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Loneliness v. time alone

Posted Feb 05 2010 2:10am

I am reading a wonderfully nurturing book right now by Abby Seixas called ‘Finding the Deep River Within: Gentle Wisdom for Women in a Hurried World.’

Menout therestay with me. This is most definitely not a women-only situation.

It’s all about making time for self-nurture oras Abby describes itaccessing the ‘deep river’ within us allthe inner resources we all have for nurturecreativitycalm and revitalising rest.

I love Abby’s metaphor of the deep inner river. It’s so much more powerful for me thansaythe image of a reservoir or a deep well. I like how the idea of an  inner river feels. It’s flowingquickly or slowlyit’s both continuous and ever-changng and it feels as if it connects me somehow with an endless source of beauty and wonderwith the rich resources of the world around me and those of other people as well as with my own inner self. (The deep river is the perfect metaphor for psychologist Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of ‘flow experience.’)

In her bookAbby talks about some of the blocks that can hold us back from spending time dipping into the deep river. One of these blocks is our own ‘busy-ness’ and another is our fear that time alone will bewell… lonely.

I know that I do the busy-ness one. You knowall that ‘faffing,’ as one of my clients put it recently. It’s lateyou know you should be winding-down but there is always More To Do. You’d be so much more productive tomorrow if you just allowed yourself to rest nowmake the transition to calmprepare for a night of deep sleepbut somehow you find yourself still ‘busy’ Doing Very Important Things. Just noticing how I do that has helped me to stop doing it. It’s helped me to place a clear boundary around my eveningmy resting time. It feels good.

And then there is the fear that so many of the people I work with experience – the fear of feeling alone in their alone time. This can feel particularly poignant at times of change – after a relationship break-upor when the children have grown-up and left homefor example. What do we do with ourselves now that we have some time and no excuses left to prevent us from truly being with ourselves? Who are wewhen we’re not being partnersloversmothersfathershusbandswivesdaughterssons? Who are we really?

Self-hypnosis can be a wonderful way to begin to spend some time alone with yourself. When I give my clients one of my self-hypnosis audio programmesfor examplethey are often concerned about making the time to listen to it regularly or concerned that their mind will flit all over the place and they ‘won’t be able to relax’ or they are worried about ‘what will come up for me when I go inside myself.’

And then they find that it is very helpful to have the structure of an audio – just twenty minutes or half an hour – to being to enjoy the process of connecting with themselvesnoticing how their body feelsnoticing sensations and images and sounds inside them and around themnoticing their breathing.

Self-hypnosis can be the entry-point for a reconnection with our own resources – or the deep river – within ourselves. It’s exciting to see people discover thatrather than feeling lonelythey begin to look forward to some alone time and they begin to feel more confident about slowing downtaking a walk alonewriting in a journal or just gazing out of the window and breathing in the view.

This weekendI wish you time to breatheto slow downto be with yourself. If you haven’t done that for a whilewhy not begin withsayten or twenty minutes? Find out where it takes you.

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