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.
612 thoughts on “Stillness and Aloneness”
Beautiful Anne. I was pondering on how people say they hate people or they’re not a people person, but if that was a universal truth, hating people would work and as we have seen by wars, separations, fighting, competition, jealousy, illness and disease etc. it most definitely I’m sure we can all say does not and has never worked! Therefore, this line is more apt on what we are avoiding, “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.”
There’s much we can learn about ourselves if we open up to reflecting on how we are with other people…
Beautiful Anne, in the stillness we feel we are enough for we know are all.
This shows just how important it is to have the reflection of others to learn more deeply about ourselves and what we can focus on to be more loving in all our relationships.
Love this prompt to go within and look at what we’re not willing to see, or be reflected, when we’re around others. So easy to blame another for not being or behaving how we would like them to, instead of fully accepting them for where they’re at, letting go of our own needs of how we want others to be, and fully embracing and maximising all the learning that is on offer, in every moment.
No one is ever truly alone, a wall made of bricks and paper does not constitute a separation, only a marker of land. In truth we are all connected all of the time because we are all human, and what stands between us in material terms cannot ever actually separate us in the energetic factors of life.
Being alone to escape your day and being alone to be you will feel totally different. One just keeps looking for the escape and the other brings more connection to you, others and God.
Beautiful Anne. Living with people, not needing to be alone, and when you are you on your own you don’t feel alone. We are never alone when we feel God is with us.
When I was constantly trying to gauge how other people needed me to be it was exhausting and I craved time on my own to recover. Since re-connecting to my inner stillness I am out in the world being me and not worrying how others respond or not and I love it. For me the key has been to build on my inner stillness so that I can be steady whatever or whoever is around me.
The blog communicates such an important theme, that we may crave time alone because we need space to just be ourselves, which can also highlight that we are pressuring ourselves to be different with others placing an unnecessary strain on ourselves. Life is so simple when we can just be ourselves.
Building our inner stillness creates a strong foundation, and as you mention Helen, whatever life presents to us, we are more than equipped to deal with it. More and more I am beginning to embody how much we are truly loved and held.
‘I have come to realise that I do not have to be alone to be with myself, to be still.’ Well said Anne, to grace everyday life with stillness – beautiful.
I spent many years being on my own, but this was an escape from the world and kept me very safe and protected from others, not to mention how exhausting this was. Learning to drop this protection and let others in has been a game changer for me and has allowed me to feel a deeper connection with myself and others, this is something I always craved but hadn’t chosen for myself because of the hurts I was carrying.
It’s interesting reading everyone’s comments, it seems that our problems with being alone or being with other people stem first from our relationship with ourself, and if we get that right then while we will always be learning both situations are experienced in a completely different light.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be alone but if that’s all we want then it’s not so great. For me, there is so much evolution on offer with others. For example, I love living on my own. It’s easy yet there is little evolution on offer – I can stay where I am and have things as I like them. Living with others I am constantly challenged and offered reflections. I have to look at my stuff, my reactions, how I am and so on. More and more I’m discovering what people have to offer me and whilst it may seem easier to be on my own, I far prefer evolution.
I agree, life is naturally designed to help us grow and other people are a massive part of that, essentially – we’re all here to help each other.
” I can move through my day with grace – in stillness, but never alone.” when we are in connection with our selves we are never alone, in being connected to our inner heart we are connected to everyone.
This is familiar trap for many, “I just want my ‘me’ time” “my alone time”. We often spend all day not being ‘us’ going through the motions, until we have these moments where we are ourselves. It’s quite a pressure we put on ourselves when we live like this, as it is not how we are designed to be. We are designed to be naturally ‘full of ourselves’ and to bring that everywhere we go. Just look at children and newborns – they live it in full. It is a source of much tension for this human race.
Being and holding my true self in a crowd is something that I am constantly learning. I can feel a little trigger that could topple me into a reaction when my environment is jarring, but trying to be alone when we are actually all totally inter-connected is a much harder task, well actually, impossible.
Well said Linda, the many reflections around us are beautiful opportunity’s that support us to truly evolve.
‘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.’ Such a beautiful reminder Anne, there is nothing more exquisite than feeling the deep stillness we can all connect to.
I realised recently how much I measure relationships, I am open when I feel it is safe and then not as open when I have stuff going on, this lack of consistency has an impact on the quality of my relationships because people become a little wary never knowing what they are going to get with me. I can then think it is others who are keeping their distance, when in truth, I set it up.
Letting others into my life and allowing myself to be me with them has been huge and life changing. The more I let others in, the more I see how we are so much more alike than different, and my life has become richer for it.
Trying to fit in with others by being a chameleon is very tiring, as is being in constant motion. I used to feel I was more worthy or deserving according to the amount of things I achieved in a day. Connecting to my inner stillness gives everything a different starting point, and I get to stay with myself while I am living my day.
I too became very good at fitting in with people, which was totally exhausting as I was never myself, I have come to realise that by just being with myself allows others to be themselves too, and I am no longer exhausted by pretending to be someone I’m not.
It is not surprising that the counterpart of being alone as in “doing as I please, how I please, when I please” is pleasing others when I am not alone. These are different manifestations of the same outward movement.
True Eduardo and something I recognise from how I have been living, it was the reward of not being myself but never fulfilling in anyway.
I love having this rhythm of early to bed and early to rise in my daily life – it makes space for that stillness and re-connection with God that was unavailable when diving into bed exhausted and crawling out of bed having overslept.
‘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.’
This has given a great insight into different reasons for choosing to be alone and separate from others.
“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”.
So true Stephanie for the quality of relationship we have with others is a direct reflection of the quality of relationship we have with ourselves.
