Believe in nothing, no matter who says it, even if I say it, if it does not agree with your own experience and your own common sense ~ Buddha

Tell me friends, what does it mean for you to be alone? If you woke up one morning, and only the sound of summer birds greeted you? Would you feel fear? Relief? Are you bemused or simply…accepting?

In other words, with no one else around, are you alone, or lonely?

I like to be alone. Sometimes I rise early to do my yoga and think, before my husband wakes and the pressures of the day descend. If other people are around, I find myself jittery, unfocussed, listening with one ear to the conversation in the next room, anticipating interuption.

However, after several hours of solitude, I crave interaction. I wander forth, looking for someone to converse with. I want to share my thoughts, the accomplishments of my solitude. Perhaps I crave the attention–I am a performer, you know; I have to do my yoga without an audience, or I come from the wrong place to achieve balance.

There are times when I am lonely, but usually not when I am alone. It comes (for me, at least) from feeling misunderstood and left out.

Perhaps loneliness doesn’t come from lack of company and dialogue. Loneliness is not Dickensian–it’s Wildeish, Austenian–loneliness is only possible when there are  people present that you cannot connect with. It prevents the social animal in us all from feeling safe– if I’m not surrounded by friends, I must be inundated with enemies!

Loneliness is the most terrible poverty. But solitude; the freedom to think, to be, to experience–what riches!

Today is Lurker Day. I know you’re out there, so please just drop a line to say hi in the comments.

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Comments on: "Freedom and Riches Beyond Measure" (4)

  1. husband said:

    honey ur never alone when i’m here or in spirit

  2. Well, you pretty much already know what I think about all this. I liked this line:

    I want to share my thoughts, the accomplishments of my solitude.

    A friend back in the teenage wasteland years once told me, “For someone who’s so quiet, you’re incredibly open.” I thought, well, yeah — what would be the point of having all these thoughts if you can’t bounce them off of someone else? If there’s no interaction, your thoughts are like stagnant water; you need someone else for them to flow back and forth. Even then, I had a strong sense of time passing, of opportunities slipping away, of a need to say and do whatever you need to when you have the chance to do it. I didn’t see the point of hoarding thoughts and feelings for some future conversation that may never arrive, or keeping silent for fear of someone misinterpreting you or betraying your confidence. I just figured, other people are going to do whatever they’re going to do. All I can do is live honestly, and whatever happens, happens. Someone somewhere will appreciate it and respond in kind.

    Physically, I’m alone far more than not. I don’t have to interact with people much at work; many days, I can get back home again without having ever spoken a word to another person. When I have errands to run, I get antsy after a few hours in public and just want to be back home again. Even at home, my stepson’s schedule and mine deviate enough that I only interact with him for five or six hours, maybe. Even that doesn’t mean we’re in each others’ faces the whole time, of course.

    So sheer solitude has never made me feel lonely. I can feel nourished by “conversations” with authors that died hundreds of years ago. But sitting at a Xmas party that I was obligated to attend around a bunch of people I hardly know and have absolutely nothing in common with? It’s like how most people would feel being stripped of all their possessions and thrown in solitary confinement.

    As long as there’s smart people on the Internet to talk to, I’m content.

    • Oh good. It’s always comforting to know when you experience something the same way as others do–the being alone part, at least. I don’t get antsy in public–I love to people watch and I am fairly outgoing–I am quite good at forging connections with strangers…small talk, that is, and humour usually helps. After a while though, I get fatigued by the inane chatter. So guess that technically makes me an introvert, although I like to think of myself as very well balanced…and I’m ambidextrous. I wonder if there’s a connection……(wanders off to journal for a while)

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