From Pain to Peace: Shifting Loneliness to Aloneness

From Pain to Peace: Shifting Loneliness to Aloneness

Loneliness is a fierce animal in a soft and quiet disguise. When it approaches (and since the breakup with my partner, it approaches often), I want to run away.

Scratch that.

I want to shoot paintballs at the wall while spinning madly, and turn the music up until my ears bleed. The noise and the motion are the only way to distract me from the throbbing pain.

That’s what I want to do, but usually I just give in and cry. And stare with heavy eyelids at the wall. And want so badly for someone – anyone – to take away the pain.

Turtle lessons

I’ve always felt a close affinity with the turtle as my spirit animal. I’ve seen a lot of symbolism in that little guy for myself:

~ He’s at home wherever in the world he happens to be.

~ He’s slow, steady and present.

~ Around the world and in different cultures, the turtle symbolizes such things as: wisdom, longevity, patience, female energy, divinity, Mother Earth, creation, stability, self-containment, protection, creative source and being grounded. All yeses in my book.

But Loneliness revealed another one. The shell that acts as a protection from predators also keeps the friendly folks out. He’s locked in there with no chance of escape. And no one can get in. He’ll never rub tummies with another turtle tummy. What an incredibly lonely life. Poor thing.

The Lie

Poor me. Poor you. Isn’t it amazing how we can plummet into a world where we are entirely abandoned and have no one in the whole world that loves us? Ouch.

That fierce animal is sneaky. The hissing voice of Loneliness tells me everything I’ve ever not wanted to hear about myself.

Loneliness whispers to me all of my failures, my inability to love and be loved, my isolation. It tells me I will always feel this way and never find my way out. It is dark and dense and smells like rotten eggs.

The Truth

But if we pull back the curtain and reveal what the loneliness is actually doing, we begin to see how it might be helping us. It’s giving us a message about our needs. It’s giving us the opportunity to feel the pain, to release the pain, and to tune into Aloneness: the art of being with one’s self.

Aloneness is the space of communing with your self, nature and the Great Love that’s always swirling. It is the inner peace of being in a loving relationship with the one person you will always be with 24/7, forever.

Loneliness is also – ha ha, here’s the kicker! – the other side of the coin from Oneness. Duality at its finest. In the big picture, you are actually never alone. You are connected to All. Every person, tree, bird, river, star…

Once the energy of loneliness is allowed and passes through you, the pity you felt for Mr. Turtle will be replaced by peace and joy. You will then see that he is at home with himself and adventuring through the world as part of the All.

And so it is with you, my friend.

So it is with you.

Comments (2)

  1. Interesting (perfect) timing, as I just this moment finished a lovely novel titled “A Man Called Ove” and found I could put one of the themes of the book into words through this post. Ove, our protagonist, is in a desperate (even suicidal) state of loneliness after loss, but learns throughout his story that loneliness is the flip side of Oneness, of connection to others (in his case, mostly other humans but also a haughty cat). Wonderful story so connected to these awesome and real and healing thoughts, Anissa. And, from a different tack, just before finishing the novel, I went for a hike at an arboretum, wanting quiet and aloneness and a recharging of energy after a wonderful but very busy weekend with my love and many others. Arriving, I discovered it was a “free day” (no charge to enter) and every mother and child(ren) were there. At first, I almost left, but upon reminding myself of the Buddhist concept of “sympathetic joy”, I consciously (and at first halfheartedly) shifted my thinking to being happy for all those able to be there in this lovely weather and told myself to enter into oneness with them. And it worked, although to be completely honest, I was still sorta happy that most of them stayed at the arboretum level and weren’t on the trails. 🙂

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