Saturday, November 10, 2018

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, November 10, 2018 - Loneliness is a Diving Board

Maybe it’s the Internet’s fault. Perhaps it’s the unintended consequences of the Information Age. Has it made us afraid of in-person connection? Have we learned too much about our own darkness? Too late now, I guess.
Well, good. Let’s get over it together.
This poke-in-the-eye we call our present socio-political culture is a really tough pill. Sometimes I even have to turn off the news for a moment. That was light sarcasm, in case I was vague. Why are we so mesmerized by a train wreck? What is the psychology behind our inability to turn away? I don’t have the answer for that. But I see its effects.
The fact is, we’re just plain afraid. Of each other, of ourselves, of the dark. The almighty Google has shown us how deep our pain goes. How many long generations of wounds have been inflicted upon one another? The depth of our karma is staggering.
It’s no wonder we retreat now. Or, have found ourselves to be among the retreated-from. We feel as if the world has abandoned us. Everything’s different now. Some of us react to our accumulated loneliness with rage, some with resignation. The rest with sorrow. Some with all.
It’s time to make a decision. Not the whole world. Just you.
In this particular present loneliness, which each of us feels to one degree or another, take a moment to notice the contrast between what you have and what you want. Examine it like you’re tasting it. Pick at the sorrow for a minute. Check the way it makes you feel. Read the page where it says you can use it like a diving board. Then decide.
How is loneliness to be used like a diving board, you may ask? It’s an invitation to use your challenges as the fuel to rocket beyond them. Contrast breeds desire. Necessity is the mother of invention. At the bottom of Pandora’s box rests hope.
Thank your loneliness for its service and bid it hail and farewell. Daily. Thank all sorrow for what it stands to teach you. You’re not inviting more by doing this, sorrow comes all on its own. You’re remaining open to its secrets.
Stand back a bit and examine the sensation of loneliness. Burn it into your being so that you know when and if it ever comes again, you shall recognize it for what it is. A bridge, not a wall. Next time you’ll more easily see it and cross it.
Eventually you might not even be afraid of seeing its occasional approach at all. Because you’ll then know that loneliness is not an indicator of your inadequacy. It is a signal to find connection. Connection that you’re no longer afraid of making, you’ve just forgotten for a moment. It’s easier to reconnect once you learn that life isn’t personal. Its purpose is to learn and master things like this. The purpose of life is to figure this stuff out.
This is the secret to all of life, really. Be nonresistant to all things and you will get the most from them. And over with more quickly. Don’t wallow in misery. Don’t continue to just sit there. Let suffering propel you away from itself as any good teacher wants of their best pupil. What has loneliness taught you about how to love others? What does it compel you to do about your trust issues?
This is just one among a series of points in the full constellation of your emotional well being. So few of them are we truly encouraged by society to recognize and release without shame, without the view of their scorn over our weakness. Brush it off. Recognize and release what hurts you in spite of their scorn. Find your tribe. Make connection. Say hello to things as practice until you can say it to people. Then step into it with deliberation. Loneliness is not the enemy. In the end, nothing is. Give the village a chance.

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