Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Walk alone

There are paths we walk alone. It would probably be better to say that we always walk our path alone, but in many instances it feels like we walk together with our loved ones, the ones we trust and the ones we care for. At those moments it seems as if our spirits are holding hands and we all move together, until at one point we look around and we see none. There is no one next to us, no one walking with us. But we keep on walking. Not because of the people around us; not because of our connection with our loved ones and not because we care about others. No, we continue because of an inner urge that tells us to move, to act and to go forward.

Tonight, I am sitting on my bed while I should be asleep and I feel alone. My loved one is near; my friends are close; my bed is warm; my belly is filled; my life is great.

Still, I feel thoroughly alone.

I have been here many times before. When I put my personal belongings in a shopping cart as a fourteen year old and left my parents house to not return until many years later, I felt alone. When my teacher told me to work harder in class while I didn’t really know where to spent my time after school, I felt alone. The time I broke up with my first love, I felt very, very alone. I was alone when I moved into my first student house rental. I felt alone the first Christmas living on my own, having decided that I wanted to be all by myself. Because, you know, feeling alone is not bad.

And feeling alone doesn’t only happen in times of turmoil. I also can feel alone when I visit the Bishbash waterfalls, when I see a good play or movie, when I swim in a lake or when I go into the sauna (yep. That one surprises me a bit, but it is true).

What I feel tonight is related to the alones of great emotional times. Seeing that we lost our good friend Jonathan two weeks ago; that we participated in his funeral service the day after; that we traveled northwards that same weekend to celebrate the beautiful wedding of Mark’s daughter on Sunday after an emotional ending family diner on Saturday; and this followed by a CAT scan of my head when I returned home to diagnose a growth on my skull; I am not surprised that I feel shaken and alone tonight.

It never stops to amaze me, how feeling alone is one of the best remedies to heal depression, sadness, frustration, irritation, and helplessness. When you are alone there is no one to blame (except yourself), there is no one to trust (except yourself) and there is no one to guide you (except yourself). From that place there is only one direction to move, and that is forward...

Many people are afraid of “alone”. They seem to belief that being alone implies that there is a challenge in connecting with others or life, and that a person feeling alone makes choices without caring for the people he or she should be caring for. I strongly disagree.

Being alone reminds me that I better take the wheel in my hand and steer the boat if I want to go somewhere. There may be cheerleaders along the way. There may be friends who fill the boat with food, water and love, but in the end it is me who has to decide which stars to follow. It makes me totally responsible for what happens now and tomorrow. It makes me look at my actions and ask myself the questions “Is this who I want to be”? Am I the biggest me? Do I share my biggest love? Do I give my biggest self? Do I create my biggest work? Do I represent what I like to see in the world?

Never have I been able to answer these questions with a solid one word: “YES”. There are moments I would answer “Yes, but....” the but always pointing towards something I would like to do bigger, better, more often. I can say today, I am the biggest me I have ever been, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming what that could mean about me in five months, two years, or twenty years from now. And it somehow always motivates me to get of the couch and do something!

It helps me reconsider my dreams, my wants, and what I have to give to the world. Instead of disconnecting from the world, I notice that I become more compassionate with the world around me. It opens the door to reconsider what I have to give and how I can continue growing towards what I think is important in life.

So, tonight I feel alone and I feel grateful for the opportunity to share these thoughts with you.

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