The Call to Solitude

Today I take the journey once again to my place of deep aloneness…. intentional solitude.

Christmas is over…. it’s almost a new year. May it be a better one. I live alone, and was grateful this year to have the company of two friends for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. All three of us live alone….one friend lost her mother recently and the other was unable to travel to visit her daughter due to COVID. My recent loss was my kitty several weeks ago, and this coming after losing my other kitty 6 months ago….two weeks after I retired. All of our pain added to the deep trauma and grief that we all are feeling…. the pain that our world has been in for a while now. So here we were – three women in their 60s creating a new family. Such a gift and blessing.

And today, I am back deeply in the feelings of grief. I know that these feelings are something that I must face and walk through….to feel the pain. I cannot begin to heal if I don’t allow myself to feel. It is good to have some distraction and time away from the grief, and yet it is something that must, in time, be faced, felt, and given its due.

For me, this happens best in solitude. Even though I live alone, I do not always allow solitude. I distract myself with email, texts, social media, food, tv….For me, true solitude that heals is when I allow myself to be quiet and still so that I can hear what comes up from inside and not run from it. Although at times it may feel like it, the feelings will not kill me. Not feeling them, however, does kill me ….it kills my ability to be fully present to myself, to others, to my life. I cannot try and push away one feeling without it taking hostages along with it.

We are not taught enough about the power and grace of solitude. We are not taught to be comfortable with our humanness and all that this involves and includes. It includes joy, passion, laughter, and also deep pain, loss and grief. And as I age, the losses come quicker and grief becomes a familiar companion.

When I open to the grief, I also open to other parts of me. The part of me that can feel the depth of pain of loss is also the part of me that can be open to the joy of a sunrise, or watching a bird take a bath, or simply appreciating this life in all of its forms. To be alive to the joy I must be alive to the grief. They are, indeed, two sides of the same coin.

And so today, in solitude, I will welcome once again the pain of loss. I will say to it…..Come in and tell me about yourself…you are welcome here. You are part of me. Let me learn from you. Let me hold you, cry with you, and offer you comfort. I am here.

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