Embracing Aloneness

I enjoy being alone. I’ve gotten used to it by now.

With two adult children leading their own busy lives, this is just how my life is. Being alone most of the time.

But because I come from a big family myself, sometimes I can’t help feeling lonely.

I still long for company at mealtimes, or when I feel a conversation with another human being is more palatable than talking with my plants, or the occasional lizard that makes itself visible to me.

This reminds me. Lizards are such friendly creatures. They mean no harm when they jump at you. You only scare them. That’s why.

A lizard can recognize you as somebody familiar – and if it knows you are not out to harm it, will even greet you when it sees you. How? It looks you straight in the eye; does not run away from you. It even inches closer to you — all because it knows it’s safe with you. You are a friend.

Going back to being alone, I find ways to balance the need for companionship by staying connected with family and friends. Plus the fact I still have a myriad of things to do to occupy my hours with.

I remember taking photographs of lizards in the house, and one lovely creature at a mall. You see, I feel like I’ve developed a special bond with these quiet beings that they’ve become among my willing subjects!

Truth is I do feel really lonely at times, but I just amuse myself in that way. Soon my loneliness dissipates; I’m back again to savoring my alone-time, and embracing my aloneness.

With that said, being alone doesn’t necessarily make you feel lonely. But this can also be hard for some, I understand, like parents who have to deal with the empty-nest syndrome, for example.

So here comes the value of having your own life. Of keeping your own circle of friends.

Of dreaming and fulfilling your goals; of pursuing your own interests and passions.

Carve your own life.

Most of all, do Not become too dependent on others for your personal happiness. Sounds harsh?

Think again.

If you are able to embrace your aloneness, you become stronger. Instead of depending too much on others for becoming happy, you can draw upon your interior strength and joy.

Do not define yourself as being somebody for another one – that is, you are not just a daughter, nor a sibling, nor a wife or a mother – to the point of losing your own identity.

Do not limit yourself to the roles you’ve designated for yourself, or to the expectations society has of you. You are your own person.

On the other hand, you may have company, but if you are just like a moving shadow to people around you, then that must be quite hurtful. Have you ever experienced being treated this way?  It can happen. You may or may not have a role in it. Not everything can be under your control, too.

The point is, you need to grow from your need to be with people around you. You should learn to appreciate your solitude. As one apt quote says: “But many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” 

To sum up, you can be alone without being lonely. You can find ways to still remain happy and fulfilled just being by your lonesome. Accept being alone, and become enriched by your new experiences.

 

 

Cherished Habit

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts.” –Soren Kierkegaard

I like this quote…how it sounds like and resonates with my idea of being able to relax, with nothing in mind, but just being in the moment -without even having to think about finding myself.

Especially since I have moved into a community where walking is inescapable. Almost everything I need is within short walking distance. This makes me imagine I am in another place. Not that I do not appreciate this place. In fact, it makes me appreciate this place even more because of the image it conjures for me ~~ that of New York, my fantasy place.

I also like the idea I can walk at leisure, but I can only do so when running errands <laugh>

Thus to “have walked myself into my best thoughts” while am sitting or quietly doing my tasks in an ordinary busy day, is a habit I cherish.

Thinking while in motion, and going deep into myself while I’m absorbed in a physical task is what I do best. It is where my most creative ideas come through.

Yet from time to time, I yearn to walk – to truly walk at leisure – enjoying the spots I pass through — to dive into the moment, so that I do not have to go inside myself, but to be with the outside world. In that case, I become more attuned to myself.

There is a need for me to balance between motion and stillness moving from my inner self to the world outside, or conversing with the many thoughts running in my mind. That is how I get my energy and purpose — be able to get hold of myself for now — when I immerse into my thoughts or my feelings or relishing the different emotions, as I enjoy watching the people or spots I  pass by.

These days, as I do my errands, I walk with purpose, taking note of what is going on at the moment.

But I need to be mindful; otherwise, I tend to forget. To avoid this, I make a list or a note to myself. Then I can just abandon myself to the moment, as I shift from one task to another, from one errand to another.

Given a chance, I’d love to walk long distances as well, where there is nature beckoning. Just like in the books or movies. So sad I do not live near a park.

 

This post is a response to the weekly writing prompt by Ms.Laura Davis, through her site, The Writer’s Journey Roadmap

 

“I’m Busy Now”

How many times have you received this response from someone you’ve been counting on – for company, or support, or a listening ear? Perhaps not just once, and most likely, you might have also given such response to someone you want to fend off.

Yes. This is often the lame excuse we give anyone who we deem as a burden on our time. Most of us are guilty of doing this – rebuffing someone.

For example, I’ve been hearing a lot of this lately, as I’ve been trying to invite friends to our business presentations in the office. And as expected, this would be a natural response especially from those who have outdated notions of what a business networking is all about. So even before getting ahead and hoping to change a few mindsets about this kind of business, and the exciting opportunities our company has, all I often get is “I’m busy for now.” I don’t mind, of course. I do that too, to others wanting my undue attention for things I have little interest.

