…And turn to the lesson on page one.

This morning my eyes opened directly into the bright illuminating light of life’s powerful curriculum. Put another way; lacking sufficient attention to detail I failed to turn my aquarium from ‘day’ to ‘night’ lighting before I went to bed last night (a necessary action if I hope to sleep in). I don’t easily sleep through the ‘day’ lighting, and got a rather abrupt early wake up when the lights came on this morning. I am awake, and still somewhat groggy after some yoga, some meditation, and making coffee. I needed the sleep, and would have benefited from waking up naturally when sleeping had finished. I’m awake now. I also benefit from quiet mornings writing, and studying. It’s a lovely morning that lacks any risk whatsoever of irritating someone, hearing any raised voices, having any misunderstandings, feeling imposed upon, inconvenienced, resentful, or overwhelmed, interrupting, or being interrupted. Every one of those experiences requires interaction with other people, and in these pre-dawn hours on a weekend of solitude, there are no others here but me. On the other hand, in this quiet stillness there are no hugs, no laughter, no quiet sexy smiles, no opportunities to touch, to feel connected, to share intimate words or experiences, because these, too, require interaction with another.

This morning in the stillness, awake a bit too early, feeling a tad groggy, and maybe even just a little irritable…I am also a little bit lonely. I miss the visceral experience of loving. I miss hugs and kisses. I miss smiling into the eyes of someone dear and seeing them smile back. I miss hearing conversation in the background, or from another room. I miss the joy and the delight and the fun. I can tell I am actually experiencing the feeling called ‘loneliness’ separately from the subtleties of grieving, because I am also missing being annoyed that my traveling partner forgot to empty the porto filter from his last shot of espresso, or that my generally-at-home partner left egg white drying on the counter top after making eggs (both experiences I do not enjoy). It’s sort of a given, I suppose, that when we miss events, actions, or experiences we don’t actually care for, and miss them solely because of the people they are shared with, loneliness is involved somewhere. What is the answer to loneliness? (I smile at the sudden image of a teacher at the front of the room, and my own hand shooting skyward eagerly.) I know this one! (At least for me.) The answer to loneliness is interaction, connection, engagement – with another person, sure, that’s where I’m headed with that… I like to start with me, though. The level of intimacy I am capable of as a person has a direct correlation to how connected I am with myself, with my needs, with what I want most to share and experience.  “γνῶθι σεαυτόν”  (I don’t read Greek, but I find the words prettier to look at in that language. lol) Or “Gnothi seauton” – Know thyself. Yep. How can I share who I am if I don’t know myself? Loneliness is slippery that way. There are a lot of quotes about being lonely in a crowded room.

Know thyself...

Know thyself… a distant moment of reflection revealed in an old photograph.

I used to feel much lonelier with people than alone.  That’s not true of who I am now.  I don’t know with certainty that this change in my experience has a direct connection to feeling differently about myself, and taking care of my own emotional needs as a priority. I know that the more accepting and compassionate I have learned to become of myself, the less generally irritating “humanity” seems. (For a truly predictably generally shitty experience of life, few things beat finding the whole of humanity unpleasant in some way; the implied self-loathing never lets up for a moment.)

I don’t find this somewhat lonely moment of morning tragic in any way. I’m not yearning for a different experience. I don’t feel moved to change this moment even a little bit; I honor love and my loves to miss them in this moment, and recognizing their absence – even the absence of small human bits that aren’t their best qualities – simply reminds me how much they matter in my experience day-to-day. It’s loneliness, more than Loneliness. I am content with feeling the feeling, without intervening or acting on it.

unfinished canvas - where inspiration meets action.

unfinished canvas – where inspiration meets action.

This morning I will be in the studio, and because so much of the painting I do is driven by emotion, and enjoyed through movement, really any feelings at all are welcomed, if only for the opportunity to express them wordlessly. Grief. Loneliness. Heartfelt yearning for something just out of reach. Love. Devotion. Surrender.  (Yes, the linked track is on my playlist when I paint.) I got the art of it ‘right’ years ago, before I understood that I needed to bring that sense of compassionate inclusion and acceptance to my own heart, not just the canvas in front of me.

Today is a good day to feel the feelings, and to make the best possible choices regardless of those. Today is a good day to be kind to someone having a tough time, even if that someone is our own self. Today is a good day to share a favorite song, to celebrate love, and to enjoy each precious moment however insignificant. Today is a good day to take a deep breathe and let the small stuff go. Today is a good day to change the world.