Today’s post from Nadine Marie on Aligning with Truth struck me deeply (her posts often do) and I’ve been mulling it over since I read it.
I’m an only child, so solitude became normal from a very early age. Long ago one of my friends commented that I am more content to be alone than anyone she’s known. For many years, though, alone felt lonely. Then I reached a place where I could just be in my own company and feel perfectly content.
Because I do it so easily I don’t always notice when alone has become permeated with loneliness. Over a year ago, I lost my place to teach yoga and haven’t had the heart to find another so one source of being out with people has been gone. At the same time the unwinding head/sleeplessness issues have impacted my social life — I often bow out on events because I just don’t feel up to it.
But in recent months I’ve been realizing that I’ve become too isolated. Which led to trying to decide what I want to do about that. It’s kind of an issue for me. I tend to define myself as outside — though I’m finally realizing it’s also true and who I am is outside the norm–but that’s another story for another post. I’ve also struggled a bit ever since I moved here from northern California with feeling like I don’t quite fit.
To some extent that’s always been true. Though my parents are both native Kentuckians and my southern roots are many and deep and long, I was raised in the north. I wound up a little too southern for the north and a little too northern for the south. (My grandmother’s favorite accusation when she didn’t like my manners or behavior, “That’s what you get for raising her up there with those damn yankees…”)
Like Nadine, I lived in the midst of seekers on a similar path for some years. My apartment was attached to my teacher’s house and I met most of my friends one way or another through her or her workshops. Events, celebrations and ceremonies happened there all the time. A lot of our social lives involved going to pujas, zikrs, meditations, etc. My whole life was immersed and, though many of us favored different paths, we had in common a desire to go deep and somehow we shared very similar philosophies even though we each might study a different type of spirituality.
When I moved, there wasn’t a lot going on in my new place. That has changed, but as I’ve wandered from one group to another I’ve not really found a place that fits. Also like Nadine, I don’t want to sound like there’s a sense of superiority. Most people are at a different stage than I am or are just on a path so different that I don’t feel like we “get” one another. Just different, not better or worse or less or more.
At the same time that more is going on spiritually speaking, this is still an area with a lot of folks who associate my beliefs with the devil. Where the more mainstream types don’t share my beliefs at all. So a lot of the time I feel I have to keep my mouth shut. And really that also includes most of my family.
I’ve networked more here than anywhere I’ve ever lived so I know a lot of people. There are a few particular people that I love spending time with. I kind of like being with 1-3 other people at a time rather than big gatherings. So I mostly organize coffee or lunch with one or two people occasionally. But still casting about for that communal feeling I had when I lived in Marin. I didn’t get to make my annual trip out there this year and I could have used those long heart-to-hearts and the sense of renewal those visits give me.
Since a solitary path has been so much a part of me it didn’t occur to me that lots of other seekers feel alone or outside. Or that some of my loneliness arises from being on a path that’s not the norm instead of from me being me. No answers at this stage, just noticing it and wondering what, if anything, to do… And whether this is just part of this path.