Lonely in a Crowded World

Lonely in a Crowded World

“And if I’m alone in bed, I will go to the window, look up at the sky, and feel certain that loneliness is a lie, because the Universe is there to keep me company.”

– Paulo Coelho

Lonely in a crowded world?

Loneliness is suffocating.

Solitude is a blessing and enriches a creative life. As Thomas Merton so beautifully said, “A deepening of the present.”

Being a happy gal most of the time, I understand this is not so for everyone. Sure, I want everyone to be happy, feeling fulfilled by life, but how realistic is this in the current world we inhabit? People seem to be more stressed and unhappy over the last few years. One thing I do know is this, we get to choose how we feel.

Let’s explore….

My observations on the difference between loneliness and solitude…

Loneliness can be many things; an unwelcome solitude which does not support well-being, a feeling of missing something such as love, inner peace is elusive, not being understood or being ignored, emotional feelings of not belonging – separate from self and others, which causes inner and outer pain, creating a space of isolation that can feel intensely devastating as it becomes the fabric of a person. Being a constant witness to the lives of others who seem more connected to life, can exacerbate the sensation of feeling alone. 

Solitude is when we deliberately choose to ‘clear the air’ as life is swirling in, through and around us. Solitude creates a respite from the noise of the world. I call it sacred space and like to think that solitude supports happiness, revitalizes, refreshes our spirit and fuels the fire of creativity. It’s as essential to me as breathing.

The power of opposites; one is ‘perceived’ as negative and one as positive, but it’s really about our growth as a human being – a human doing. Being lonely is a temporary state we all feel on occasion. Loneliness is deeper…leaving the spirit depleted, which can lead to depression. This ‘state of being’ requires serious inner and outer work until the pendulum swings back towards well-being and happiness. When addressed, reflected on, and conscious action is taken, there is hope. Loneliness gives way to re-inhabiting a space of peace and grace.

The human condition in all its richness and perfectly perfect imperfection is what makes the world go round. We need human intimacy in the form of family, friends and partners. Thank heavens for the animal kingdom. Our furry friends are lifesavers!

12 Tips to Tip the Scales

  • Loneliness is a feeling, not a fact of life.
  • If you are lonely, reach out to those you trust – no pressure on either side.
  • Pay attention to your flight of fight response, your thoughts, feelings and actions.
  • Focus on someone or something besides yourself. Get a hobby, take a class, work out, cook, volunteer. Get a pet to love and care for.
  • If you are around a group of people you don’t resonate to, find another group who understands you.
  • You are not alone, there are millions of people who feel loneliness. Many who have shared experiences and tools they can provide for you.
  • Be kind to yourself and others – kindness rocks and everyone feels better!
  • Write down what you are grateful for at the end of each day.
  • Meditate – connect with your inner power. If you don’t go within, as they say, you go without. The best option is to live from the inside out, versus the outside in.
  • Get outside in nature, eat food that support your health and well-being.
  • Take responsibility for your actions – do not engage in the blame game.
  • Smile because you are awesome!

If you are feeling loneliness, please know you are not alone. Olivia Laing wrote this bestselling book – The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone. Laing writes about the lonesome — including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alfred Hitchcock, Peter Hujar, Billie Holiday, and Nan Goldin. She chooses four artists as her companions as she charts the path of loneliness: Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Henry Darger, and David Wojnarowicz, who had all “grappled in their lives as well as work with loneliness and its attendant issues.”

I quote Olivia’s Amazon page: “The Lonely City is about the spaces between people and the things that draw them together, about sexuality, mortality and the magical possibilities of art. It’s a celebration of a strange and lovely state, adrift from the larger continent of human experience, but intrinsic to the very act of being alive.”