Sometimes I think we have lost the ability to just “be” with ourselves. If we don’t use the time alone to the greatest advantage, it goes away, and is no longer there for the taking. One can view ‘alone’ and ‘lonely’ as two different but equally interesting concepts. Perhaps there have been times lately that you have felt a bit lonely while being with others.
Conversely, perhaps you’ve felt strong and happy with yourself while you were alone, maybe even during self-imposed isolation due to COVID-19. Those opposite-sounding feelings are perfectly natural. Confusing, too. We are programmed to think that being alone is equal to loneliness, and that’s just not the case. We can figure out what lifts us up, makes us feel whole & unafraid, and make an inner plan to put into practice what we find.
In Roman mythology, Veritas is the goddess of truth. The Latin word “veritas”, derived from the Roman concept of truthfulness, can also be used as a motto by, for example, universities, such as Harvard University. Veritas is also the motto of the Dominican Order of the Roman Catholic Church.
Sayings such as “The truth will set you free” and “To thine own self be true” are often seen as signs of positivity and gentle urging to be honest with yourself about your inner feelings. The feelings you may be having, such as anxiety, depression, annoyance, frustration, etc., all lead you to true inner awareness of YOU. To acknowledge inner feelings is an exercise vital for your growth and development, as well as your emotional and mental health.
Given the situation we are in with the current pandemic, then isolationism, loneliness and almost an agoraphobic feeling can, understandably, emerge for many. How do we turn some of those things around, allow ourselves to be lifted up, and to see a clearer & more happy future? The truth about who you are, how you approach the day, and plans for the future should be uppermost on your mind these days.
Below are several strategies to enhance your ability to reframe some of the feelings you may have experienced during this time. You probably have the time to try a few of them. See what you think:
- Take solace in nature. When was the last time you hiked, or took a long walk? Think about where you can walk that is beautiful and accessible. Taking solace, like taking your own counsel, can allow you to quietly practice self-talk which is helpful upon making an important decision. There’s that ‘truth’ again, as only you know what’s really bothering you. It takes courage to look at it, acknowledge it, and then to act.
- There are many definitions for the concept of spirituality. In a non-religious sense, try to grasp your own way to define your feelings about spirituality. Maybe you can see nature as spiritual because of her unexplained beauty, such as the mysterious way in which the Mississippi River runs north to south and back again. If you recognize that perhaps there is something larger than yourself, i.e. nature, you can then use that sense to activate your hope. It’s a quiet process, and can be valuable.
- Mindfulness can be a meditative process that is practiced regularly and with positivity. The act of meditating may occur with purpose and focus, where you can attempt to isolate your thoughts for a time that you choose, in a place that is also your choice. Quiet time is vital to strong ego strength and emotional wellness. It is not difficult to find time. It may be difficult for some to use that time, and adopting a mindful period just for you. That’s also why being truthful about your inner feelings, even if they make you a bit uncomfortable, is important. As you allow your thoughts/feelings to come to the surface and resound in your heart, focus on that moment and the feelings.
- Sleep. One model of Eastern health and wellness, Morita Therapy, embraces the concept of slowing down, literally resting in bed. That comes loosely from a Buddhist belief about slowing the heart, the brain, and sometimes consciousness. Of course, that doesn’t always fit our Western therapeutic or religious focus, as we like to have people be active, interactive, and dedicated to a goal. The idea of rest, however, or shall I say sleep, is an accepted way to lift yourself into feeling positive. We hear a lot about restorative sleep. Look at your sleep patterns, and try to adjust for the amount of rest you feel you need, possibly more or less than what you are currently getting. If it isn’t more sleep, then more rest. “Rest” can be reading, listening to music, drawing or painting. Rest means not having so much on the mind. It’s a good strategy.
Use whatever you can to help in your progress to feel good, whatever that looks like to you. Talk about some of the scarier emotions that may come forth. Have a Zoom date, sit on a balcony or in your yard in the sun. Walk, sing, paint. Praying works for some, very well. You are in charge, and if you can consider some of the suggestions, who knows what you’ll find in your own head or your own heart?
Enjoy the rest of September. Let’s move on to Fall and see how that goes.