Feeling Alone? Make Solitude Your New Best Friend
There was a time in my life when I couldn’t stand the absence of sound. Stillness and quiet irritated my already anxious mind. I had a TV in every room (which was always on), a fan at night to sleep, and the radio in my car always programmed for easy channel surfing. I was completely unaware of how my need for constant distraction was keeping me from the deeper gifts of centeredness, peace, and self connection.
Facing the devastation of my divorce became a launch pad for so many healing and supportive life changes. It was through the practice of Mindfulness Meditation that I first experienced the quieting of my mind. It was remarkable! I began cultivating a deeper connection with myself and a new desire for silence and stillness. The tables of distraction turned and now it was the sound of my car radio, TV in every room, and fan at night that irritated me. I started driving in silence, cooking in silence, and sleeping in silence.
The shift was notable and revolutionary.
I came to realize how fear was at the root of my need for noise. The fear of being Alone was the driver of my choices and behaviors.
It kept me spiraling in cycles of dysfunctional relationships, unhealthy interpersonal dynamics, loose boundaries, self loathing, and other unpleasantries.
If I were distracted I wouldn’t have to face myself or my shadows, and I could live “comfortably” in my ongoing stories of victimhood and survivorship. The noise helped me stay stuck and “safe” in what was familiar.
My new found pleasure in “quiet” led me to explore a new way of celebrating my favorite holiday, New Year’s Eve. In my past adult life, hosting elaborate NYE dinners with close friends was my tradition. Like all traditions, when a life changing event occurs, things often have to change. I said “YES” to a 5 day silent retreat at a spiritual center in the north-woods. While I was expecting to feel deep grief and sadness at not celebrating in my usual way, I was surprised to find exquisite peace, restoration, insight, and renewal in the comfort of silence and nature.
My days over the new year transition were filled with thoughtful nourishment, spiritual talks, teachings, meditation, ritual, personal reflection, writing, coloring, reading, nature walks, conversation, singing, community, and shared silence. Food for my soul. It was glorious and helped me not only process so much of what was happening in my life, but also create new intentions and rituals moving forward.
Since then, I celebrate and enjoy the winter season, the solstice, and the turning of the calendar year with reverence, stillness, silence, and self reflection. It’s my new tradition, one that was gifted to me out of pain and loss.
Always a beautiful reminder of what we can manifest when we choose to let go and surrender with faith.
It was also during this time that I came to understand the difference between Loneliness & Solitude. While they are synonyms, they carry very different energy and the mind-shift invites an impactful ease of grief and heartache.
Loneliness happens when we are living in the illusion of separateness.
Not just seeing ourselves as separate from others, but more importantly, as separate from ourselves. Something is missing. We feel incomplete. It may in fact be the absence of other people, but most often, it’s missing a deeper connection with ourselves. It’s a deep feeling of being Alone, which can happen even in the presence of other people.
It’s easy to get stuck in the victim story that we are “Alone”.
That no one really cares.
That we have to get through life on our own.
That no one is there to support or help us.
That we are incomplete or lost without certain people in our lives.
We may even have conveniently set up our lives to give us ongoing evidence to this (false) “truth”.
We push people away.
We choose to be reclusive.
We don’t reach out for help or support.
We base our sense of worth on the outside world.
There is a multitude of ways we keep ourselves isolated or separate.
If we get real with ourselves, we will quickly see that we are not alone. Even if in reality there are few people in our lives, there are indeed some. With a new lens we can see that community and support is not as distant as we once thought. And more importantly, we have ourselves – the Light of the Divine that lives within us. When we befriend Loneliness and see it for the illusion it is, we can shift into finding peace & gratitude in Solitude.
Solitude is to be savored.
It’s the safe space we can embrace to connect with ourselves, reflect, rest, and restore.
It’s also a space where we can feel, explore, process, and begin to heal.
It’s a critical element in cultivating a greater sense of health and well-being.
There is no Loneliness here. (And mind you, feeling lonely is not inherently bad. It’s a natural and human experience. But it’s a feeling, to be felt, processed, and released, not a state of being.)
In Solitude there is peace, stillness, rest, and healing.
I am forever grateful to have been given permission to embrace Solitude and release Loneliness. To heal and soothe my deep fear of being Alone.
I’m offering the same gift to you.
You have permission to find peace, comfort, and rest in Solitude.
To use alone-time for deepening a connection with yourself through love, reflection, and self-care.
You have permission to release your story about Aloneness and Loneliness.
If you are living in this space, it isn’t serving you. I promise. While I honor whatever grief or sorrow you are experiencing and processing, I invite you to choose this new perspective. Understand that this is not a simple transition, and there are tools to support you in making the shift. It starts with awareness around your beliefs and doing some self inquiry.
How are you using distraction and “noise” to avoid silence and stillness?
What are you avoiding or fearing?
I’m here to support you in your exploration and opening to a new way of being.
With Love & Solitude