On Living Alone…

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“Cracking open the inner world again…” May Sarton

I am here, teetering on the edge of silence, skirting this world that is mostly hidden, the place where I come face to face with my ghosts. I am trembling as I write this for I have let another into this world, and, learning to love the companionship of another my solitude is more sharply felt when I return to this alone place. It makes me sad and a little teary, but I feel deeply blessed. I have lived mostly hidden from the world for years. To open the door to another is an incredible blessing and makes me feel shy and awkward, cumbersome in my aloneness, inelegant in the empty hours. I have to learn how to balance solitude and friendship, something I have never learned. I am like an animal who lives in the darkness and squints hard to adjust to the light of another bright being on the horizon, but squint I do, and move out of the shadows I must. Yesterday I went with her to the grocery store and I felt a little off kilter as though I didn’t know where to place my limbs in the air. Now I feel like giggling a little thinking about it. We went for eggs and chicken broth which we needed for our cooking, and then back home we worked companionably in the kitchen making dinner and leftovers for the days ahead. Now she is gone and I have the food and I feel sad and lost. Once you let another person enter your midst nothing is the same again, and yet most of my time is still alone. I must needs learn to balance the two.

Alone. A person alone with the company of four dogs. Rescue pugs, darling little dumplings that stay attached to me, and the company is appreciated but still does not touch the companionship I’ve found with Noni. This startles me. A real human being to talk to, to commune with, to eat meals with, and she has spent nights here in my little guest room through a tropical storm and a hurricane and a few other nights when our evenings went late and it was easier than driving home. And then to have coffee in the morning and start the day with another is such deep delight. Making coffee and setting the table for both of us makes me so happy. I don’t sit at my kitchen table when I am alone. To sit there with a bouquet of sunflowers, the half and half, the French Press and other breakfast items feels such a delight it is a deep kind of happiness I have not known in years. And how then to return to the empty hours when they have been so full? This is the new thing I must learn.

The hours alone are tinged with melancholy more often than not. My bipolar mood shifts echo loudly in the stillness and are more sharply felt than when cushioned by the needs and presence of another. I have begun to realize that I am not the solitary animal that I have long imagined myself to be. When I was married with children at home I longed for solitude and hours in the garden or sitting alone writing were the times I felt most at peace. It was only when I was really alone that I realized that solitude is a luxury of happiness cushioned by loving presences that support it. Living alone cuts deeply when there is no one in the wings, no one to hug and smile at, no one to share a meal, a conversation, a movie with, no one whose thoughts and feelings compliment your own. When I longed for solitude I wish there had been someone there to say to me, “Be careful what you wish for. Solitude cuts deep. Empty hours are not all peace and grace. Be aware what you wish for comes with a price.” And yet…

As I write this I am in my studio, light is fading fast through the windows, the dogs are asleep and dreaming around me. I am sipping a glass of wine and my fingers move fast across the keys. I am alone with my thoughts and as I share them with you I am aware that part of me needs this, wants this, still desires it, and hours spent here reading, writing, painting and planning my days are happy ones. All is not dark and lonely and lost, there is a glowing ember at the center of the hours that warms me, that lights my way. And yet, I wonder…

Am I creature that could be happy living with someone again? I have only just begun to wonder about that, and part of me longs for a partner, aches for love, the kind that comes from communion with a soul mate, but how does a woman who lives alone and rarely leaves the house meet the soul mate of her dreams? Is it a myth born of too many tears on lonely nights? Is it the desire to blanket oneself against fear and too many hours tinged with angst, or is it a real need, this human need to be with another that is natural and necessary and healthy. I don’t think we were meant to be alone. How will I continue to do this?

That is the question now? How will I continue to do this? I wonder. And it’s not that one is given the choice. What may or may not happen is beyond my control. Six months ago I could not have imagined having Noni in my life and now I cannot imagine my life without her. Little miracles happen along the way. Unexpected happiness might be around any corner. And living alone might be what life will be for me. How to balance it all, make peace with it, become comfortable in the passing hours? This is my work now, to figure it all out, to come to a peace and comfort within myself as one day passes into another. Just now I feel fearful thinking of it, but I have done it for seventeen years and I will do what I must.

The dogs are stirring. Soon it will be time to feed them. I just got a gripping feeling, fear, and trembling, but it passes with a deep breath. One day will become another. Noni will be here again later in the week. There are appointments, there is work to do. I can do it. I will be alright. I will do it all, I will begin again.

