FAITH MONTH: DAY 12: “Silent solitude makes true speech possible and personal. If I am not in touch with my own belovedness, then I cannot touch the sacredness of others. If I am estranged from myself, I am likewise a stranger to others.”― Brennan Manning
This one resonates with me. I know, from my many, many years of living solo and traveling solo, and being alone with myself in so many different environments and ways, that I am very comfortable with me alone.
This has been a tremendous gift to me. I have received so much benefit from the hours, days, weeks, months and years of being alone with me. It has allowed me to meditate in so many different forms and settings. I can do long retreats in centers that go on for days. I can spend quiet time walking, hiking, camping, just being. I meditate in various forms every day. I have a formal practice, a fun practice, a gardening practice, a beach-walking practice, a mountain hiking practice and many others.
How this has served me is that I have worked in a very difficult and challenging field as a therapist and counselor in treatment and mental health settings. Because I am so familiar with ME, I am really good at what I do, because I can love, honor and accept the places in others that are less than lovely. I find their broken places and do not judge but give them space in which to heal.
A lot of people try to do this work. I have met only one or two who were really good at it. I have always known I am too. This is the benefit of my 50 years of practice. It has been a great asset, because I have been able to accept the most horrifying stories and sit with them without needing to fix them. They just are what they are.
We can reframe and see everything from a different perspective, but there are some forms of mental and spiritual conditions and conditioning that are heart-wrenching to sit with. Human pain is a tough conversation, no matter how we work through it. I can identify and allow any and all of it. The healing is ALWAYS going to be in shifting the story. I would not know how to do this if I had not had so much in my personal life to learn to sit with. That is the gift. But we have to stand in the face of it, no matter what we believe about it, and stare it down…open it up and see the BS we feed ourselves and others, and move into healing…a long journey. I can see when it has happened and of course, I can see where it has NOT. Of course. Thank you forever for these gifts…may I use them wisely and with great reverence.