Been thinking about loneliness a bit lately. They said that Urban Seed could be a lonely place for residents, and I didn't quite believe them. But now I understand.
Last Wednesday at house dinner Dave announced that he was going out with Gemma. None of us were surprised, and we chatted about it for a while. Geoff confessed that this was perhaps a bad time to ask, but how was my celibacy going? Last week I had also made an announcement - to have a one month break from men. Hard core, I know. I told him that my celibacy was going very well indeed, thankyou very much, and as I laughed, my laughter turned to tears and before I knew it, I had silent black tears dripping down my cheeks. The silent black tears then turned into sobs, and the sobs turned into deep shudders and before I knew it, Gin was cradling me in her arms. The crying came from somewhere very deep - a place in my gut someplace where I'd stuffed a whole wad of grief and loneliness; out of sight, out of mind. It had been sitting heavy for a while, and then, like the bursting of a dammed up spring, the tears came. Man, it feels good to cry. You realise how connected your body is with your spirit and your mind when you shake and tremble with emotion. Crying is to grief what dance is to joy. Maybe when we're disconnected from our bodies, we feel like we can't cry. Or dance for joy, for that matter.
For a while I felt mellow and very very slow. I went into the bush and found a swing on a tree and let it take me high. Then I saw an echidna waddling along and poking around a tree with its long funny snout. The wind picked up my skirt and I could see my undies. And I could feel God all around me. When I came back to the house, Ray gave me a bunch of wild flowers.
After church on Sunday I told my friend Michael that I was feeling lonely, and he said that he was a chronically lonely person. He said that he'd come to see his loneliness as a wounded part of himself - a part that he needed to embrace and love. While I was trying to solve my loneliness by being around other people more, Michael saw his loneliness as something from within, which needed healing and restoration.
Sophie said that she could write a whole book about loneliness. There was a difference between loneliness and being alone, she said, and the difference came down to whether or not she had a choice of being alone. For Sophie, loneliness came when she wanted a deep connection with someone but for some reason, could not.
Our little conversation expanded into a group discussion, and we realised that we all suffered from loneliness at various times of our lives. As we talked and shared our experiences, I felt a sense of relief that I was lonely, but not alone! I like Michael's ideas about inner wounds, and I am beginning to realise that my loneliness is partly a disproportionate sensitivity to rejection and exclusion. When I am alone, I sense that I am not loved or not worth spending time with. Somehow, I need to re-wire myself.