I have spent quite a bit of time in the land of aloneness . . . from solo missions into the mountains, to my yoga practice, to just hanging out with myself, alone time for me is familiar, delicious, and necessary for survival.
But even with practice, spending time alone … especially with your own mind … especially without constant distraction … can be challenging.
But it’s worth it.
So worth it.
Here’s why . . .
Spending time alone has brought me to some of the most rewarding and joy filled experiences of my life! Making time and space to quiet the busyness and dive within myself has taught me a lot.
Is being alone the same as being lonely?
In my experience, the feeling of loneliness implies a lack of something. It is a feeling of seeking outside of oneself to find a sense of happiness and peace. Aloneness is quite the opposite.
Aloneness is a feeling of being content in one’s own being. Aloneness is about developing a healthy and loving relationship with yourself and thus helps me find happiness and peace within.
What I find fascinating is that these two words which are so similar and often synonymous, when practiced have significantly different outcomes. This leads to experiencing and living in constant unhappiness or happiness!
Stranger still is the correlation between how the feelings of loneliness and aloneness effect our relationships with others and therefore draw people either towards us or away from us. This creates the catch 22 we find ourselves in when we feel lonely . . . we are unhappy because we are lonely, but when we are unhappy it is harder to draw others towards us because of our state of being.
So what are some simple ways to reap the benefits of aloneness by practicing enjoying spending time with oneself?
A good place to start is a simple meditation practice. This doesn’t have to involve sitting a top a mountain for months on end while chanting . . .
Practicing can be as simple as spending 5 minutes alone every day without any distractions (first thing in the morning while I’m still laying in bed and just waking is a lovely time!) and just noticing my breath.
Writing or drawing for 5-10 minutes a day in a journal (again, without distractions!) can also be wonderful – especially if I have an intention around how I would like to approach my day.
Another option is to take a short solo walk without distractions – I like doing a walking meditation where I try to focus on all of the things around me, which brings me right into the present.
People are naturally social beings, so the better relationship we have with ourselves, the more we can cultivate harmonious relationships with others. Funny how spending time alone can result in never feeling alone!