Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Gift Of Loneliness ~ Allowing Space For Your Cup To Be Filled... Thougts on a Sunday morning...


 "Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self."

~ May Sarton ~



Dear Ones...
 


I have been thinking a lot about loneliness of late. It has been a presence in my life the last few months and I begin to examine why. Part of it has come, I believe, with the passing of my mother in December which affected me not only due to the loss of her but also because it was a sea change that had a kind of domino effect in my life. With my mother's passing a great many other changes came, a number of other things faded away like spent flower petals falling softly to the ground. It is part of the cycle of life and, for a time, can cut very deep, but it also opens a place deep inside of us, allows more room for new things to come in.

If we sit with our loneliness and appreciate it for the gift that it is it can be a beautiful thing, even amidst the sharp edge of emptiness, fear, and often the subsequent depression that follows. I once wrote in a book I was working on, "Loneliness has eaten so many holes in me I feel like a piece of swiss cheese." And so it felt. But it can also be a time filled with deep teachings, a chance to be still and silent, to revel in the solitude that surrounds us, and to contemplate all that our life is and holds. This is the way I am approaching it in a time that is filled with change, uncertainty, and still in all many blessings, if I open my heart to recognizing them, that can begin to fill my cup once more once I have noted and remembered them and given thanks for their many gifts.


 

When I feel lonely I go out into the
garden with the dogs and pick tiny
flowers for my kitchen windowsill
garden. Nasturtiums are one of my
favorite flowers and I plant every
variety I can find...


"There's nothing terribly wrong with feeling lost, so long as that feeling precedes some plan on your part to actually do something about it. Too often a person grows complacent with their disillusionment, perpetually wearing their "discomfort" like a favorite shirt."

~ Jhonen Vasquez ~

I read the above quote with a shock of recognition. Many were the days and times I would go through such long cycles of depression that if I hadn't had the animals to care for I might not have gotten out of bed at all. Today when I feel lost or lonely or sad I allow the feeling long enough to really look at it, to examine it, to try to see why I am feeling this way, and then look to ways that I might move out of that space. I bless the loneliness for the revelatory moments it has brought, and then I move on. For some reason Saturday nights have been particularly lonely. I think it's because I used to spend the time with the one whom I love who is far away working now, but I allow feelings of love for her to fill this empty void and I look for something productive to do. Last night I brought boxes and bags of fiber and sat them next to my chair and worked at hand-spinning a new art yarn while I watched a movie. I was moved out of loneliness into a place of peace and joy. I am finding that loneliness only takes up a place in my life if I allow it...


 

Piles of fiber...


 

My velcro pug and fiber helper, Sampson...


 

The "Pug Fun Art Yarn" I am spinning...

My Saturday night was transformed by spinning fibers into yarn with a pug sleeping against my shoulder and completely engrossed in the movie I was watching. I went to bed feeling content and yes, even happy. 


Loneliness, the clearest of crystal insight into your own soul, it's the fear of one's own self that haunts the lonely. 

~ Keith Haynie ~

I read the above quote and felt a murmur of recognition. Thoughts tumbled over one another like a brook bubbling over stones. What part of myself haunts the hours of loneliness? And, too, I thought that I always want to remember this quote, to see lonely times as a time to have crystal insight into my soul. There are far too few times that we are awake and aware enough to have these clear insights. Perhaps the sharp edge of loneliness cuts the dross away so that we can see our world and our life.

I am not lonely now. I am listening to Garrison Keillor on NPR, about to take up my spindle and get back to spinning the yarn above. It is an enormous spindle and a delight to work with, a gift from a spinner friend long ago. Though friends fade from our lives as well rather than mourning their passing we can remember the love and happy times and revel in the gifts the friendship has left us with. I cannot use this spindle without smiling remembering the dear friend who gave it to me and wishing her well on her journey, wherever she is.

And so in a room filled with snoring pugs, and a big black silent dog, and parrots chirping and talking in the next room, I thank God for this day, I feel grateful for my life, and I bow to those moments of loneliness that have taught me so much.

In closing I want to share with you a thought that just passed through my mind as I finish this blog entry. I was thinking about the Zen kōan, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" It is one of the great puzzlers taught by Zen Masters. I just marveled over the thought that a blog entry is the answer to that kōan. I write this entry and send it out into the world not knowing who might read it or how it will be received, and in the end it doesn't really matter. I am one hand, and you, dear reader, are the other. Together we make joyful clapping sounds. Keeping a blog means you are never lonely...


20 comments:

JudyAdamsonArtandDesign said...

