Personal Growth - Learning from the loneliness that sets in after our loss
All relationships, including the one with ourselves, take on a new life and
vitality once we come to terms with our loneliness and also understand
that we are never really alone.
After losing my wife Tammy.. I went through what many of you are facing now.... I may have some suggestive advice that may help you if you are willing to look at your loneliness objectively..
Please feel free to read on..
It seemed like a never ending night, sleepless, dense and thick. After my deep loss, I lay night after night, feeling the heat of the darkness smother me. The loneliness would creep into my bones, running endlessly as thoughts. Sleep would bring dreams, dreams that weren’t lonely. Every morning with a dull ache, I would live another day. Sometimes, surrounded by people but longing for those who weren’t, for a reality that’s now fantasy, for moments set in memory. Memories are ghosts, spirits of a living past and dead future.
This is the place for the lonely, a graveyard with sounds of laughter and fabric, twinkly tea lights, half opened merlots and music. Loneliness, like oil, always floats on top of your spirit, suffocating life below. It sparks a fear, and like all fears, slowly consumes.
Divorce, deaths, relocations, breakups, losses, all are solitary struggles of the heart. After our deep loss the insidious cycle of grief causes amplification of our fears, regrets and woes..... Many of us struggle with things we said or did or didn't get to say or do... The feeling of grief causes us to be compelled to face these demons like never before...All rolled into one giant period of remorse and regret . We all have one thing in common, we all face a solitary struggle.
How do we become whole again? How do we repair our minds? These struggles are inevitable, but they need not become life sentences.
Loneliness can become a bitter poison for people who have suffered greatly and if not kept in check can consume lives through suicide or addictions.
But why does it truly have to feel like this? How do we cope with it? What is the answer in facing this " Feeling of Self-Torture?"
Many philosophers, spiritual teachers and therapists discuss ways to combat loneliness. I have read about pranic healer in Mumbai, that had said they get many people who want to “forget people or move on.” They feel lonely and sad and are unable to come to terms with losses. They had said that this blocked grief energy stays in the body often causing physical symptoms like pain, high BP, etc. In order to become less lonely, one has to find wholeness within themselves. Interesting concept I thought so I looked into this further...
My Personal story
My struggle with loneliness after my wife's death was immense and spanned over 5 years. Now as I look back, I feel it was the start of my spiritual journey, a journey that took me inwards, to myself. Most spiritual literature talks about being with yourself, finding silence and learning to be comfortable with non doing. We do not need to fill our spaces, in time or mind.
Grief and loneliness often go hand in hand. For me, my deep loss of Tammy shattered my world. It opened my soul to explore alien landscapes, and the loneliness that came with it was breathtaking. But with this also came an opportunity to explore myself and the world. I began to heal the minute I was able to accept my grief and loneliness. Instead of shutting myself up from the world, I began to connect and reach out. Simple things like a cup of tea with a compassionate friend would bring me to tears, but also gently release some of the pain I carried.
Healing came in the form of art, reading, journalling and exploring spiritual texts such as the Art Of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama and books by Pema Chodron. I began to allow myself to ‘feel my life’. I recognised that it was feeling that gives life depth, meaning, and rightful weight. Running away from loneliness or seeking false ways of covering it, are merely temporary band-aids.
It’s essential to surround oneself by compassionate, brave souls, who won’t be afraid to help you through this journey, who won’t shudder at the extent of your grief or leave you because you trigger feelings of fear and insecurity in them.
This, for me, was the beginning of a lifelong journey into becoming whole. I had to be shattered open and remain open in order to truly be alive and overcome my loneliness and grief.
Like me, many others here have struggled with such negative emotions and many have made the journey to wholeness.
We all have days when we feel lonely, but the idea comes from the false notion that we are separate from each other. Mother Teresa of Calcutta says, “It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start, and loneliness end.”
Bolt of truth
Loneliness caused by a loss of a loved one is a natural reaction to grief. We are attached to people and with their loss will come emptiness, a space which holds only grief. But when we are lonely, despite the presence of loved ones, what do we do?
Why are we bored, lonely and lazy? Because we don’t have the will to totally open our hearts to others. If you have the strength of will to totally open your heart to others, you will eliminate laziness, selfishness and loneliness. Actually, the reason you get lonely is that you are not doing anything. If you were busy, you wouldn’t have time to get lonely. Loneliness can only enter an inactive mind. If your mind is dull and your body inactive, you get lonely. Basically, this comes from a selfish attitude, and concern for yourself alone. That is the cause of loneliness, laziness and a closed heart.”
I know this sounds vague and odd, but I’ve realised that we are all alone in this world. Time is borrowed and love is on loan. It sounds so sad, I feel depressed thinking like this, but even if you find someone who loves you, you are still alone. That love might be temporary. People die, people move on. Kids move out. I remember being in so much love with my wife and when she had to leave me, I felt so lonely I thought I would die. That comfort was missing, but then I realised that all the relationships we form and cling to are to cover up our loneliness. My relationship with her was a blanket for my own loneliness. I had to learn to let go and deal with that feeling......
How does one deal with that feeling? Simply by recognising and accepting that every relationship is a part of our life and not our life. By examining the balance of our life and seeing which areas need more focus and which need less.
Why are we so obsessive about certain relationships?
What drives us towards an incessant need for company and fun?
How can we become more self-dependant and less externally driven?
What is really causing loneliness?
Are we in the habit of isolating ourselves?
Are we hesitant to reach out?
Self-awareness and examination is the key to mindful living, and mindful living helps us hold our lives gently and with ease. Pondering on our loneliness and processing it with a mentor, spiritual guide or counsellor can help you cope with such feelings and come to terms with losses that have left you feeling lonely. In time, with courage and hard work, we will arrive at a destination where we may be alone, but not lonely.
I want to thank you for taking time to read my thoughts.
I wish you peace
Memory can only tell us what we were,
in the company of those we loved;
it cannot help us find what each of us, alone, must now become.
Yet no person is really alone;
those who live no more echo still within our thoughts and words,
and what they did has become woven into what we are.
I wish you peace and a level path on your journey...
Last edited by cal821 : July 27th, 2016 at 09:08.
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