I was walking alone in the woods yesterday. It’s winter. I am in CT and it is very, very cold.
Snow had fallen all day, and even though it stopped, there was a stillness, a silence, a loneliness that was penetrating.
I’m used to feeling alone. I’m comfortable with the natural and human condition of loneliness that once ruled my life and found me separating myself from others. And causing so much pain.
But now, I welcome it. It’s like an old friend. As I have grown older, I have learned that many of us feel this way, that most of us are born with this discomfort and we spend most of our lives trying to numb, buffer, chase or run away from it. And so, living a way- too- busy- life is one way that I ( and many other people I know, especially women) become addicted to busy.
We are trying to avoid the deep, haunting loneliness that is right there, under the surface, all the time.
The truth is, all we really have, at the end of the day, is our own selves, when we take our last breath, Our OWN.
And so, how do we face that fact?
That with full lives of parents and children and friends and neighbors, that we are truly alone?
I’ve been asking myself this question for years, and the more I ask and live in the question, the more comfortable I have become with this fact. And the more I wonder into the unknown loneliness, on purpose, regularly.
To play with my edges of handling emotions and suffering, to face the dark so that I can have more light.
To explore this most precious relationship to self.
To go in and in, no matter what shadows I find, in honor of her. To love her, to hold her with gentleness, to know her LIKE NO OTHER every truly will.
Sometimes, I just lay at night on my side with my arms wrapped around myself, embracing her.
When we actually slow down, go into the woods, ALONE.
We feel it. It’s unavoidable. There’s no where to run. Oh sure, your monkey mind could take over if you allow it. You could play music or podcasts that distract you from this. But, it’s still there. Always there.
We feel the moments of our lives slipping away. We feel our mortality in our whole being and all those we love. Because sometimes the BRAVEST thing we can do is walk alone in the woods, on the coldest days with just our own naked selves. Our own thoughts and lives and pain and suffering and discomfort with this whole being human thing.
And sometimes I come out stronger, braver, wiser and in tune. And sometimes, I don’t.