The Journey from Loneliness to Aloneness
It was my birthday.
I was spending time with my then girlfriend. We were walking the belt-line in Atlanta on a hot April afternoon.
Who knows what went wrong, but she wasn’t happy.
We stopped at a Starbucks so she could use the bathroom.
I waited outside on one of those cushiony chairs.
She came out and sat next to me.
We were having a pretty miserable afternoon together.
I had nothing to say to her; nor she to me.
At one point, I think she blurted out:
“You’re not very happy being with me,”
or something to that effect.
I remember sitting with it, but not knowing how to answer.
It all came to a pass that day.
No matter how hard I seemed to try,
I could not make my partner happy in our relationship.
It was utter and total frustration.
Particularly because I loved her dearly.
Ultimately, I decided enough was enough.
I was choosing to be happy.
I could see that in 5 years we could be in the exact same situation,
and I was not going to allow that to happen.
There was an immense feeling of freedom that followed for a few weeks.
Then came the sadness.
Now, the loneliness.
What is loneliness,
I ask myself.
Let’s take today.
I had a nice hike with an old friend along the river. After that, I went and played in a fun poker tournament (in which I did poorly in, but enjoyed the company). I came home late in the evening, after a tentative date fell through.
My roommate is away in Alaska, so the place is empty–all to myself.
I feel the natural gravitation of my whole being to want to be with a woman.
It’s not a peaceful feeling inside of myself.
It’s a feeling of being unsettled. Irritated. Agitated.
I pour myself some single-malt Scotch (which is better than the blended variety, I just learned).
I’ve been having a small bit of something usually at nights: a cigarette some nights; a drink on others.
Definitely, it’s tough.
It’s tough when you’ve spent a large chunk of your recent life with someone; when you’ve come home to that person every night for over a revolution around the Sun, and now you come back to an empty home.
That’s not easy.
Perhaps, I’m just getting used to it all.
I sat tonight and watched, Orange is the New Black, for the first time. It was entertaining, but I couldn’t even watch it without doing three other things.
I can see it in myself.
It’s SO EASY to cover up the loneliness–
Sex. Alcohol. Dating. Food. Games. Facebook. Online dating sites. Whatever.
It’s so hard just to be with the feeling of longing.
I notice the longing.
That in itself is a wonderful piece of awareness.
Being aware that you’re covering up your feelings is really a great place to be.
I’ve always been a big believer that identifying what’s eating at you is a great way to mitigate those feelings.
Luckily, my room is clean.
If my room and home are a mess,
my emptiness consumes me.
I am then run by my addictive tendencies.
It’s sort of funny, if you think about it.
Anything to avoid the abyss-like feelings.
It’s a tragicomedy.
Then, I read a little from The Myth of Sysiphus, but it’s of no help.
And I sit in my head and I ask this question:
What’s better: to be frustrated in a relationship or to be lonely not in one?
It almost feels like a “damned if I do; damned if I don’t” kind of dilemma.
Like WTF, man!
But I don’t think it’s as simple as that.
I don’t think I’m fated to live between two shitty alternatives: frustration or loneliness.
The longer I sit here,
the more calm reaches out to me.
I realize that it’s not so much that I was running towards something (i.e., women, distractions, etc.);
it’s what I’m running away from that is much more interesting.
I’m running from the void.
I don’t want to feel it.
I don’t want to admit it.
I want to banish it.
I think a lot of us stay in frustration because we’re scared of loneliness.
A lifetime of loneliness.
In this moment,
I can smile at my quandary.
I am smiling.
Everything is ok.
Not just ok.
It’s really wonderful.
In this moment, I see the loneliness as a gateway.
A gateway to something beautiful.
A new kind of existence:
What’s the difference?
Let me share the following from an article by Pragito Dove:
“Loneliness is a lack, a feeling that something is missing, a pain, a depression, a need, an incompleteness, an absence.
Aloneness is presence, fullness, aliveness, joy of being, overflowing love. You are complete. Nobody is needed. You are enough.”
As I write,
I feel this shift happening.
I feel so much more at peace now.
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.
Article on Loneliness vs. Aloneness
Also, here is a wonderful article by OSHO on the topic: