Loneliness is a gift that we no longer give ourselves. Where we used to feel lonely, we now feel disconnected and perpetuate that feeling through social media and the running around a picture of life that we’ve superimposed onto life itself. So many of us have bought into the notion that there are not enough hours in the day to get things done and so we rush around, frequently forgetting to pause for any kind of positive introspection. Then, when there’s a lull, we realize there’s a vacuum, which we immediately fill with mindless efforts at connection to something, anything, before we start the rat race all over again.
I remember many times in my life where I would stare blankly into the hours, feeling so lonely that I was wrenched apart by how to find contact. Sometimes it was human contact that I longed for; sometimes there was loneliness so deep within myself that I really wanted just to find me inside the emptiness. Sometimes it was a need for connection with a feeling of aliveness that seemed somehow to elude me, no matter how hard I pushed myself to get out, either with friends or with a lover or even into nature…
I remember these times as being bleak and difficult and sad and full of pessimism but I also cherish all that came from being in that state of mind. Creativity builds and emerges from that place. New ideas arise from that dormancy and can propel us towards renewed enthusiasm. These cycles that are part of human nature are being broken down, just as nature’s cycles are being thwarted by this particular time on earth.
Now, when that lull occurs, I reach for my iPhone and poke away. I check my email. I click onto Facebook. I get lost in a cyber world until something from life pulls me back out into the noise and requires that I pick up speed, fly into motion and start all over again… I’ve lost the quiet of nothingness. I’ve lost the gift of loneliness that might have inspired the kind of action that actually creates magic. I’ve overridden my muse’s request for ingesting the realities of sadness, grief, anger, silence and boredom and my art has suffered. The incubation period for art and ideas has been deleted in favor of an instant fix. A swallowing of what ultimately amounts to stale air.
So it’s come to this, the realization that I miss the weight of loneliness with all her shadows. I miss the babies that were born from her time in in my body. I miss the reality of sitting in a place for an unendurable amount of time, wondering if I would ever be able to find any kind of seed to care for again. I miss the parties where I felt ill at ease and unable to participate. I miss reaching out for others who are in that same awkward place because now they’re all occupied. Poking at their phones, disconnected, inaccessible for contact.
Loneliness requires our attention and deserves our gratitude. Without loneliness there can be no genuine movement toward aliveness. We push ourselves out and up and through the clutches of loneliness to seek an alternative, and from that engagement, we can find real connection.