Alone does not have to be lonelyAugust 15, 2011
It feels like forever since I have taken a day to sit alone and stare out into the world without being an active participant. Funny how life cycles through different phases. There was a time when I could not stand to be alone, always looking for someone to share space with. Then I moved into a solitary period that required hours of “me” time. Now I am in a comfortable hybrid mode — flowing freely in and out of a large circle of loved ones.
I have always been an action-oriented person. I believe in doing, not just thinking about things. When I was younger, this manifested in a very judgmental way. I couldn’t understand people that just sat there talking without doing. Then again, I also couldn’t understand people that acted without thinking about the implications of what they were doing. I spent many years frustrated because no one could live up to my expectations, including myself.
One day I realized that it was not the people that were wrong, it was *me*. I saw that in my world of ACTION I was not taking any time to understand why others acted differently. As I looked around, I found people that could accept the behavior of others, even if it was not something they liked. I wanted to find this acceptance — this ability to create solutions, not just see problems — but this was going to require something I didn’t know how to do: I needed to find and accept the true ME.
Who am I? What am I? What am I here to do? Burning questions that needed to be answered, for it is only when you know yourself that you can begin to understand others. When you are confident in your own abilities, you can see how others provide complimentary skills, therefore building a better team. I had a desperate desire to learn how to be comfortable in my own skin, to sit and listen to my thoughts without judgment, to love MYSELF in order to love others.
Instead of retreating from the world, I found my individual voice in spiritual community. In my first year of Kabbalah, my goal was to learn how to love my physical self. I stepped out of my chaotic world filled with people and took extra time to be alone. Alone was not something I did often so it took some getting used to. I explored every side of my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self. There were many things I didn’t like, but instead of getting scared or depressed, I went into the world in search of tools – spiritual tools that would help me heal and lead me toward growth.
What I discovered was that I really like being alone; I like sitting with my own thoughts. And while I have a slight tendency toward running around in mental circles, if I allow myself to be vulnerable and share with a loved one what has me stuck, I can quickly get out of it. I am still emotional, stubborn and judgmental, qualities that can easily manifest in the negative if I am not careful, but I have also found the positive beauty in each one of those. Emotional does not have to be dramatic, it can turn life into a fun musical. Stubborn gives me the strength I need to find the best solution no matter how long it takes. And as for judgment, its positive reflection is discernment – the ability to see all sides of a situation and make a decision on what is best for all involved.
Going deep into my personal silence required me to open Pandora’s vase and acknowledge all my personal daemons, and like the mythical story, I found something quite magical sitting at the bottom: HOPE. Hope that I could become the person I wanted to be. That hope manifested in the form of deep Understanding. It is through Understanding that I accept myself and others. It is through Understanding that I release the negative side of judgment and find Beauty. It is through Understand that I find the balance between community and solitary.
As I stare out my window and watch community life from my quiet room, I am confident in the knowledge that I can happily navigate all aspects of myself. Some days I sit in silence, and some days I share with the world.