As the weather turns cold and our days are the shortest of the year, the darkness can feel challenging.
While we’ve passed the longest night of the year, we still have a long winter ahead, and for some, that can bring on a sense of depression, anxiety, and most of all, loneliness.
I was reminded of the intensity that loneliness can bring when I recently saw the movie, Green Book.
I loved the movie, and highly recommend it, for several reasons. But the message that stood out the most for me was that if we would just look beyond the surface, we would realize how connected we all are.
The feeling of aloneness comes because we feel separate from life, separate from others, and most of all, separate from ourselves.
We feel lonely, but we fill the void with food, alcohol, games, screens, and nearly everything but people. And by people, I include ourselves.
In fact, I think filling our loneliness with ourselves, in our alone time, is even more important than doing so by connecting with others (you’ll see why below).
How often do we, in those feelings of loneliness, take time to be alone with ourselves?
What if we got to know ourselves more deeply by giving ourselves attention? What would that look like?
In the movie Green Book, Viggo Mortensen’s character, Tony Vallelonga, says to Mahershala Ali’s character, Dr. Don Shirley, that he should reach out to his brother, who hasn’t been in contact for a long time. Tony says to Don,
“There are a lot of lonely people out there afraid to make the first move.”
This line stood out so powerfully for me.
What keeps us from making that first move?
Why do we fill the void with anything other than what we really long for, which is connection?
I will never forget the day when my sense of loneliness transformed.
My husband had just moved out, and my children were in bed. I was sitting in contemplation, and I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be alone.”
My heart ached, even while I knew that separating from my husband was the right thing to do.
I sat for a long while contemplating what it means to be alone, saying the word over and over again.
“All – One”
I realized that this word, *alone*, was comprised of the words “all” and “one.”
In my love of the origin of words, I went to the dictionary and looked up the meaning of the word “alone.”
The definition that stood out to me the most was, “considered without reference to any other.”
I realized in this moment that when we are “without reference to any other,” we’re being fully ourselves. We’re not pretending to be something we’re not for the sake of pleasing someone, conforming to societal norms, following rules or trying to fit in.
We are our own unique expression of Love made manifest.
The more I sat with this idea, the more I began to realize that we cannot know the connectedness of all of life, i.e. that we are indeed “all one,” unless we know ourselves “without reference to another.”
In that moment, I began to see the value of being alone, and committed myself to being “without reference to another.”
I never knew myself in my marriage. And in not knowing myself, I couldn’t really know my husband either. In fact, I couldn’t know any of life the way I do now.
I felt a sort of liquid-love wash all over me that night. I felt embraced, and held in ways I’d never felt before. It’s like my Spirit had been waiting my whole life for this moment.
To be alone is quite different from being lonely.
Being lonely is an emotion we feel when we feel separate. But being alone is a state of being that actually brings us closer to the realization that we are not separate from anything.
We often project our feelings of loneliness onto others or onto various vices, expecting them to fill the void. We struggle to be alone because it can feel painful.
Being alone in the stillness of our truth can generate tremendous pain.
We may realize how misaligned we are with our True Self. We might see things we don’t want to see about ourselves, or realize things we weren’t ready to realize. Often, shame or guilt comes up, and we feel angry. We might think we’re angry at life or others, but more often than not, we’re angry at ourselves.
Yet, the beauty of that anger is that it is often on the other side of Love. When we can be with and integrate the anger, or other emotions we have, we’re better able to be with ourselves, love ourselves, and care for ourselves.
From there, we’re better able to have fulfilling relationships, meaningful work, better health and greater connection to Spirit.
Who doesn’t want these things?!?!
Being alone is a foundation for awakening our inner wisdom.
Our alone time Is the space we give ourselves to work magic below the surface that eventually expresses our fullness, just as Mother Earth, in the seemingly lonely winter, is working Her magic below the surface to bring forth the blossoming of Spring.
Our alone time is the foundation for our becoming the best of ourselves as a critical part of a Sacred Whole.
Even while I now love being alone, I still feel lonely at times. But I’m no longer expecting something outside of myself to fill that void. I’m willing to be with the feelings and listen to their messages. I’m able to receive the gift of loneliness as a catalyst for becoming more my True Self.
I still long to connect with others, but now it is in a way that is not needy or expectant. My longing to connect with others is more about sharing the Love that I have found within myself.
I invite you to reconnect with your Self by shifting your perspective on loneliness. Allow your loneliness to invite you into quality time alone, getting to know your Self. Tap into your inner courage and take the first step on the journey to YOU!
It is not an easy trip to take, but you have what you need to make the journey. I’m here for you if you would like a guide.
You are the one you’ve been waiting for!