You’re not alone

Throughout our lives, we have moments of being completely thrown into a space of chaos. I’ve heard from a good friend and others that when they found out that someone dear to them passed away, they didn’t want that day to end. They clung to the day because as long as it was still happening, that person was still that close to them. Sleeping meant the person would transition to memory. Each day is clung to while the mind tries to make sense of the void created in their life.

We seem to spend our entire lives trying to establish ourselves in a routine. Even if that routine is constant travel, breaking the pattern feels awkward. Beyond awkward. Having our patterns shattered by life happenings, happens. Yet, when it does, so often we just do the same thing over and over – we cling. We fight for things to return to normal or a state that resembles the old pattern even though it never will be. There are Twilight Zone episodes written about this exact human response. It is in our wiring to react. When the reaction doesn’t help us reclaim what was ours (our patterns, our objects), it feels like chaos. This is when we can feel alone. That panic, that sensation that is unexplainably so painful that no one else ever EVER could have possibly felt it so intensely as this. It’s a physical, hollow, aching, throbbing pain and the primary reaction to that is wondering, why won’t this pain just destroy me so that it will end? I’m not talking suicide although I might imagine that is what it might feel like. It is the darkest part of life and it sits there destroying any other thought that tries to present itself. We feel lonely in our aloneness.

People tend to feel most lonely when they are in a crowd because the individual becomes one of many. The self loses the self. If this is true, what happens when we are literally alone? We have to acknowledge that we are social creatures that need human interaction which means we have to seek it and do the work to make it happen. When we withdraw, something happens and it becomes more difficult to do the basics. So again, we have to make ourselves uncomfortable in order to gain the benefit of interaction. Feeling lonely is a state of self-judgement of feeling unaccepted (when most of us have many friends available to us if we took a moment be honest about it). When I first began taking yoga classes, I would go without speaking with anyone as I watched people gathering, laughing and hugging. I felt unaccepted and lonely. I kept going back and over a month in, someone said ‘hi’ to me that I had seen a few previous classes. At that point, I settled into my space. That to me, is life. No one starts with a feeling of comfort but you keep going back. This is what I have most learned being here in Connecticut and having lived in so many different cities around the country: the feeling of making myself uncomfortable in order to make gains. I have had to give up a lot – beyond what readers of this blog need to know, but it is part of my journey. I can’t say that it is easy as I have ended relationships, dissolved friendships for new hobby persuits and just been unable to maintain friendships or gotten enough sleep because I spent more time and energy in a different place. But I learn. I learn every day what is working for me and what is not. I would encourage readers to think about habits and patterns that you might have that maybe aren’t the best for you to be holding on to, and shed it. Seriously. No thinking about getting ready to think about changing. That is what is exhausting. How about you have a habit you feel is bad for you and so long as there is no harm being done to yourself or others, you embrace it? Persuing your desires is not a bad thing but clinging to feeling bad about that desire, is unhealthy. In most cases, it’s the feeling of self-judgement that is doing the harm to you. That’s where the change might happen. Change can make us feel alone. No, change can make us feel lonely. But the truth is, loneliness, like love, fear, anger, passion, are all emotions that we experience and with training realize that we have a choice to feel these things. One can feel lonely or one can appreciate the opportunity for having to deal with something so uncomfortable while she happens to be alone. Once we can give up the self-judgement, we open ourselves to self-love. This is part of the human experience. This is yoga.

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