by Anne Malatt, Australia
I used to think I had to be alone to be myself.
When I was with others, I was always trying to fit in with them, calibrating myself to them, measuring myself to make sure they (and I) were comfortable.
I was an expert at this, but it could get confusing. I was such a chameleon that I could not be with more than one of my friends at a time, for I was a completely different person with each one of them!
I have always enjoyed my own company. When I am with myself I get to do as I please, how I please, when I please. I don’t have to fit in with anyone, and no-one argues with me!
I have spent much of my life trying to be alone, working hard to make sure relationships failed, working extra-hard at work and at home, all to make time to be on my own. When my children were little, I was a single working mother, and this was quite difficult to do! I would spend my whole day in motion, just doing what I had to do to get through the day, so I could be with myself at the end. I felt like I was always trying to get away from people, even my adorable children.
I have come to realise that I do not have to be alone to be with myself, to be still.
I have come to realise I was running away from reflections I did not like to see; from parts of me I did not love; from behaviours that I did not want to look at, let alone change.
I have come to learn to let people in, to allow them to be part of my world, to share myself with them, to see what they have to show me, so that I no longer have to run from them.
I have come to learn that we are all equal, all one, and that what I see before me is there for a reason, for me to observe and to learn from.
Having said all this, many of these understandings, insights, revelations, came to me in the early hours of the morning, when I was alone with myself.
Having finally learnt to go to bed early and rise early, I found what I had always been searching for – a moment of aloneness, silence, stillness, to be with myself, to deeply connect with myself and with God.
From that connection, that living stillness, that love that I am and that we all are, I can move through my day with grace – in stillness, but never alone.