When doing things alone--without the buffer of another--friend, lover, kids, a pet--life is experienced purely. That is--your experience is unmixed with other matter. Little things take on a deeper meaning.
I sing the praises of spending chunks of time in my own company. In doing so, I discovered the wondrous woman that resides within.
Eons ago, I was addicted to being with people--doing things with others--with a best friend or in groups. I was even addicted to being in relationships, even when they were shitty. I hated to be alone. I feared doing things sola. This fear probably had it roots in Latino culture where girls are never encouraged to venture the world solas. My life was great though! And I did many beautiful things... However, after nearly two decades of enjoying life like a free range bird, I can assure you--I was missing out. Life has gotten even better.
Once I overcame the fear and discovered the wonders of aloneness and spent considerable chunks of time in my own company, traveling, to near and far away places, going to the movies, catching an exhibit, my favorite bands--all by myself--my life, especially, my creative life--took off. Like, really took off.
For anyone who is fearful of being alone, you'll find plenty of inspiration Tanya Davis's poem, "How to be Alone," which was the inspiration for this post. There is safety in being alone she says. Yes, being alone can also heal, if you let it.
This culture has a deep antipathy to aloneness and I find it so tragic.
We see people alone, at a restaurant, movie theater, vacationing, and think something is wrong with them. We even perceive negatively people who choose to be single--we see them as unusual, somehow, deficient. There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely and maybe that is where the judgment comes in--we feel sorry for people we see alone because we think of them as lonely, or as lacking. And we think of our own lonely. But lonely is feeling disconnected to others. Alone, on the other hand, is to be with self while feeling connected to others. How many married people feel lonely? Many...
My kind of alone is expansive and glorious. Healthy. I don't mean the kind of aloneness that happens for decades at a time where you end up in a cabin plotting the destruction of the masses because you hate people so much. Or the kind that turns into a phobia of being with other human beings and you can't leave the house, or another kind of social disorder.
The kind of alone time I am talking about is when you take yourself to dinner at a nice restaurant, all pretty and sexy, on a date with you. And when the hostess seats you in a corner, out of range, because there is a bias to people dining alone, you sweetly insist that you want the best seat in the house. You proceed to order a great bottle of wine, and savor each drop. I mean, the kind of aloneness where you take you on that dream vacation, solo. Hello Spain! South of France! Anguilla! Pacific Coast!
It's decadent to be in your own company.
We fail to do so many things -- and experience so many more beautiful things -- because we want someone else to tag along, even if that someone else is an asshole or furniture. If you have people in your life like that, please, get a dog, or cat. Or, a vibrator.
In praise of being alone
One bold and dear girlfriend of mine who traveled to Egypt, Capri, Italy, Japan, the Caribbean, and many other faraway places and who often took herself out to dinner and other fabulous outings, inspired me to take flight--sola. We traveled to Cuba together and had a spectacular time. It would not have been the same without her. But, still, she encouraged me to enjoy aloneness.
There is so much power in your alone time
My friend promised that in doing things without others, I would experience life--la vida--without buffers. You walk at your own rhythm, she said, and eat when you are hungry and enjoy the experience without the noise of someone else's chatter.
In embracing aloneness, I have found life to be deliciously intoxicating. I will forever be grateful to my wise upa guru for the motivation to respect aloneness.
Three great benefits from being alone:
Time takes on a different meaning:
You will learn to guard your time jealously. To set parameters better, demarcation lines of whom you will or will not accept in your life. Your relationships will be upgraded.I curate my friends more carefully, including my intimate relationships, because I don't want to waste it with mediocrity. During moments when I've been in groups and I am not having a blast, I think to myself--I could be reading, or watching a documentary, or sleeping, or dancing--and having a spectacular time sola!
The funny thing is, the more you love being with you, the more you will also enjoy the time you share with others. It's almost as if being with you opens up your heart to welcome the world. But you do this with a deeper understanding of quality connections.
You perfect your craft:
Davis's is right when she says that being alone can give you time to perfect your craft.
Artists--and by that I mean every living human being--need time to perfect their art. Whether it's cooking, sewing, painting, gardening, singing, writing, acting, frisbee throwing-- alone time is your time to do you--to perfecting you. Your craft urges you to be alone. Enjoy. Create.
Being alone will allow you to get to know you better, and in the process become a better you, a better friend, lover, mother, daughther.
Take silences and respect them
Moving. Soulful. Inspiring. Here's Davis's poem, "How to be Alone," For anyone who is fearful of being alone, you'll find plenty of inspiration.
Click here for the lyrics.