on loneliness

saying i was lonely aloud would have been a cause of major embarrassment for me a few years ago. i would never admit i felt lonely sometimes, i saw it as a sign of weakness, desperateness. not only would i not admit it, i went out of my way to busy myself. loneliness to me, then and now, does not necessarily mean being alone. i’ve always enjoyed doing things alone, going to movies, dinner, reading, exploring and more recently running. i used this storyline, in my mind, to reinforce that i did not experience loneliness. this past summer, i began spending more time alone, partly for the purpose of being alone and partly because of coincidence, i would meditate, practice yoga, write, or just sit outside alone. i would try to “do” very little. i ….i remember feeling like i was wasting time, i remember checking my phone to see if anyone had called or texted and i remember this uncomfortableness in my body, this urge to move or to reach out to someone, in my body i experienced shortness of breath with a sense of heaviness. as i identified it, i gradually worked on sitting with it, not doing anything, and i worked on listening to sounds to become more present and to get out of my head. i practiced awareness outside of a “formal meditation practice.”  i practiced putting away all distractions and just letting the feelings wash over me. late last summer, i left the states for germany. the first few months in germany, these feelings intensified, and recently i had a breakthrough. it was around my oldest daughter’s birthday, last october. i remember feeling so much love and loneliness at the same time. i remember feeling so much gratitude to have so many people back home to miss and my youngest daughter, sister, nephew and brother-in-law in germany to love. i felt excitement over new friends and experiences to cultivate.  even more recently, i’ve noticed more ease when other’s emotions are running high. i feel more calm and level-headed. i experience disappointment less and feel a sense of intimacy through friendships and experiences in ways i never imagined. by learning to sit with loneliness  i have learned to connect more, with myself, with others and with the world around me.

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4 thoughts on “on loneliness

  1. There are many times throughout my days, weeks, months etc…that I feel that lonliness. I have that feeling and the need to be attached to something. It’s a horrible feeling actually. It causes anxiety and allows me to lack self confidence. I am currently working through the “being alone” phase with my prolonged exposure therapy. One of my homework assignments is to be alone, with no distractions, for at least 45 minutes, 3 times a week. Self reflection, silence, breathing…aww sounds refreshing actually. I love this post…

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    1. Thanks Ben, sounds like really powerful homework 🙂 and makes me want to sit in silence too! doing nothing, as my friend Sarah reminded me today, is underrated!

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