"Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone. Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music."—Khalil Gibran
Good Evening Fellow Earthlings,
Here's something to think about:
You can't be together until you can be alone.
Yes, I believe that.
When my ex-husband walked out and left our marriage a year and a half ago, I had gotten used to him sleeping in the bed. I had gotten used to our rituals. For over 12 years of marriage, we had slept side by side and from my perspective, we were happy. We laughed, read to each other in bed, snuggled, talked about our dreams and ideas. There was a comfort in having him there. I felt like he was my rock, that we had each other's back, that no matter what happened in our marriage, we'd figure it out. From that foundation, I felt comfortable to be alone. I would go on silent meditation courses and go out to my family's lake house to write for a week by myself. I was comfortable alone because I knew I wasn't completely ALONE. My husband was there, even if we were doing our own things and pursuing our own goals.
But the day he walked out and ripped the carpet out from under our marriage, I thought I was going to die. One day we were picking blackberries down the street and making muffins and singing and enjoying the sun and the next day he was gone. Just GONE. He had an affair and left. That was it. He never returned to our house and bed again.
In the days that followed him leaving, I never felt so alone. I would reach out for my partner in bed at night, half asleep, and realize that there was no partner. My heart would race. I could almost feel it pounding in my throat. I had heard that it was possible to die of a broken heart and I was pretty sure this is what it felt like.
As much as the pain and loneliness was very real, I refused to sleep at family or friends' houses. I wanted to feel myself completely. I didn't want to take prescription medication, drown my sorrows in alcohol, or move to a commune. I wanted to FEEL everything, even if those feelings were unpleasant. Many people reached out to help me at this time, but oddly I wanted to be alone. Writing has ALWAYS been my way of working things out and seeing the bigger picture and I filled many journals during this time. I was 46 when my husband left. I thought I'm getting older. Is this my destiny? To be alone?
I had gotten used to doing so many things together, but now I was trying to pick up the pieces and do many things by myself. Two months after my husband left, we were scheduled to lead a yoga and writing retreat in Sedona, Arizona. I had thought about canceling it, but friends encouraged me to do it anyway. Two good friends stepped up, came all the way to Arizona and helped me do the retreat. I had never done a retreat without my husband, but it was all women and it ended up being one of the most empowering retreats I have ever been a part of. One woman on the retreat said, "Look at it this way. Now that your husband is gone, you can do and be whoever you want. You are free!" I had never thought about it that way. I was free to define myself anyway I chose to. I was no longer in a partnership. I used the opportunity to develop my healing and intuition at Psychic Awakenings in Seattle and I took a burlesque class that changed my life. It was so incredibly empowering to be with a group of women and create a new identity on stage. All that pent up sexual energy came flying out of me when I danced and so it's not surprising that I got asked out pretty quickly.
I was hesitant to go out with my current boyfriend. I thought I needed more time alone. I believed that I needed to spend a good deal of time with myself first before getting in a partnership again. At the same time, I had felt deprived of affection in my marriage and here was a man that was funny, joyful and ready to shower me with affection—a kind of affection I had never known before. I'm sorry, but I wasn't going to turn THAT down, it's what I wanted more than anything. Some friends cautioned me about going out with another man too soon. I could see their point. After all, it had only been six months and my divorce hadn't yet gone through when I went on that first date. But everything in my body was telling me yes, yes and YES! So I went with it, and it was beautiful and it still is beautiful almost a year later.
I read somewhere that you can be in a partnership with someone for 20, 30 or 40 years and not have too much growth within the relationship. Couples get comfortable and patterns set in and before you know it, you are moving through the motions with one another. That spark that once ignited the fire between you has sort of dimmed and you have no idea when that happened, but you are comfortable. You know what to expect and there is comfort in THAT. In a way, I believe that is sort of what has happened in America. We were comfortable and perhaps we needed a WAKE UP CALL! We needed an overhaul. We needed to GROW! Trust me, there will be an overhaul and there will be GROWTH.
Being in this new relationship has absolutely accelerated my growth! I feel like I'm on the AUTOBAHN of healing. It helps that I'm with a man who meditates, is an EXCELLENT communicator, is in touch with his feelings and has done plenty of his own healing. I feel like I've jumped through a thousand hoops with this person. We don't let anything fester. Things get resolved quickly and then new things appear to be resolved. So it is with and through this intimate connection that I am healing so many parts of myself. How can we grow if nothing is reflected back to us? How can we grow if there is never any conflict, upheaval or chaos? How can we grow if we never step outside our comfort zone? It is through connection that we can see how much alike we all really are. We ALL have parts of ourselves that need to be healed. Not one of us here is perfect or we wouldn't be on the planet. We are here to connect, love and LEARN. I believe that it is through connection, a deep soul connection, with others who are also willing to grow and learn, that we can evolve. That CONNECTION with others is KEY.
But so is solitude. The two go hand in hand I believe.
But before I talk about that, here's something to ponder: If you decide you don't need a partner, that you prefer to be ALONE or that you are not interested in a relationship because they are too complicated or you can't find the right person or this or that, you may have gotten too comfortable being alone. When you are alone, you get to call all the shots. No one is there to ruffle your feathers or trigger you. You don't need to worry about anything being reflected back to you because you are the only one THERE. It's easy to HIDE OUT in solitude. It's easy to become DISCONNECTED. You may have even convinced yourself that it is safer this way. Being alone is another kind of comfort zone.
I believe there needs to be a balance of coming together on an intimate level and being ALONE. I have made good friends with myself. I enjoy my own company. When I'm alone, all my ideas, thoughts, observations come flooding out. I have time to process what it is like to be in connection with people and particularly with an intimate partner. When I'm in solitude, I can step back and assess the progress I have made. I can see if I like where I'm standing.
I feel fortunate that I have a good balance between being alone and being with my boyfriend, but I have no idea what the future holds. Do any of us? Do we really know? Even from the deck of our comfort zone, with a glass of wine in hand, enjoying the view, have we really figured it all out? What if you were to lose all of that tomorrow? Would you live any differently now? What would you say to the people in your life? Would you change anything?
I am not claiming to have all the answers. More than ever before, I'm feeling around in the dark and every now and then the light comes through. I'm not sure of anything, but I'm sure of this: a plant can't grow in a box. It needs sunlight, water, good soil and LOVE. It is dependent on the other to LIVE. We are the same. We need each other. We need interactions with each other. Through our deep connections and interactions we realize we are all in this together. If we can just realize this we will realize we are never alone. And once we realize we are never alone, we will be perfectly content to be just that.