There is a lot of loneliness in our world. People choosing to isolate because they either feel they cannot relate, or being isolated because others cannot relate. The outcome is the same—a profound sense of non belonging, non-lovability, sadness. Loneliness is merely an illusion.
My favorite quote of the day goes something like this: those who feel lonely are not aware of the myriad and infinite connections around them of which they are a part. How true! When we feel lonely our vision becomes myopic and narrow, while life rejoices and exchanges, we recognize only our inner turmoil, neglecting the medicine life offers.
I have two antidotes for loneliness, the first is to pause and look outward. Watch for the communication, verbal and non, amidst the sentient beings we share the planet with. Lately I have been entering into a singing competition with a male finch who likes to whistle while I work as I water my garden. I stop, wait for him to get quiet and whistle back, although poorly. He cocks his head and let’s me have it…a lengthy serenade fit for majesty, for the love of his life. I feel connected in the most profound way and much to the dismay of the aforementioned sentient beings, try again. Some of you are considering my neighbors, or more truthfully, your neighbors and how they might react to your bird communications because you can’t stop with finches. You are on a walk with friends when suddenly you freak them out, cawing to the crows above, or attempting to make that impossible and ever soothing rock dove bellow. It is true, your neighbors and friends will judge you, until they don’t. They will call you eccentric, funny, fascinating even, but they won’t call you lonely.
Ready for antidote number two? Close the gap between how you are when you are alone and how you are with others. This is one definition of true freedom. Be more transparent. Root out the shame and fear that drowns us in mediocrity and banality. Instead risk showing yourself and witness how you suddenly, due to the vulnerability of the expression, feel known and seen. It is magic! Okay, maybe more evident than magic, maybe not dragonfly magic, but still.
Finally, have you seen the incredible dragonfly displays this summer? They are everywhere! So many different types and sizes, colors and patterns. I recently heard their story. It is truly worth remembering. Each dragonfly is actually born a nymph and lives under water. One day for no apparent reason, which we hopefully will never understand, the nymph crawls out of the water onto a reed of nearby grass, and begins breathing air. It pauses, waiting for the sun to warm it and open it in such a way that its body transfigures and grows wings and becomes what you and I are now able to connect with. (Sing to the birds all you wish but please refrain from re-enacting the metamorphosis of the dragonfly in public.) Kidding! Now when I see them resting on the grasses in my garden I wonder if they are somehow syncing up to that moment of transformation. We know their medicine magic so we can call on it to help us feel less lonely, capable of sublime transformation, a deeper part of this grand mystery.