It’s the Loneliness that’s the Killer.

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Warning: naughty language ahead.

Yesterday I felt the cold ruthless fingers of fear and loneliness grip my heart and squeeze.

I wanted to die.

I wanted the pain to be over.

The pain of feeling alone, the pain of missing someone I love, the pain of not knowing anything except how fucked up things are, the pain of choosing another way without even knowing really what that other way is yet.

The pain of not having slept well in years.

The pain of knowing so intimately a thousand other people’s pain.

The pain of feeling so deeply every person who I meet’s pain.

The pain of recession and war and slavery and hate and racism and sexism and all of the madness and diagnosis and labelling and the endless judgment, the endless judgment.

Yesterday I felt all the pain at once and I was broken by it.

I did the only thing I could physically do and went to bed early and slept well for the first time in years.

I slept for 10 hours straight. I haven’t slept more than six for as long as I can remember.

And I woke up this morning and meditated and remembered what life really is:

A playground.

A divine joke.

A chance to dance and sing and make love and create and nurture and grow old knowing that soon it will all be over, but that we lived well. So well.

And that we leave behind us a world indelibly marked by our sacred presence. A world that doesn’t only remember us—it is us. Because without our dancing the dance itself would not be the same.

Well, I lived well.

I was always true to myself. I was always true to the world around me, as best as I could be under the circumstances, and sometimes, oftentimes, the circumstances aren’t easy, are they?

And I have a lot more living in me. A lot more dancing to be done.

I have a song in my heart that needs to be sung. And so do you.

So do you.

So let’s sing together, with all our might, with all our fear, with all our presence.

Because it’s only together that we know ourselves.

“The foot feels the foot as it feels the ground.”

As a friend told me yesterday: the four-legged path is the fastest way to enlightenment.

Together we’re better. Not in some hypothetical way. Not as an empty spiritual aphorism.

But as a physical, practical reality.

People die sooner when they live alone.

It’s the loneliness that’s the killer.

And for millions of years we’ve been living as tribes, in communities and villages.

Who came up with the idea of the nuclear family?

Who first decided to make a city?

Who envisioned classrooms?

I’ll tell you:

No one.

It was an accident.

Human society today is a tragic accident. A catastrophe. A natural disaster.

We live our lives held and conditioned and informed and ruled by a society that we didn’t and wouldn’t choose.

Would you choose elections decided by money?
Would you choose retirement and a pension plan for your old age?

Would you choose the lottery and television and highways and concrete hospitals and fucking fracking, if you could start all over again?

If you wielded the power, would you do it like this?

But you do wield the power.

We all wield such power. We create our reality either consciously or unconsciously. We live in a matrix of our own making whether we know it or not.

So what would you choose, if you chose consciously?

I’ll tell you what I choose:

I choose a society in which children are born and raised and educated naturally.

I choose a society in which everyone has an equal voice, in which all beings are considered equally sacred, in which each person is accepted as they are.

I choose a society that delights in the new and honors the old but is always rooted in presence.

I choose a society in which there is no boundary between work and play.

I choose to live courageously and in integrity, even though sometimes this path terrifies me.

I choose to wake up from this nightmare and create the dream that I know is possible. The dream that is and always has been in my heart. That is and always has been in all of our hearts because it’s a dream that has been woven partly by our ancient ancestors and partly by our destiny and partly by the stars.

It’s a dream of simplicity and community and peace.

So I’m leaving the city.

I’m stopping doing anything that doesn’t feel deeply meaningful to me.

I’m letting go of everything that doesn’t support this process.

Most of all I’m ruthlessly stalking myself and not allowing any behaviors that aren’t in alignment with this intention.

And yesterday was hard not because I’ve made the wrong choices or for any reason really other than the fact that I’m in transition, and hadn’t yet committed myself fully to the next step.

So today I commit. Today I rise up from the ashes of the past and throw myself with abandon into the flames of creation.

Dance with me, sing with me, live with me.

Let us all stand up and be counted. Let us all have the courage to live from our hearts. Let us all have the courage, let me have the courage, to not run from what we truly desire. Let us all be the change we wish to see.

Let us all turn our backs on anything and everything that doesn’t serve our dreams.

Let us have the chance to die feeling that our last breath is the sweetest. Without regret.

Because you create this society consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, whether you like it or not.

And then you leave it to your children.




What it Means to Live Fearlessly.



Author: Ben Ralston

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Author’s Own

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Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting.
He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.

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anonymous May 30, 2015 3:49am

I want to change my life ..break free but …but ..have a son who is in last year of high school and I dont want to "abandon "him but feel so trapped as I am unhappy and tired ..I love him and want the best for him ..but ….

    anonymous Jun 3, 2015 2:06pm

    everything is going to be allright!

      anonymous Jul 25, 2015 1:43pm

      Sue, I am willing to bet that nothing would make your son happier – that there is nothing he would love more – than to see you truly FREE, as you are, as you were born to be.
      And that would be a FAR greater education for him than any high school can provide.
      Take him out of school, travel, do what your heart desires.
      Please, live well. Live fully, LIVE.

anonymous May 29, 2015 1:16pm


anonymous May 29, 2015 1:08pm

You said everything that I have been thinking for a long time…most of my life…but particularly as I became more and more tired of the insanity…and the loneliness…our culture has created millions of lonely people. My question now is “how do I change my life?” I ask this everyday as I am now 72 years old and more afraid to change my life drastically. I have a hundred reasons why I shouldn’t and couldn’t. Any suggestions would help.

    anonymous May 29, 2015 6:59pm

    More importantly what are the reasons you should and could? What is there to lose in your mature wisdom of years? You have lived your life until now, to society's standards, you have the chance to make the small changes to live the rest of your life true to your heart's song. What do you want to change? Pick one small thing, maybe something as simple or trivial as stirring your coffee in the opposite direction. See where that takes you.

    anonymous Jul 25, 2015 1:40pm

    Hi Susan, Ben here, the author.
    The Author. Of my life. Every word, Every action, Every breath.
    You are 70 odd years old and have lived those years asking the wrong question. "How do I change my life?" is the wrong question.
    The right question is "what do I want right now?".
    What do you want, or need, right now, to feel truly ALIVE.
    Because life is really simple – its' just life. We want to LIVE. Every being just wants to feel as ALIVE as possible as much as possible while they can.
    For me, I started asking that question a long time ago but didn't have the courage for a long time, and in many situations, to act on the answers.
    Slowly, I started acting on the answers, until 7 years ago the one big answer came – the really big thing that I wanted with my life, that I felt was deeply meaningful to me. It was a dream of community – of living with a 'family' of people who feel as I do, in what I wrote above.
    Finally, I have found them. Am finding them…
    So to answer your question 'how do I change my life?' I would say this – stop giving a damn about anything other than what you want. Be honest with yourself, ruthlessly honest. And have the courage, find the courage, to take what you want, be what you dream of being, and express all that you have inside of you.
    Time is precious. Don't waste any more of it.
    With love, Ben

      anonymous Jul 25, 2015 9:24pm

      what a moment! what about fear…

anonymous May 29, 2015 11:40am

Dance with me, sing with me, live with me. Thank you!

anonymous May 28, 2015 7:32am

heart mind convergence. I’ve been reading about it. It’s happening now if we can let it. Sounds like you’ve cracked it Ben. Congratulations!

anonymous May 27, 2015 3:20pm

Truth. Love. This. Thank you.