This time of year tends to be challenging for me. I would guess the same is true for many others out there. And what’s interesting to me is that although the level of activity with others is often ramped up, so, too, can the feelings of loneliness. Seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it? Maybe, and maybe not.
The frantic pace of the holidays, coupled with the darkness and unheeded calls to turn inward and reflect on our lives, make one ripe for loneliness.
Pema Chodron writes: “Usually we regard loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not something we choose to invite in. It’s restless and pregnant and hot with the desire to escape and find something or someone to keep us company.”
How often I have felt that, and then done that, in so many ways. I bet you, too, have a fairly long list if you take a little time to reflect on it.
Yet there have been times where I have simply sat with it, breathed into that ghost inside me and watched as it inevitably changed. Not that it always went away completely, but there nearly always has been a softening of the energy when I have given it some space through breathing and meditation.
Given the increased focus on slowing down and paying attention while I’ve been with people in the past few weeks, I’m finding that there’s been less loneliness floating around these parts. Furthermore, when it comes, I’m letting go of identifying myself with it. Just like any other experience, loneliness doesn’t define who I am.
How about you? Do you experience loneliness this time of year?