Yet, it sorts of makes me uncomfortable as well, when I approach the same people, but for a different purpose. Now, that kind of response – being too busy, whatever… is somehow a disturbing thought.

As we come to think of it, there’s always something to be busy about in our day-to-day life. Many things are indeed essential for us to pay attention to. For most of us, we do not really run out of things to be busy about.

The question is whether our busyness contributes to our growth as a human person, or diminishes our humanity.

Are the things that keep us busy meaningful for our lives, for our relationships?

You can easily know how much meaning you give to others, or your place in others’ lives when “I’m busy” or worse, “I’m too busy” becomes the normative response.

This quote on priorities by Dr. Steve Maraboli strikes at the very point of my message:

When someone tells you they are too “busy” … it’s not a reflection of their schedule; it’s a reflection of YOUR spot on their schedule.

Other quotes worth pondering:

It’s not about “having” time. It’s about making time.

A person being “too busy” is a myth. People make time for the things that are really important to them. – Mandy Hale

Think about it then. How do you relate to others, especially to people who count on you the most? And how do you feel on the receiving end of being less of a priority in someone’s life or time?

Times when all someone needs is a little time to be heard, for emotional or moral support. Perhaps if we put ourselves in another’s shoes, it will be easier to give a little bit more time, a little bit more of ourselves for the other person. Then this world will be a better place each time.

 

 

 

On a Sunday Morning

I go to have brunch at one of my favourite hangouts, right after church. Being Sunday, the small resto which serves breakfast meals 24/7 is filled and people keep trooping in. Diners already taking their meals do not seem to hurry.

I order an egg & mushroom omelette meal, a mug of brewed coffee, plus a slice of tuyo. As I wait, I become a bit self-conscious, as I didn’t bring my mobile phone to keep me company.

Perhaps, that’s one use of cell-phones – it keeps you from looking bored, boring, or like a pathetic sore thumb. Having one with you creates a safety net around you, keeping at bay unwanted intruders, or lets you blend with the rest of the nameless faces around you, all attached to that ubiquitous gadget in their hands.

So I let my eyes wander unobtrusively around the small confines of the café: a family just finished with their breakfast and soon leaves. A couple takes their place, locking themselves in an intimate chat with each other. To my left, a family of three is taking their sweet time. At the farther end of the room, another family squeezes themselves into the tiny corner, begin to peruse the menu, place their order, and start to converse animatedly.

In a short while, the family of three, perhaps aware of the growing number of customers coming in, gives way to a group of young cheerful friends. More diners stride in, some still drowsy from sleep – this café being inside our residential complex; others from the same community Mass earlier.

It’s a typical family day in this cozy nook, its ambience made warm, almost homey, by its dainty pastel-colored country-style décor and layout, combined with the aroma of appetizing food wafting from the small kitchen.

Despite being crowded at the moment, quiet engulfs the space amid the soft chattering of voices, and occasional clattering of utensils against plates.

In an instant, my eyes spot a man, all by himself, talking on his phone. He too waits for his order to be served. Shortly, his companion arrives. Looks like his wife. He acknowledges her arrival, but remains hooked to his phone.

Their meals are brought, but obviously, the man isn’t done yet with his call, nor has any intention of cutting it. As they commence eating, the man continues paying more attention to his friend at the other end of the line, rather than to the person in front of him.

I feel upset. I think how rude, inconsiderate, disrespectful of him to ignore her throughout their shared meal. Here she is having a meal together with her hubby at that small round table, yet the distance between them must be wide. I’m just imagining of course. She may know who the other person is, and the nature or urgency of that phone conversation?!? So she may understand. And it’s okay with her I guess.

The group of friends nearby are each on their phones, too, while talking or sharing a laugh or two. They seem to – well really enjoy each other’s company, even though their eyes are glued on the screen of their phones.

As with the rest of most people nowadays – this is a common scene, be it at home, at work, in the malls, or elsewhere.

One video comes to mind – that of a dolphin undersea who goes up to a diver, takes his hand, to rub his belly. We are used to domestic pets doing this. The point is, even animals yearn for interaction from humans, but humans are getting more and more inclined to create, enjoy virtual relationships – through their electronic gadgets.

What an utter sad, wrong way of using technology. Our mobiles/laptops/tablets/computers are meant to augment – never to replace or destroy — our face-to-face interactions. You hear of family members, texting each other, even though they are just there in their home. You see them eating together, almost mechanically because some seem more attentive to their phones than on the food, totally oblivious of their moms or dads or siblings.

Back in my time, our elders used to remind us, “Eating is like praying.” Sadly, the sacredness of family time today is marred by the intrusion of these electronic gadgets. Many families no longer communicate on a deeper, intimate level.

Communication gadgets are without doubt helpful in times of emergency, and when we are separated by physical distance from the important people in our lives.

Yet, how can strong, meaningful relationships ever thrive when communication is driven solely by technology? Where have good table manners gone? Well, just some food for thought, folks.

Oh, here comes my breakfast now. I’m asking for an additional order of fried garlic rice because I forget they serve two slices of buttered toast to go with the omelette. Hmmm, not good with the tuyo.