Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I don't want to feel alone

“I don’t want to feel alone.”

Such a simple, even common, statement, yet when I heard it spoken the other night in a sacred space of truthful, soulful, beautiful sharing, its nuanced complexity struck me, hard. 

I’ve said these very words, certainly thought them, often enough. Each prior time they arose in my heart or mind, or passed through my lips, I was vibrating from a desire to not experience loneliness, a desire to know there was someone by my side, holding my hand or holding space, traveling down the path with me. It was a desire to feel supported, protected, seen. We are social beings and thrive in community. We gravitate toward partnership and collaboration. We are biologically built for it and emotionally conditioned for it. When it’s all said and done, none of us wants to feel alone.  

Yet there is another way to interpret the statement “I don’t want to feel alone.” It could express the very specific desire not to feel – happiness, sadness, joy, grief, hope, hurt, or whatever emotion on the spectrum – on one’s own. To navigate the waters of feeling, at times calm and clear, at others stormy and tumultuous, without that same sense of companionship is a daunting task for many. It’s a daunting task for me. 

I’ve long understood that the reason I’m so inclined to openly express my feelings, whether by talking or writing, is because it is a fundamental way for me to share their weight, texture and shape with someone outside of myself.  For me this is a crucial way in which I process those very feelings and come to know myself better. More, it’s the best way I know not to be overcome by them, and it’s the best way I know to build authentic connections with others. I need to let my feelings out, give them voice, sunlight, and room to breathe. And I need to know I can safely and honestly do so in the company of another who is willing and able to receive me in my Truth.

I do not want to feel alone, for feeling alone overwhelms me.  “What if I drown in my own tears? What if I combust from my exploding joy?” These aren’t rational, conscious questions I ask myself, yet they have a certain resonance, a ring of truthfulness that someone small and quiet inside of me connects to.  “And isn’t it so much better to share?” she says. “Yes,” I say. “Yes, it is.”

So I do. I seek out those very beings who are willing and able to receive me in my Truth and I open to them. I am not one to sob into my pillow behind closed doors for days on end. I am not the one to quietly demure when I am bursting with ecstatic bliss. I wear my heart on my proverbial sleeve, and whether my eyes sparkle from glistening tears or radiant delight, I keep them open wide for they are the windows to my soul and that is the place I seek to connect from. 

                     I do not want to feel alone.

It wouldn’t be surprising if I were feeling alone right now. It hasn’t been very long since I broke up with a dearly beloved partner and moved clear across the country to a place where I scarcely knew another soul. Both loneliness and the overwhelm of experiencing my emotions on my own would make sense given the circumstances. Yet I stopped playing victim to my circumstances a long time ago. I am victim to nothing and no one. I choose my life.

And I have chosen with tremendous purpose and clarity. I have chosen not to feel alone, but to feel together, united, connected. I have chosen to call in new community, friendships, and opportunities to share in a space of Truth. I’ve chosen to surround myself with a tribe that vibrates at a frequency resonant with my own so that together we can feel, share and be our most authentic selves. 

Knowing that choice, it’s also not surprising that I found myself in that deliciously sacred space a few nights ago so that those tender and profound words could fall upon my ears so softly and with such strength. I was amidst an intimate birthday gathering for a very special member of my newly found tribe. And the celebrant’s request, as we sat together in a cozy, warm, lovingly held circle, was for us to share a piece of our beauty. What, I wonder, could be more beautiful than expressing the Truth of your heart and having those feelings freely received with absence of judgment and total presence of spirit, body and mind, by another being?