The Art of loving loneliness

For all the lonely hearts :

Loneliness only has power over us when we go to great lengths to avoid her. Facing her can be incredibly painful at first. And then it becomes beautiful. Both are true. These words are for me, they are for you, they are for us—to hold close to our chests as we navigate those raw rivers of loneliness that can hurt so much. Because we can find gems there. Solace, too. And the most tender, unexpected bravery.

~

It is 7 p.m. The air is stagnant and heavy, breezeless, begging for rain. The trees are still and thirsty. My temples throb with anticipation and a feeling of anxiety.

It is 7 p.m. The loneliness is so big I swear it could swallow me whole.

Were evenings always this long, this drawn-out, this empty?

Were the moments always stretched so thin, a frayed eternity packed in a single second? 

My voice is low, a hoarse whisper, as I ask these questions aloud, in increasingly begging tones. The tears come now, as darkness slowly falls on the horizon, like a curtain—and I long for the scraping gravel sound of your car pulling up. Then my heart could do happy flip-flops, instead of throbbing with this lead-like heaviness.

My skin seems to stretch out, as though it’s waiting for your kisses, for every ounce of me remembers the tender, salty touch of your lips.

I am hungry. Not for food, after all, I just ate dinner, but for love—your love. I am hungry to be touched by your hands and loved by your lips. It is a hunger I walk around with daily. It has embossed my face, it’s a parched spot in my aura—a deep hunger I cannot satiate.

It’s 7 p.m. Saturday night. I wish we could be together at the river having a picnic, talking about everything, and eating dried mangoes.

I look down at my phone, like maybe it’s an oracle, like it could give me all the answers—searching. Searching. I search for something. But I come up with nothing. Just wishing I had the courage to text you the three words that seem like the scariest things to admit to myself, let alone to you—I miss you. 

But I can’t do that.

Instead, I slip into a bubble bath, the steam and lavender oil eating away a big chunk of this gaping feeling in my chest, like there’s a giant crater where you used to be.

Because, I think, as the bubbles reach up to my chin, if I did reach out to, I would want it to be because I love you. Not just because I’m lonely.

And do I know the difference yet?

Not quite.

So silence sings between us, save for the few texts of arranging when you’ll pick up your things. And I really thought this parting of ways would be so much easier. I didn’t think it would hurt this much.

It’s all the things my mind can’t figure out. It’s all the whys and hows and wondering—will it maybe work out at some point? It’s all the nagging questions and non-answers that drive me nuts.

A neighbor knocks on my door, the rhythmic sound jolts me out of my thought-filled reverie, but I don’t answer.

I’m fresh out of the bath, naked, crying on the bed, and I don’t want anyone to see me. I don’t want to speak, for my lips can’t move, only my fingers reach to type. I hide in these words like they are the thick, soft bosom of a nurturing mother.

I’m so lonely, but I need to find my way through this.

That’s the truth.

My mind races again, cycling predictably—did I give up too easily? What happened between us? Why did everything spoil and turn sour?

But the thoughts lead nowhere.

I don’t want to think.

I want to simply be.

So I breathe in, and do what feels so brave—I don’t call you. I don’t call anyone. I could, but I know that’s not what I need.

I expand into this thing called loneliness.

Slowly, awkwardly, one inch at a time, I explore the vastness of her edges. And as I do, I realize she isn’t so scary. She’s quiet, oddly peaceful, full of these words, ripe with fruits of fragrant possibility, and little sparks of all the things I didn’t know I could do…

I expand into loneliness. I steep in her, like tea.

The result is breathtaking. Shocking, too.

I expect it to feel terrible, upsetting, and harsh, like getting my eyebrows waxed—but I feel held. Courage blooms from the growing softness in my heart. Plumes of fire are born of plush tenderness. My whole body relaxes, for I didn’t realize how tired I was.

I face tonight alone.

And I didn’t know I was scared to be alone, but maybe we all are sometimes—and that’s okay. Let us dive right into the fear. Let us not avoid it, because that only gives it power. And as always, once we face fear, even by just voicing it—it becomes infinitely less scary.

I sit boldly in the lap of this alone—unfolding into her, like a lotus flower blooming one petal at a time.

Stillness comes over me. 

I melt deeper. My bones become silk. And even though in moments my heart still beats so hard it feels like it could smash into smithereens—I find that I do this alone rather well. I’m not bad at being alone. I just rarely give myself the chance to practice.

So practice I do.

I plunge into this spaciousness—to explore the mystery of me…

All the hot, spinning galaxies I am, all the truths and stories and heartbreaks that are packed inside me. And it feels really empowering.

I navigate what felt impossible just moments ago…I rest in the arms of loneliness.

Immense freedom comes over me, in a shiver, in a feeling of excitement and expansion. 

Yes. There is immense freedom in this.

Self-reverence.

Trust.

Celebration.

Loneliness wraps around me like a robe. And it is not empty or barren—it becomes sacred. Luscious in its own, strange wonderful way.

“This time is just for you,” loneliness whispers.

“This time is just for me,” I repeat, the words dripping into me like a prayer. It is my space to heal. To feel. To be.

Maybe this is the thing I’ve fought so hard for—to simply sit with myself. And feel peace in the midst of chaos and “not knowing” that is life.

For is that not life-changing in itself?  

And on this night that I thought would spread before me, long and endless—the most unexpected thing happens—I fall in love with loneliness.

I part her veil, and she slips inside of me.

“Tell me all your secrets,” I beg. But she is quiet. There are no questions. There are no answers. There is just this. The royal weightlessness of being. I paint upon her canvas with the shakiness of my breath.

I become more quiet.

For once, I don’t need to do a thing.

There is nothing to figure out. Struggle becomes irrelevant. 

Loneliness changes faces; she becomes not spikes, not a monstrous entity, not the thing I’ve tried so hard to avoid—but a safe place to rest my weary heart.

She becomes sacred space. A net of holiness.

She becomes a deepened connection with myself. For it is only from this satiated place of soul-deep self-connection that I can connect with others in a healthy way.

I kiss loneliness, and she is not sharp or bitter. She is not poison. She is soft, smelling of a thousand pink roses picked from my mother’s garden. She is sweetness. The luscious pause I didn’t know I needed to take.

And on this night, I fall in love with loneliness.

She becomes the cornerstone of my practice.

I open to receive her blessings, even the sadness.

And I am left speechless.

I don’t need anyone to fill this space. I don’t need anyone to fill the hole inside of me. I need not even fill it with my own worries. It is mine to bask in. To heal into. And even, to love.

Silence reigns. Simplicity just is. Freedom drips everywhere.

I am just here, with my Self.

Everything is now. And none of my problems or pains are fixed, but I don’t need them to be…

Because this. Just this. 

Fresh joy permeates.

And I am left speechless.

This alone is perfect in a way that nothing ever has been.

It is pure, untouchable by logic or mind.

It is art.

It is love…

The song of silent solitude draped graciously in my heart.

~

Author : Sarah Harvey

Source : elephantjournal.com

 

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