Being alone is not always being lonely. Loneliness is good.
In a recent live meeting, week two of our course on the Buddhist Notion of Love, Waylon Lewis talked about loneliness. This is one of many courses through the Elephant Academy section on Elephant Journal.
Near the end of today’s lecture and discussion, he gave us our homework: write about our relationship to loneliness.
I asked him to sing an Elvis song to us before closing—reminding him that he used to sometimes sing to us during Crowdcast meetings. He did not disappoint.
Once upon a time, about 70 years ago, a baby was moved from the front porch in the playpen in the morning to the back porch in the afternoon. Apparently, her mom did this for a couple of years—moving from playpen to a small wooden chair. Alone to take in her surroundings, alone to process the sights, sounds, and smells.
Move forward a few years, little Janice starts walking to school, alone for the first three years. Alone to the tiny brick library to descend the back steps to the children’s section; books were her fantasy, her imagination, her love.
Walking alone to the strip shopping center to hoist herself up the red stool to order a five-cent root beer at the front counter or to sit at the other counter and order a grilled cheese sandwich, alone.
There were friends over the decades: the neighborhood children to play pick-up-sticks, jacks, jump rope, and to bicycle with. Our alley was the perfect setting for endless hours of play.
However, reading at home, drawing, creating stories were alone activities and brought her comfort. Not lonely, just alone.
Throughout the decades, the need to fill too many quiet times with friends, partying, and work led to a buildup of creative chaos that was not released through the periods of meditation, quiet time, reading, writing, and drawing she once had. Although there were years with amazing friends and true friendships.
Then came periods of being around people and feeling lonely. Not a good place to be.
So, she knew what she needed—leave the situation, exit stage. Scurry to the safe place, alone, not lonely.
Enjoy the silence; the answers will appear.
Not chasing random stuff to do to fill the space, just minding the gap.
And she found a sense of peaceful in the loneliness. At times not so peaceful, since reaching deeper into the grey matter, into her heart and soul to find the answers can be painful. Deep, dark pain, with just enough cracks to allow slivers of light to enter.
I embrace my solitude, my aloneness, and wrap their soft silver shawls around my shoulders.