How To Be Alone

The sun burns your skin and you are alone. Turn toward the mountain and you are alone. Turn toward the sea and you are alone. Say, this being alone is me.

Watch the seagull fly high in the sky. In that flight, remember the story of a man. Think about fear and courage and making mistakes. Think about how each lesson washes over you like waves. Think about how the salt heals your feet and how to breathe.

In the afternoon, don’t think about morning. Let the past roll off your shoulder. There’s no need to hold on to every memory. Each moment should pass gently. Those we carry in a box are cumbersome and heavy. When we are in a state of love, moments come and go naturally and intensely.

Learning to be alone doesn’t mean you don’t love deeply. It means that at the moment, you have nothing more to be. It means that life can be your little secret. It means that you alone hold the key.

The tears still come; it’s tenderness and life. It’s love and compassion on your face. It’s surrender in your eyes. It’s longing and frustration. When your tears fall with someone, there is love.

When a man plays saxophone on the street, stop and love him before leaving.

Home

Home is where the heart is, an old but fitting adage. And yet, dare one ask: where is thou heart? Is thou heart inside you, like a womb or does it reside gently in the soul of another? Where is thou heart, really, when so many of us are somnambulant or worst yet, living in captivity? Shall we agree that we are at our best when we feel at home? This inside out feeling, the feeling of aloneness or oneness with space for another, a welcome guest, a lover or family. Home is a pronounced exhale, the silence of the moon while you weep, the pause between words.

There may come a time when we find ourselves homeless. A migrant, lost, a choice or caught, tossed in that dubious state of in-between. We are forced into motion, we move from one nest to another, we are fluttering outside our cocoon. Some of us take it on with a warrior stance, while others see it as a Columbus journey. Many move kicking and screaming. Regardless of the circumstance, whether you’ve chosen change or not– you find yourself charged with the slippery task of transporting yourself into a different location. The truth is, we know instinctively what is right and what we need because the heart is always precise and telling, however inconvenient it may seem, so you move forward blindly!

And we buckle and bend. And if we are impatient enough we may even distort ourselves with the painful awareness of aloneness, a caricature of such great proportion! Because we’ve forgotten and instead, we settle for a living arrangement. You must never allow yourself to stay in this inexhaustible state because you will certainly turn up empty. Simply put: home can never be experienced as a mere necessity. Rather, it must become a spiritual task, a full-blown coming into being, getting acquainted with your identity.

Where do I belong? one does ask.  And this question cannot be about yesterday or tomorrow, but rather what the present moment requires.

Where do I belong, dear God? Great heavenly God embedded in the true nature of me!

Where will I be love and respond with love? Where will my life be most loving? I so much want to cherish the earth and my soul, I want to bless my whole being. I want to embrace others with kindness and well-being.

I imagine that the question is much less about with whom or for what but rather knowing your heart, knowing that when in place your heart will open up overflowing, budding in the morning and resting in evening.

Coping with Grief and Fear

I lost my husband in November after 25 years of marriage. I’ve joined a bereavement group on line and realize that there are so many people suffering. Grief and fear have always been part of the human experience but now with the virus, we are facing these emotions globally. I’m learning that emotions like grief and fear can transform into compassion with the practice of mindfulness. It is slow and painful but necessary.

Grief and fear go hand in hand. When we lose somebody, we grieve the loss of love and we also face an unknown future. Death forces us to remember our immortality and the temporary nature of all things.

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Albert Gyorgy, ‘El vacío del alma’

When your whole identity breaks apart, you feel like you no longer fit in or even trust your skin. Conversations and events seem inconsequential and we find ourselves half in and half out of the real world we live in. What can we hold on to when everything is unstable and transitory?

We’re wired to believe that life is rational and love everlasting. Our perception of our life with a spouse, however imperfect, just makes sense. There’s a reasonable sequence of events, a social function, a shared commitment. When a person dies, or there’s a traumatic event, our perception of a fixed life shatters and we feel betrayed and empty. How can this be after having invested so much time and energy? We experience the truth of the temporal nature of all things and our immortality. We begin to see that underneath the routine of the material world, there’s a powerful energy that alters our reality, that forces us to evolve. It is infinitely organic, ineffable and seemingly indiscriminate.

My husband used to say, No somos nadie, which means, We are nobody. He was right.

There is no way around death, except to go through it. Each person copes with grief and fear differently but I think everyone should expect to feel sick and crazy. It is normal to lose our moral and physical strength and sensibility. There are feelings and behaviors that people don’t like to confess, but death encourages all sorts of things like excess, escapism, unpredictability, anxiety, saying bizarre things, breaking things including people’s feelings, listlessness and selfishness.

When we embrace these adverse experiences as normal, without judgment or labels, we realize that we are simply human and that somehow out of pain and suffering, out of confronting nothingness, we are part of the universe. When we accept that we are no longer our self, that we are in fact different, we begin to give ourselves time to become reacquainted. To become balanced and compassionate.

Meditation helps. Sitting and doing just that, being with oneself in acceptance. In this case, meditation can take on the role of forgiveness. It communicates to yourself that in spite of your anger, your sickness and your craziness—you deserve to be loved and to sit in dignity and have peace.  In spite of all the ugliness and darkness, there is light and goodness in your heart and in your being. There is unconditional love and you are deserving.

I also do light yoga and running. I think we underestimate the impact our body has on our mindset and emotions. It really helps to get blood flowing, to insert air into our spine and joints, to feed our heart oxygen. Our heart requires a lot of nourishment when it’s broken.

Recently, I’ve been thinking that death leads to reincarnation for the deceased and for us, the living,  the opportunity for rebirth after all the suffering. Part of the suffering is facing heavy memories, digging up old skeletons and getting angry.  Part of letting go is forgiving ourselves and our love ones for all transgressions and recalling the loving, sentimental moments. To say, It’s okay and I’m so sorry.

I’m thinking this is a form of redemption and a transition to new life.