Monday, December 21, 2009

The "L" Word

The temperature has plummeted. It was -28 C when I woke up yesterday morning but that didn't stop me from going on the cardio walk I've committed to once a week. I bundled up despite the cold and headed out to brave the weather.

It was probably around 10 a.m. when I reached the top of the cliffs that overlook this fair city and the sun had not yet risen above the mountains. The sky was a palette of pastel colours and I watched a plane take off and head into the orange and pink wash.

From there I slid down a steep and snowy bank on my butt and headed into one of the local churches for a carol-singing service. Who could have asked for a better morning?

But I was not in tune with the goodness of it all. I found myself feeling extremely irritable during the service. Cranky pants. Judge Judy. Grrr.

Thank goodness I had a phone call scheduled with one of the gals on my support team upon my arrival home. She asked me if I was tired. Fatigue can bring up fear, which is inevitably at the core of these kinds of feelings.

No, I wasn't tired. I'd had a good sleep and plenty of rest during the preceding days. What was I fearful about? I listed a couple of issues that could be triggering fear-based thinking and we talked through them. It helped but there was still another piece missing.

Have you heard of HALT? It's an acronym that can help us sort out what's going on with us if we're feeling off. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Often, if I'm experiencing fear, it can be attributed to one of these states.

Hating to admit it, I knew it was the "L" that was kicking my butt. Lonely. Ugh. I said to my friend, "It absolutely kills me to own up to this but I am feeling lonely."

Being on the healing path, I often think that I shouldn't still experience things like loneliness. My friend deferred. "I'm often shocked to find out I'm still human," she said.

Why is it so hard to admit that I feel lonely?

Because the perfectionist in me tells me there's no excuse for it anymore. I've got faith in a Higher Power, I have friends and supporters and community and family. If I'm lonely I'm obviously doing something wrong.

Wrong. If I'm lonely I'm human. Shocking.

Episodes like this are humbling. And boy do they teach me a lot.

It's like when I began developing the Cultivate Your Courage workshop and felt huge fear leading up to the very first one. My same friend said, "Don't you think it's just a little bit funny that you're about to lead a workshop on walking through your fear and you're terrified to do it?"


But she was right. It was funny. It also turned out to be my best teaching tool. I wasn't going in there as an expert on courage. I was going in there as an expert on overcoming fear.

This loneliness I'm experiencing can be viewed as a similar instrument of connection between us. If you tell me you're lonely I can truly empathize with you. I will have compassion and understanding for your experience because I know it so well myself. We can be equals.

After I got off the phone I left the house and went to meet some friends. Then I went for tea with another friend and shared the truth about how I was feeling. We laughed and related and inspired each other. Later in the evening, I went to a holiday party and sang my heart out. The music was uplifting and the company stimulating.

The ache that loneliness brings was eased by my willingness to be open and real with others. It hasn't completely left me but it's okay. It will.

Inspiring Message of the Day: If I'm too heavenly, I'm no earthly good. To be lonely is to be human. To be human is divine.

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