Val has evolved his own model of a happy and out-of-box processing of the reality with different techniques and routinized daily practices.
Solitude is a lost art in these days of ultra-connectedness.
-- Leo Babuta
Lonely Immigrants' Hearts
Over half century ago, our very first home in immigration soon started resembling a cafeteria. Friends, friendly neighbors, along with their friendly dogs -- all started frequenting our place, because "my wife was making such a good coffee."
As new immigrants, we needed company -- a lot of company, to somehow replace our big family that we left crying ten thousand miles behind. And in a sense, let's call it somewhat ironic -- the replacement was now merely the one with a lot of un-cried tears, while this bunch, all ex-immigrants from our own country, kept opening their nostalgic hearts to us.
Only that much popular Law of Attraction could possibly explain why we kept attracting those patriotically-depressed people, who, all in all didn't contribute much to our own mental adjustment to the new world.
Loneliness creeped into our heart, and I remember my wife crying as she was writing letters to her family, and "promising to come back as soon as we save enough money for plane tickets".
Well, that never happened.
Instead, we learned to adjust to that bunch of people -- beer, and song, and guitar, and jokes...all somehow helping in the process.
But, as they increasingly started to be too much to handle, we knew that such an artificial remedy to our loneliness would soon become somewhat of a burden.
And it did.
As the saying goes: "Too much of a good thing is not good", and even though we grew fond of some of that bunch, they made us "socially tired" -- more so after it became clear how they needed us much more than we needed them for a "shoulder to cry on".
From ever, I have been somewhat of a definition of an easy going dude with a natural knack for empathy, understanding, and for emotional support. And that just might have been much more of a reason for their massive coming to our place -- than was the "good coffee" that my wife was making.
Add to that my guitar and a fresh repertoire of musical hits from "back home" -- so adding to it, and we just created for ourselves enough of a crappy situation that was calling for, you know what -- a move.
And that move meant to a distant part of the city; so when we announced it, they all begged that we "don't forget to call as soon as we would get our telephone installed".
In solitude I find my answers.
-- Kristen Butler
Pleasant Surprise of Being Left Alone
For quite a period that followed, we literally enjoyed having no visitors and visiting no one. Eventually we got to know couple of families with whom we have stayed close friends into these days.
However, the above story was meant to show how having no one in life doesn't necessarily mean being lonesome. There was a whole inner process of evolving into a deep appreciation of being focused on our own intimate reality and nurturing it without the social crutches of any outside help.
And not that I didn't get that taste of nurturing solitude before in life. Even as a teenager I used to enjoy going by myself to a quiet ambient; maybe climbing the forested mountain at the edge of the city, or sitting alone by the river and just watching water pass, while philosophizing to myself about life.
And now, my wife and I had an additional opportunity for that quiet reflection, while the separation from the big family -- first being painful -- started feeling somewhat of a blessing, without having to witness anymore that constant family drama, and in so many ways, a soap opera stretching over many episodes and seasons.
A profound inner change may be initiated by requalifying loneliness into a meaningful solitude. While these two words may be synonymous, to me solitude has a more subtle, refined meaning alluding to spiritual self-experience.
In my case, after finding a spiritual joy of a silent reflection and serenity in my individual version of it, solitude provided for hours of reading, oil painting, playing with our newborn children, or just walking in the park and blending with the nature.
It's great to enjoy the company of others, and life without them wouldn't be complete. But even after some hours spent in chatting, laughing, singing along with guitars and a piano for a backup -- the time comes when it starts threatening to "become too much".
It's really all a matter of balancing, not a matter of preferring one over the other. Albeit, I must say, I never feel lonely when alone, but I may start feeling lonely in a company of others, if enough shit is being kicked back and forth. That's what never happens under my direction in my own mind.
Especially in these later years, when conversations take more of a too serious tone -- about health complaints, political garbage, and that spirit of youthfulness is replaced with an assortment of other negativities, name gossip for one.
The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.
Something with a Verdict to Stay Private
Long ago I realized how solitude would give me experiences and realizations so deep that they were simply not communicable.
I tried a few times, and it turned out to be a bad idea. It took some time and some maturing to accept the verdict that certain things, like those peak experiences of epiphanies, for example, would forever have to stay private.
Moreover, after all that marathon studious reading, I simply cultivated an inner world which would forever sound different between lips and in the ears.
These days, as I am writing and "sharing" some fragments of myself, more than ever am I aware how it's virtually impossible to bridge my world with the one of others.
There is something of self deceiving in all that -- as I am almost nurturing an unconscious dream about one or two "secret", unknown readers, who are out there reading between my lines and decoding whatever this English-as-my-second- language can't convey.
All awhile I am perfectly aware that even a Shakespearean vocabulary wouldn't do. It's in that solitude that we develop that awareness how those expressions stemming from the very essence of our cultivated soul can never be picked up in their pristine meaning, without being all colored with the mental palette of the reader.
And it's fine like that.
Writing can still be a way of blending with others on those levels which are more common to the most.
The funniest moments, though, come when someone tells me "I understand where you are coming from" -- or anything along these lines. Or when they say "I am like you".
Well, what can I say.
Solitude will forever be that moment of intimate imprisonment by a scene of a sunset in Hawaii, with those colorful skies and that intimidating magnitude of the Pacific -- all somehow finding its signature in me, which is mine alone, no matter how "similarly" others may see the same scene.
And so I have come to the end of my story.
Here, I wanted to add to it the following poem.
Solitude is where one discovers one is not alone.
-- Marty Rubin
Solitude That Nourishes and Heals
There was that time during my early start
when friends were scarce by a crazy fate
loneliness sat heavy on my friendly heart
and yet a blessing, with nothing to regret.
Wandering in this world with no compass or map
I met many characters from novels and stages
drawn to me by chance or some weird mishap
a colorful gallery of faces of all different ages.
Apparently friendly, at least by their pose
with a passing smile measured in a dose
or empty bottle that would bring us close
but not a type for a poem, more for prose.
So when I got a clue what was going on
it was like myself being in that room only
and then I quietly wished to be left alone
maybe to end up feeling much less lonely.
At other occasions compliment would come
before I discovered some cosmetic pretenses
as he would turn nothing but shallow and dumb
didn't need much more to get back to my senses.
So again, it was like me in that room only
while I quietly wished to be left alone
maybe to end up feeling less lonely.
Those times are gone, and yet I can't lie and pretend
for there are still times when that past would return
when in the middle of hosting a true good friend
reluctant to face it, but being forced to learn.
Yes, it feels like myself at my home only
while I am secretly wishing to be left alone
maybe to end up feeling so much less lonely.
Well, I hope you liked the story and the poem.
© 2022 Val Karas