Recently, I posted about loneliness, connection and an informal survey I had conducted. At the time I sent out that survey, I had been practicing something I call Intentional Aloneness. I had taken a day away from the normal flow of work and driven about 90 minutes into the country. I was at a campground but midweek during the summer. It was practically empty. I spent the day alone in nature, on purpose. Last weekend, I joined a community of searchers and together we went into nature to be alone, our individual selves communing with nature.
Being alone can be scary. Sitting quietly with your body, your mind, your thoughts, your feelings. Doing nothing, just being. The thought of doing this may mortify some people.
Will it be easy? No
Will there be distractions? Yes, possibly many!
Will it be worth it? Yes, more than you know.
These two experiences were non agenda time with myself, time that I was intentionally spending, doing nothing, except being with self, cultivating intimacy with self. I had no expectations except to just be and notice. I mentioned last week that intimacy is a dance of moving towards or moving away and choosing the direction of our movement. I was choosing moving towards myself. I believe that intimacy should start with self. This is the beginner level. When you practice self love, self acceptance, self approval, and consciously and intentionally spend time with self, you will be better able to negotiate relationships with others.
I realized that I have spent a lot of time alone since March 2020. I joked that I felt like a Tibetan monk living in a mountain cave at times during the COVID lockdown. I told myself that I would make good use of the time alone so that I emerged on the other side, stronger, wiser, better equipped to do the work. But I did not realize at the time that I was also practicing periods of intentional aloneness. At some times, I felt very lonely. At other times I felt I was immersing myself in learning and different ways of doing to avoid just being with self. Eventually, I found times of quiet reflection and presence with self.
What am I saying? Choose today to spend time with yourself in intentional aloneness. Even if being alone and sitting with your thoughts feels scary, brave it through. Set aside distractions that may come up to pull you away from self. Move towards yourself today. Love yourself. Accept yourself. Approve of your self. Honor your self. Value your self. Begin to make this a daily habit of spending time with yourself, just being, and most importantly, be your self.