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…

Comments

  1. Maitri your words gladdens my heart. I am so in awe of you , it is difficult not unlike the first ever dance to meet someone, and see if real friendship follows. You will know in time if this is a forever friend , either way the experience can be enjoyable. Here you are experiencing your own Spring awakening when the rest of us are scurrying around like squirrels preparing for winter.

    • Thank you so much Gaeyl, you are so kind. My friendship with Noni is a wonderful friendship and I have known her more than 20 years so it is very special. We were acquaintances and then friends these last years on a more casual basis and now we are the best of friends and I just cherish her. She really brightens my world. Have a wonderful fall and winter ahead… 🙂

  2. You say ” I can do it. I will be all right. I will do it all. I will begin again.”

    What a chant, what a mantra!

    Loneliness – fullness
    joyful and down in the dumps
    circle cycling on

    xo
    ka

    xo
    ja

    • Thank you darling Ka, it IS a mantra, and I float through the hours on the backs of words, they will see me through.

      Circle cycling on indeed.

      Maitri xoxo

  3. Ah, no wonder you connected with May Sarton. Your writing is as deliciously candid and full as hers. Now Noni has come into your life in a new way. That’s something to celebrate. Our hearts are made of glass. They break easily. But they break because we risk loving, and that is something to celebrate.

    • Oh Cathryn, how very dear you are. And yes, May was a Muse and a very dear friend to me the last years of her life. I cherish her books, they, too, are friends. And yes I cherish Noni, and I cherish you. Friends come in so many ways into our lives. Thank you so much for being here, and being you, all that you are. You enrich my life for being there.

      Love,

      Maitri

  4. Olive Appleby says:

    What a beautiful blog……..people come and go, some stay longer than others. But they will always stay in our hearts and memories. You are making beautiful memories with Noni, when you feel low think about your friend and what you do together. Smile 😊 Time moves so quickly these days. You are so productive with your time, your friend will be with you sooner than you realise. It is good to have some time on your own then you appreciate the time spent with special people. We appreciate time spent with you. 💖💖💖💋

    • Thank you so much Olive for your wise words and kind comments. I do cherish the time I spend with Noni and have had a comfortable day alone with the pugs. And I appreciate your presence in my life. Thank you so much for being here dear friend.

      Blessings and Love to you…

      Maitri 🙂

  5. Lynne Joncas says:

    What is more wonderful than connection? We do need out alone time, and some of us need a lot of it, but there is something so beautiful and magical about bonding with another. I’m so glad you have found this-it truly transforms the soul as I have learned this past couple years. But yes, it does make us feel or alonenesss so much more acutely when that special soul is not with us. Bless you as you live every moment and revel in the experience of true friendship…hugs!

    • Sweet Lynne,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. We do need alone time and it is enriched by the hours spent with a loved one. It is truly, as you say, beautiful and magic. I hope you are well dear one, and your days full of blessings.

      With love,

      Maitri

  6. Terri Myszka says:

    People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Whatever the reason that old friends become new again, or why new friends enter our lives, is serendipity, embrace it all. It is exactly as it should be. Your joy is evident as you continue to delight in your new friendship with an old friend.Friendships change us, they add so much to our lives. Our expectations for ourselves also start to change, when we realize life has much to offer. Old thoughts , wants, needs start coming out of the shadows for us to embrace again. So happy for you my dear sweet Maitri. Sending gentle hugs!

    • Dearest Teresa,

      Thank you so much for your lovely words. They are true and deep. And so many things are coming out of the shadows now. Opening the door to Noni has opened the door on all manner of feelings and I am yet to discover where it will all lead, but the joy is real and I am embracing it all.

      I am sending you love and a warm gentle hug. I hope your treatments are going well. You remain in my heart and prayers…

      Love,

      Maitri

  7. “solitude is a luxury of happiness cushioned by loving presences that support it. Living alone cuts deeply when there is no one in the wings, no one to hug and smile at, no one to share a meal, a conversation, a movie with, no one whose thoughts and feelings compliment your own.”

    Oh so very very true and well said!
    I guard my alone time fiercely, but I know things would be different if no one was coming home at suppertime and I’d be alone 24 hrs instead of just 8 or 10.
    -Kate

    • Dear Kate,

      You are wise to realize the precious nature of your situation. Solitude cushioned by life with a partner or family is precious indeed and I’m glad you have that. Cherish it, for it is more precious than diamonds. I do envy you that, and am happy for you too…

      Blessings to you dear one,

      Maitri

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