“Loneliness, like fear, is a threshold emotion–you have to pass through it if you want to enter the inner world. In fact, loneliness is the shadow side of solitude, that magical state that poets, mystics, and yogis celebrate as the great laboratory for spiritual growth.” Sally Kempton
So, after I had been not officially but might as well have been divorced for, oh I don’t know, about 3 years, and the sharp ache had kind of worn off, I began to explore the concept of being alone. The truth was, at the time, I still had two of my children with me, and we were all still floundering around, trying to figure out what the hell had happened when it dawned on me that I really needed to get my ass in gear.
In characteristic me fashion, without a lot of real forethought, I decided to leave the state of New Jersey and move to Florida, so desperate was I to get away from my ex-husband. I know, I know, horrible motivation, but the pain of being near him at the time was so great, that I just honestly couldn’t control myself. So I moved, two kids in tow, and the loneliness of my crazy parched decision roiled up and slapped me across the face at almost the exact moment I crossed the 26 foot Budget moving truck into the state of Florida.
It was an enormous disastrous mistake. My kids who loved me fiercely were dreadfully unhappy, missed their father and brothers and the state in which they had been born. My father at the time was becoming more and more ill and I was just alone and guilty and so terrified by the choice I had made. This kind of aloneness was completely foreign to me; a state of being that I knew I had been led to, mostly by my own choices, that was going to take me on an interior journey that I frankly had no desire to go on, but it didn’t really matter because I was going there no matter what. My kids returned to New Jersey to be with their father, and I, at the invitation of my mother, moved to Naples to help her care for my ailing father; this gracious spiral only making sense to me years later.
For all intents and purposes, I was alone, really broken and beginning what would prove to be the most grace-filled experience of my life. What I have come to understand is that I had to be well and truly alone in my life in order to begin to really come face to face with who I was and the authentic person that I wanted to uncover. And I did that in Naples Florida, with my dying father, without my children; I began to heal my broken heart. It was an amazing and oftentimes extremely painful experience.
I was alone with my true self and I discovered my true self; and the woman that emerged was vulnerable yet brave and more than capable of taking as many chances on herself as was necessary to begin to well and truly live and love from the heart. I no longer fear being alone as I have learned that what emerges as a result of the contemplative opportunity that sharing my space with noone provides, is so much more expansive and heart-filled and inspiring than anything I could ever have possibly imagined.
I’m more than o.k today and so are my kids, in fact better than o.k. We have come to a place where a new kind of love exists between us, something that is more tender and honest and way deeper than that which we had before our foray to Florida. We cherish one another and the love that we have for one another; because we understand that it was hard-won, had many jagged edges that had to be smoothed over in our aloness and is built upon a foundation replete with awe and hope.