Great point about running away from the reflections of others.. from what we don’t want to see about them, or ourselves. When we’re feeling lonely in a group of people, it’s basically a simple reflection of not feeling connected to ourselves. When we’re in a group and feel alone because everyone else around us is doing something or talking about something that we can’t connect to, it’s a weird feeling, but not the same as loneliness. Great reminder that to be connected is to simply be ourselves, and to enjoy it – and that it’s a choice in every moment.
We are never alone truly, as even if we are physically alone, we are still connected to all around us.
I have found life is back the front in many ways and upside down. This is another one of them, the fact that I always was looking for time off, time out and time to myself. You would move the day, the week and even your entire life around to get to the point of having all of these things when you want them. What I have found now is that at any time, anywhere I can be with myself, it’s a true connection I was looking for and I can have this as I said anytime and anywhere and what’s more with anyone. The true connection isn’t dictated to by what goes on the outside, it’s all about what you feel inside. Life has changed so so much since the outside is just seen as a reflection or an expression of what you hold inside.
The early hours of the day are precious to me too, as then I experience a connection with a clarity that make life to me so much more profound than it used to be in the past. As from that connection there comes the knowing to be part of something so much more grand than I have ever felt before.
I love how you bring it back and say that most of these revelations have come to you in the early morning hours when you were alone. And not because of the aloneness but because you were being truly with you.
Stillness in the body is not something that a lot of people have experienced, but it is clear many search for with meditation and yoga being huge in our society (but almost always not delivering). The Gentle Breath Meditation offers an experience of stillness within a few minutes, and thenceforth that true experience is known.
I used to think I had to be alone to be myself. I used to think this also Anne, but the truth is, you can be so called alone, but still not choose to be present with yourself, so your actually not alone because all of those people in your head are keeping you company, and it’s not always the nicest company.
Anne, I love the way you express, always so real yet so gentle. And you are correct, I can definitely feel how connection to stillness allows me to feel myself whilst being with others. It’s the best of both worlds for, as you say, there is great merit in ‘alone’ time as much as there in ‘with others’ time.
Even though I can get annoyed by what I observe and what is in front of me to learn from, I would not change it for anything…. the awareness and understanding I can walk away with is gold.
It’s funny I spent a lot of my life doing things for others and not really connecting with them, it was something I did to be seen and recognised but in truth I never really enjoyed spending time with others preferring to be by myself when I could. I now love connecting with all people and when I feel the stillness in my body in the way I move it fills me with joy and a deeper understanding for others and life is so much more enjoyable as I don’t have anxiety running my life. Appreciating our natural expression and the stillness we hold allows us to deeply connect with others equally and to observe and learn in all opportunities we encounter. Thank you Anne.
I can relate to this a lot. Running around trying to do everything for the end goal of eventually being able to slump on the couch or just be on my own once I’ve attended to all matters. I’ve realised though, that it’s a silly game that doesn’t work and living in that way is so exhausting as the ‘me time’ isn’t rejuvenating in any way at all because there is no quality in it.
‘in stillness but never alone’ … I love that Anne, and what you share here is deeply valuable, we have these mirrors around us all the time the people in our lives and of course how we are with us and with God determines how we are with them. And I’m now considering how when I react to those around me, it’s something in me I don’t want to look at … this will be useful to know and observe some more in my day to day life, I can feel I will have fun with this!
“in stillness, but never alone.” when we are in stillness it allows an awareness that God is always with us.
This I now know to be true Mary –
‘when we are in stillness it allows an awareness that God is always with us’.
And we know the difference between running away to avoid evolution and saying ‘No’ to that which does not support us. There is a vast difference and it is down to us to discern that which is true.
‘I used to think I had to be alone to be myself.’ I used to relish my ‘me time ‘ for that very reason and had no trouble at all being by myself . Now I adore and feel so much more open to people – not just friends but any one I meet.
I find myself back here again! Always a pleasure to read this and a valuable reminder of the chatter that can tell us we need more alone time when in fact our bodies are calling for more connection.
Yes Lucy, something that I particularly see with teenagers and can remember being the same way. Believing that we only want to be alone because we are then ‘left alone’ but in truth we are craving connection and openness.
It’s so true Anne, the more we calibrate to others the less we are of ourselves.
If we have spent much of our life avoiding being still, which many of us have done, stillness will at first bring up all that has been lurking around us that we’ve not been wanting to feel. We feel the unsettlement we’ve been living with, the anxiousness, and beneath that the immense sadness of missing ourselves. Feeling alone is normal when this comes up, but if we let ourselves go deeper and allow all these emotions that have been buried to come up, we very quickly feel the warmth that lies beneath – the warmth of our connection. It is this inner warmth that nurtures our entire being. And then we realise we can be alone, never be left out in the cold, because we have come back to our true home – the love that resides within us and is us, that we melt into when let ourselves be still.
“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.” So every moment in life is one of learning and becoming more aware of oneself and everything around us.
It is fairly early in the morning reading this blog and I also appreciate the stillness that is present in me while the day wakes up. And while I read what you share the kookaburras are having a wonderful sing along, confirming that the joy of now, the lovely stillness and simplicity that is present is my choice to hold through the day.
On reading your blog this morning Anne I was particularly struck by what you have expressed here. What a beautiful learning to share with us, thank you;
“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”.
Knowing that connection with God and growing that is everything to me. This has been my guiding Light within. The more I confirm this within myself the more it is reflected back to me.
When one is truly still after not having been for a very long time, one is often hit first by grief. That is a common experience. To feel alone is when one has stopped for long enough to be free of the busy momentums of their day, but has not yet re-connected to their essence. And it is the latter ability that we have lost touch with most of all.
Moving through our day in stillness, but never alone; what a beautiful reflection to take into the day Anne, thank you.