Friday, February 12, 2010

Being Present and Belonging

“The shortest distance in the world is the one between you and yourself.” John O’Donohue

Even though the above statement is true, the loneliness I can experience being estranged from my own Presence is the loneliest feeling in the world. Even if I am somewhat connected to others, if I am not connected to mySelf, I don’t feel as deep a connection to the others.

Sometimes it can feel like I’m miles away from myself when I am not really present, like a divided self living in one body. That feeling of being lonely, even in a crowd, of not belonging anywhere, is a feeling of not being connected. We are lonely for ourselves, essentially. We are longing to meet face to face with that inner Friend, to see our own face in a mirror of calm. This meeting brings a feeling of immense satisfaction, serenity and peace.

When I am self-aware, or present and conscious, not in the psychological sense, but in the way of being present inside or mindful, then  I am also aware of the inner observer watching and listening, stepping back from thought and mind’s chatter. Through meditation, through looking at myself in the mirror within, comes a stillness of the mind that also brings a feeling of being with a larger Presence. I feel a oneness with myself (and my Self) that does not come from reading a book or staring at a candle. It feels like the two halves have been united, there’s a wholeness about me.

How does my own lack of connection manifest? On a daily basis, I work alone. I am in my home, writing, reading, and surfing the web on different topics or blogging about what interests me. Sometimes I am working on a book project or poetry. But mostly I am alone all day, except for my dog and cats, and occasional hungry teenagers ravaging the kitchen for food. Craving human connection, I wait for my email box to fill up with replies to emails I have sent, or information, or replies to blog posts, or replies to replies I have left on other blogs – some days I wonder, why is the world so silent? Having nothing new in my inbox is a sad feeling.  When there is mail, it's like a confirmation that I am here, and someone is responding to me. 

 I feel such a longing for belonging – for finding my tribe, for meeting like-minded women who are a bit windy mouthed as I am, who want to hash things out, research, search again, find all the alleys and byways and tributaries of subjects of interest, about our sexuality, about our need for presence, and peace, about mid life and menopause, about independence and starting anew, about creativity and compulsivity .... about life in general. But I know that ultimately, I need to love being with myself, and then I will love even more being with everyone else.

I fill my need for presence and connection in different ways. I meditate, I practise yoga. I have a bi-monthly women’s circle meeting with cherished friends. I teach occasionally, to get out of the house. Mostly I am a bit of a hermit, but a hermit with an email habit.  I love to get emails from people. So if you’re reading this blog, please send me a comment.

Love to hear from you,
Ps Happy Valentine’s Day

also blogging at Owning Pink (see sidebar)


Lindaa said...

Dear Jenn, Thank you for this. Your description of being alone in your work day could have been a description of me (except for the teenagers - my son is grown, so the occasional invasion is for use of the laundry machines). I enjoy the solitude and at the same time, yearn for the sense of belonging. I would love to connect and an exchange thoughts about all the "subjects of interest" that you listed . . . and any others that pop up along the way.

BTW - I found you because of the John O'Donohue quote . . .

warmly and looking forward,

Over the Top said...

dear Lindaa
am going to a cottage for the weekend, but will write to your email address, since the link doesn't bring me to your site.
thanks for popping by
ps love John O'Donohue's books, didn't have the pleasure to meet him

sara star said...

I have a few friends like you who feel isolated. They never invite me over or have parties. If you want to connect with others you have to make that first step and connect. Invite a friend over for lunch. Meet at a park. Your relationships are only as good as what you put into them.

Rubina said...

Thanks for the info, I think we all understand is good because sometimes we feel bad because stress is a powerful force that it is worth understanding to eliminate.