.

How do we develop a level of serenity to see us through those moments? Here are some possible answers:

Meditation

Meditation is practiced in many forms, from a 5-minute break to concentrate on breathing, to a deep and lengthy study over time. Whatever the level of commitment, most people find it is beneficial in centering their emotions and thoughts.

Support from a Family Member or Friend

Family and friends may not be physically there with you in the moment, but in their absence you can bring to mind the kind words and confidence they have built in you over time.

Physical Activity as a Habit

It didn’t surprise me when I read that Dorie is, among other things, a yoga instructor.

Whether a gentle contemplative yoga practice or a weight workout, has some physical activity helped you feel more at home with yourself? Since not every activity or practice is right for everyone, consider what may be right for you and your ability level.

Have you had moments when you unexpectedly found yourself in unintended solitude – and not so serene? How about when a dinner date didn’t show and you sat alone for what seemed like hours in a restaurant at a table for two?

Did you fidget in your chair, look around to see if anyone was noticing, pull out your cell phone and scroll messages to appear occupied? I have and vow that next time around, I will have learned the art of serenity from Dorie.

Have you ever found yourself in a moment where you found yourself alone and vulnerable in a moment of solitude? Do you enjoy your time alone or do you feel uncomfortable? What are your tips on serenity? Please share in the comments below.

Mary Lou HarrisMary Lou Harris is a proponent of active living, community volunteerism and inquisitive travel. After a post age 60 retirement from a career in public service, she expanded those interests to include ultra-trail running, hiking and extended-stay travel. She can be contacted through her website or on Twitter at @stillarunner.

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