Be lonely.


I am growing into a new season of my life.

It’s been happening for about a year with changes in every area of my life — my family, my business, my health.

Human beings are always changing, but this year I feel like it’s been cranked up to speed-of-light notches … yet, everything can feel like it’s in slow motion a lot of times.

What I’ve noticed more than ever in these past twelve months is that I feel a palpable sense of loneliness. I’m surrounded by people, activities and things to look forward to, but there’s something going on where I feel so lonely sometimes.

I’ve come to understand lately that the uptick in this loneliness has quite a bit to do with the fact that my oldest child just entered her last year of high school and is inching towards her launch into her own life in less than a year.

How did this happen?

I know we all express the cliche: “It happened in the blink of an eye,” but that’s a cliche because it’s true.

It’s a year away, but I still feel these pangs of sadness and urgency to slow it down. I have two “men” I’ll be with in my house when she flies — a 50 year old husband and a 10 year old son. The feminine energy will be halved. Oh, that also includes a male dog and cat : ) .

I often well up with tears when I think about it … and feel lonely. There’s something about moving towards this new era that has me looking at everything with different eyes. I am much more emotional these days and always asking myself what all of that means.

I fill up the time with work, projects, friends to meet up with, and time with my family while we’re all still within the same four walls.

I’m conscious that I might be hardwired for higher sensitivity than other people are and remind myself to be present and not wish away the time imagining the changes before they happen.

Believe me, I coach myself on this all of the time — things like being present and seeing that the changes that are happening are as much about freedom and possibility as they are about loss.

I came across the quote at the top of this post from writer Elizabeth Gilbert last week and it stopped me in my tracks.

When we feel lonely, we tend to fight with it and try to fill the space with something else or look away from it; and yet, the best thing we can do is sit with it as a means of moving through it.

The way out is through.

I don’t need to have someone or something make me feel better or make it go away. My job is to be with me and sit with it.

Sit with it.

We hear this all of the time from people like me in the mental health / personal development world.

What does it mean to “sit with” something, particularly an emotion?

For me, it’s meant being at home, in my office or even in the coffee shop and noticing that loneliness.

I write about it.

I write how I want it to go away.

I scroll through Instagram or Facebook and note that I’m filling up the space. I laugh at myself or get a little frustrated.

I move my body, and even though that loneliness is still with me, it lets the air out of it a bit to exercise — the physical acts of inhaling and exhaling.

That’s why I champion movement so much — it somehow lets you be present with something while being able to let go of it at the same time.

When I am with my clients and they are expressing their loneliness to me, my way of (hopefully) helping them sit with it is to let them express it.

When the tears come, I don’t interrupt and offer words to make them stop because I’ve found there’s often truth that needs to be spoken with the tears.

I encourage my clients to let the emotion flow even as they try to put the brakes on themselves and shake their heads saying, “I need to stop this; this isn’t like me,” because if it’s making itself know, it is a part of them.

The way out is through those pangs of sadness, despair, and yes, loneliness.

What’s on the other side?

Well, I’m still trying to figure that out for myself — I’ll let you know what that looks like personally as it happens lol.

I have to believe that I will evolve into what I witness with the people I am privileged to serve: they grow and create increments of wisdom, peace and understanding.

Inch by inch and sometimes by leaps and bounds, they find their way to a new or improved path.

Welcome to the human experience.

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