I’ve been pondering a lot upon this concept of “alone-time” lately.
I have always been someone who charged their batteries in solitude and really enjoyed their own company. However, I noticed recently that the ‘quality’ of the charge I’ve been getting in last few years or maybe even a decade is far lower and less nurturing than the charge I was getting when I was a child, pre-teen or even in my early teens.
I heard myself saying so many times how I am my own best friend and the company I enjoy the most at the end of the day, no matter how much I might also enjoy being with some of my closest friends. However, that’s not really true, because I haven’t been really meeting myself for a looong time, other than in bits and pieces and even those were bitter and uncomfortable and therefore short-lived.
What do I mean by I have not been meeting myself?
Well, if you are with a person whose presence you truly cherish and enjoy, with the person who you want to see in the depth of their soul and absorb everything they are trying to communicate to you, hold the space for them, offer compassion and understanding - you wouldn’t be scrolling on your phone at the same time, or reading a book, or watching a video, or daydreaming about your ideal vacation, or… whatever. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those, but they have their time and place and you wouldn’t be engaging in other activities (even if they are only mental) if your intention is to be really present for another - their feelings, their thoughts, their experiences.
You see now… I haven’t been present for myself for so long that just the idea of doing so is terrifying. Meeting the wholeness of my experience and facing all the shadowy aspects that start crawling out of their shelters once you direct the light of awareness on them is quite uncomfortable, to put it nicely.
So, we don’t do it. We find so many excuses. We trained our minds to redirect its focus so rapidly to some outward phenomenon or maybe even to some better-feeling thought if we have been religiously following ‘positive thoughts only’ concept, afraid as shit of anything that feels yucky and sticky and off, ‘cause it could bring forth some unwanted manifestations. However, just because you chose to suppress and redirect your sight from the thing it doesn’t mean that the thing will disappear.
I also think we are not meeting ourselves because we don’t know how to do it.
Most of us don’t even know how to fully meet another, which is of no surprise actually if we don’t know how to offer that same presence to ourselves. If we happen to encounter that empty space where we are not entertained and distracted by some activity and have a glimpse of what is happening inside, chances are the story will kick in as soon as we acknowledge there is something unpleasant there, being it sadness, shame, fear, blame, hate, etc. We immediately start to judge and shame ourselves for feeling that way and the momentum of toxic, self-depricating thoughts starts, gaining the speed, enriching itself by more bad-feeling thoughts and memories, nurturing and expanding its power, making us feel worse and worse, until we are so deep inside the hole that the only way ‘out’ is to actually distract ourselves. Grab a phone, a drink, a book, take a fast walk, go to the gym. From one side it can be a self-loving way to deal with the situation when we get too deep into that self-pity mind story, but the real solution lies in learning how to meet ourselves with love and compassion, without giving in to ego’s stories and succumbing to the judgment and shame.
If you are not sure where are you with meeting yourself, observe how you meet another.
Do you run away when they show sadness, rage or low self-esteem and want to be with them only when waters are smooth? Do you feed into their stories of victimhood and self-pity or try to aggressively pull them out of the low-feeling state, invalidating their emotions and maybe even getting afraid that those low vibes would somehow stick on you and make you less ‘vibrationally clean’?
When I was younger, I spent tons of time staring at the wall and feeling. I spent tons of time being with my parents and their friends, but really being with myself inside and feeling. I knew myself. I didn’t have the conscious awareness of any of it probably, but because of the lack of the available distractions at hand, the only way to somehow ‘entertain’ myself was to retreat inward and it was nice and comfortable and interesting. I haven’t yet learned to judge my feeling states, so I’d just observe and play with them. I loved being inside more than anything. I enjoyed my company the most at those times - when I was seemingly ‘doing nothing’.
Then we start to learn how to numb, how to distract, how to ‘deal with pain’ or sadness or shame with all this tools and techniques and if you are physically alone and doing nothing… it is like, wtf, go do something, go read a book, go call a friends, go help with the lunch, do, do, do. No time for being.
I forgot how to be. I left my safe shelter abandoned for so long that now is full of dust and dirtiness and all kind of old, weird objects that need deep-cleaning and rearrangement.
About 2 weeks ago, my phone got broken and even though my automatic response was to open the laptop and google how and where I can fix it or get a new one maybe - I stopped in the middle of it, took a breathe in - and decided not to take any action on it. I prayed the day prior to my phone falling apart for something that would help me on my path, whatever it might be, something to bring me back in touch with myself… and it happened. Universe never fails to give us what we need. It might not necessarily be what we want, but it is always what we need the most, as bitter as its taste may be at the moment of receiving it. Staying without my phone was exactly what I needed. The space that opened up without checking social media, taking photos and videos every day, listening to podcasts, going blindly around with eyes glued on the Google Maps as if there are no living, breathing humans all around that I may ask for directions as well… Scary amount of space, scary amount of silence.
It was just what I needed.
I am coming back to myself, re-teaching myself to be okay with whatever there is in those dark depths I left unvisited for years. I am learning to really BE with myself, as with a friend. As with someone I love.
And I hope that, eventually, it will start to feel again like the safe shelter where I enjoy residing that it once used to be, instead of the damp place that I am trying to escape at all costs.