So, I am finally writing again. I’d rather not know how long it’s been.
I’ve been here for a month and a half now. Whew.
Here are a few tips I have gleaned the past weeks about how to deal with loneliness. It’s probably my least favourite thing after uncertainty and the past few weeks have brought me a good dose of both. Moving to a new place tends to do that to our lives.
- Home is the poison. One of my aunts always told me that the worst thing to do during the day is stay home. She would say: home is the poison. I like the idea of getting up in the morning, following whatever routine gets you out of sleep and into the world and then heading out the door only to come back at night. A good cure against loneliness and boredom.
- But sometimes you just have to stay home. Because that’s where your computer is, because it is pouring rain and you are tired or because of some sprained ligament. The best thing to do then is to see your home not as a prison but a sanctuary, a place to rest and regenerate before facing the world again.
- Move. A lot. In ways that bring you joy and comfort. Moving gets you out of your head and into your body. Moving in conscious ways, will do even better and get you into presence. There are no worries when you are simply being present. Emotions come and go and leave you with a sense of peace. If there are tears, let them flow (that to is movement!) and keep going. Grow the discipline to move every day. Go for a run in the park. Check into a yoga studio or a salsa class.
- Moving too much or, I must say, too quickly might get you a sprained ligament. It’s okay. It sucks but it’s okay. You will now have to move in more conscious and significantly slower ways. Keep moving nonetheless. Breathing is considered movement to by the way. And please, forgive yourself for the injury, remind yourself that it could have been so much worst and that about 95% of your body is still in good shape. (this one is based on last week’s unfortunate experience btw).
- Use all the extra time for prayer and connection to the Divine. I know the common idea is that meditation and spirituality aim at emptying you but I beg to differ. Empty yourself from thoughts, ego and the world. But then fill yourself up with the Divine. Read Holy Writings, memorize words that fill your soul, pray like there is no tomorrow. Use that time of that having too much of a social life to nourish your relationship with God.
- Remember that this won’t last forever. That before you know it, you’ll be once again in a situation where there will be plenty of people around and you will beg the Lord for just a moment of solitude. I know, solitude usually sounds nicer in retrospect but try and change your perspective while it’s going on. Then you’ll really make the most of it.
- Go back to your vision. When you literally want to throw yourself on the flour and cry because things aren’t going your way, connect to the core of you. What brought you here? What great vision do you have for the coming months, for the coming years? Find the small pieces of your vision that are already there and tend to them like precious seeds. Replace negative mantras like “I am so so lonely” with hopeful ones like “It is a process”, “Things are improving each day”, “I am held”.
- Loneliness doesn’t have to mean isolation. This notion has been key for me. You might wake up alone and go to bed alone, and brush your teeth alone, it doesn’t mean you aren’t a part of this world anymore. Find ways to stay connected to the people and things that matter to you. The ones that make you feel at home, loved and alive and best of all, seen.
- Don’t take anything personally. You can work on that for your entire life actually. Let people deal with their own crap and don’t think it has to do with you. I know you wish you were the center of the Universe but it turns out, so does everybody else. So be kind to others even when you feel a little hurt or angry. When you want attention/love/comprehension and can’t get any, try to be a source of it for others. Yes, that takes some saintly effort but try anyways. Ask God to help you since He holds endless supplies of these qualities.
- Look back and see how far you’ve come. Give yourself a hug, buy yourself flowers or just take a big grateful breath. And another.
Well, my friend I hope this serves you. And that whatever you are going through is a source of growth and gratitude rather than complaint and bitterness.
“The soul hardly ever realizes it, but whether he is a believer or
not, his loneliness is really a homesickness for God.”
-Hubert van Zeller