On Being Alone
Recently, I've been reflecting on spending time alone. It's something I'm very comfortable doing at this point in my life, but it hasn't always been that way. As with everything in life, it has been a process.
I went on my first solo camping trip in Maine a few summers ago. I remember feeling very unsettled as I got started and set up my tent and adjusted to my surroundings. Then I sat on the beach by myself for hours with only my book and journal as companions. I meditated, staring into the sinking sun and the endless ocean stretching out before me. I felt peaceful and open and relaxed - and this feeling continued for the rest of my time there!
Last fall, I traveled to Scotland for two weeks on my own. I'd traveled in Europe alone before, but not in over a decade so I was definitely nervous. Honestly, though, as soon as I got on the plane and started the journey on my own, I was able to relax and truly enjoy the time as a solo-adventurer. I ended up spending the majority of my time participating in group retreats on Iona and Mull but traveled around on my own before and after those experiences. I loved every second of it.
Last weekend, I went on my first solo backpacking trip. It was to a spot I'd been hiking before and stayed overnight with a friend once, so I was somewhat comfortable starting out. Still, there was some trepidation going into the wilderness totally alone. I just kept thinking as I hiked in 2.5 miles to my destination of a breathtaking cliff overlooking the Green Mountains and Adirondacks looking west - I have everything I need within me (and on my back). And it was true, of my journey that day and of my larger journey of life.
With each of these experiences, I found a new edge of my comfort zone and had to push beyond it. It wasn't always pleasant or easy. Actually, I've found that when I can notice the resistance that inevitably comes up when I lean into fear, I can push past it to the other side - which opens up new possibilities, new learnings about myself, and new levels of expansiveness and joy. This is ultimately what I'm going for!
As I'm working with women on self-care and creating space for themselves to sink into inner work, peace, and relaxation, I'm hearing that one of the most surprising things for them after they spend a weekend alone is how much they like being alone. It's not something they need to be afraid of. It's something they want to build more of into their lives!
And I truly believe when we give ourselves space to open, to relax, to enjoy, to simply be - without the demands of family, work, friendships, etc - a lot of beauty and depth can unfold. I'm committing to finding the new, evolving edge of my comfort zone and sinking into that space - alone and with others.
Tell me - where's your edge? Do you like being alone? I'd love to hear from you!