The power of alone.


It is 7pm and I am still at my desk. The office is about to close.  I pack up my things and start a slow walk home. I could get a bus or taxi, but I choose to walk the 3 miles. To delay the inevitable. The journey takes me past the shopping mall. I decide to browse the department store - it is late night opening. 

I am tired. 

My legs can't take anymore, it is time to go home. 

I reach the front door, put the key in the lock and feel that all too familiar heaviness in my stomach. 

I 'make' a bowl of cereal and turn on my laptop. I fire up Facebook whilst trying to ignore the bottle of wine on the kitchen counter.  I wade through the status updates - friends out paryting, tales of date nights, engagement announcements. 

I browse my favourite blogs and lose myself in a world of Etsy shops, women breaking free from the '9-5' and setting off on their own. 

I look round my tiny apartment. I reach for that bottle of wine. 

2 glasses in and the tears start to fall. Softly at first, then pure heart-wrenching sobs. My heart literally aches in my chest. The bottle is empty, at somepoint I fall asleep on my damp pillow. 

This is 2007. 

This week is the first of several apart from Mr Lovely and the children. I won't be alone the whole time, at different points I will be with family, but this week it is mostly just me. 

I wake up and settle into a meditation, breathing deeply. I make a green tea and fire up my laptop. I  get to work on client projects, take a break for Yoga or a walk, write in my journal. I mediate some more. 

At the end of the day I climb into bed and read. 

As I close my eyes to sleep, I breathe deeply and say a silent thank you for this opportunity to turn inward. 

This is today. 

It's not that I don't miss Mr Lovely, I do, very much so. It's just that I now know that this alone time is a good thing, it is something to be cherished. 

You see, I made a choice. I chose to change my mindset. 

Instead of fear, I choose gratitude.  

I choose to respect this sacred space I am afforded and to sit with it. To be silent and still, to listen to what comes up. To feel the aloneness. Sometimes it is uncomfortable, sometimes my ego plants seeds of doubt, of fear. 

In these moments, I sit, breathe deeply and remind myself that I am safe. 

In the alone, I gain clarity. I see what I have to offer.  In the alone, I am able to let go of the fear surrounding my memories of 2007. 

I am able to trust that on my own, I am just fine. 

And I value the time spent with Mr Lovely, our family and friends even more. It means we can both come to our relationship as two whole people. It means learning to look after my needs myself. 

This is now. 

If you are reading this and you are fearful of being alone - know this....

Being alone can be joyful.  

Being afraid of being alone causes misery - the endless partying to avoid a night at home on our own, the glass (or bottle) of wine to cover up our pain, the junk food. 

Learning to be alone with ourselves can be revolutionary. 

Being alone, whether for a night or longer-term does not define you. It does not make you less worthy, it does not mean you don't matter. 

When we sit with ourselves and feel the pain, we can accept it and let it go.  It's not easy but being able to turn inward, not needing to rely on others to fill our emptiness leaves us feeling safe, secure, grounded. 

Being alone is empowering.

Do little things you enjoy - read a book, paint, get outside and move your body. Learn something new. 

Choose to view being alone as freedom. 

Further resources

The Freedom Experiment 

The Sacred alone by Susannah Conway

How to be Alone by Andrea Dorfman