I was very tired and about to turn off my computer and go to bed, after several days of wall-to-wall work, when I happened on your blog. It moved me so much that I had to read it all - thank you! I shall be back!

Laane said...

What a wonderful post and which such a true end.

I'm almost never without company, never alone.
There are days I experience a deep wish to be able to finish my thoughts, finish even one complete sentence.

Until I discovered it has been the perfect training for mindfulness. LOL!

FunkyFolky said...

Maitri, I am so sorry for your loss and your feelings of loneliness. I am happy to see that you are recognizing and accepting the feelings rather than trying to repress or conceal them. I believe that every emotion adds layers and richness to our lives. They are what make us fully human.

Your yarn that you're spinning is just beautiful :)

Renee

Jodi said...

Maitri, That is so very true , that if you sit still and be silent, this very well could be a lesson. It is very, very hard to hurt in order to grow, because we are only human. I am praying for you and something good will come out of this.

God bless,
Jodi

imelda said...

my kids are gorwn up too so i am most of the time left alone in the house

Michelle said...

This is truly one of the BEST posts I have EVER read by anyone. I want everyone in the world to read this. It's so sad that so many people don't know how to be alone without being lonely. I love my solitude - as a matter of fact, I think it keeps me sane. Have a wonderful day :)

willa said...

This day was a little rough for me because of some recent changes in my life. I opened my computer, mainly to use it as a distraction since I feel at a loss as too how to deal with this dilemma, and your link was there waiting. Your post reached inside my raw chest and soothed my heart. Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes and was particularly beautiful.
I bring my hand to you as well. Thank you, Maitri.

Jacqueline said...

I've been lonely most of my life. Seems I was born that way, but I've fallen in love with loneliness. I'm very creative so it's the perfect atmosphere for me to just put my brain on spin with no distractions.

Excellent post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. :-)

diabetes said...

This site is great. Thanks for the kind words and the plug. Much appreciated.Really enjoying your blog a great deal! Thank you!

Jen said...

I am sorry for your loneliness though I think you are appreciating it which is a wonderful thing. I have had moments of loneliness but found there was something to be gained by them.

Beautiful and thoughtful post.

lotusflower said...

Hi Maitri,

I bring my hands together to enjoy those reverberating sounds of clapping with the message of inner joy ringing in my ears... wishing you this too :-)

And please allow me to express that I feel for your loss.

Take care.

Kimmy said...

For many years now, I have sought out solitude, and some time for myself. As a woman, mom, wife, friend, blogger, and who knows what else, my energy has been stretched thin. Last year, we moved our office from the suburbs of Chicago to downtown Chicago. I have added a very long commute to my already stressed schedule. I have found that tending my garden, and trees gives me that gift of loneliness that I look forward to. There is something about watering, weeding, trimming, and even just touching the leaves that fills my happiness. Even my blog, that once was my "wind down time" can be more of a chore.

I agree with Michelle. This is one of those posts that angels tell me to stop and read.

It's okay to be lonely, if you look at it as a moment to reflect and refresh.

Now even on my busiest days, I make a few moments to go outside my backyard to tend to something that needs my attention.

Thank you dear Maitri.

Love, Kimmy

* Michael * said...

Loneliness..... parts and parcel of life. Nice post!

Dori said...

Beautiful post and it rings so true in my own life. Thank you for sharing your brilliant insights :)

Lisa said...

hugs and kisses for you :_)

Christy said...

The Jhonen Vasquez quote spoke profoundly to me. I am so happy I read your post and found your blog. I am sorry you feel so lonely, but sincerely hope the comments you have received on this post have helped. Hugs to you!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

I think we all feel this way at one time or another. I know I have and still do at times. It all depends on how you react to that feeling. If you see it as a chance to go within and be creative or just meditate, it is an essential part of life. If you see it as "poor me" you will never have peace. We all need alone time and each day to rejuvenate and touch base with our inner self. It is a natural ebb and flow of which we must experience to get in touch with ourselves. I very much enjoyed your post.

Miss Mouse said...

You are such a kindred spirit, Maitri. I really enjoy reading your blog. ^-^

"Annie" said...

"Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self."

I love this quote; my grandmother used to say that; "You will never feel lonely, if you enjoy your own company."

This is the first post I read today. I woke up, poured a cup of coffee, and found a friend request on Facebook, and when I responded, I found your post-

I think things happen for a reason- I needed to read these words today- Keep writing Maitri- You're making a difference.

Thank you~

Have a great day~:)

Annie

snoring solutions said...

There are days I experience a deep wish to be able to finish my thoughts, finish even one complete sentence.Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes and was particularly beautiful.

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