The Gift of Being Alone

May 31, 2021

Being alone is one of the most dreaded states. We would do anything to not be alone. To be in a happy relationship. To be with friends. To be with our family. To have a family. And yet when we truly embrace the gift of being alone, we find it bears the golden seeds of transformation.

I have been there. A few years ago, I would have done anything to not be alone. I made compromises to be in relationships that I knew were unhealthy. I pushed away my dreams to embrace the dreams of others hoping that they will reward me with keeping at bay the dreaded feeling of being alone. I pushed, I forced, I tried to control reality and I inevitably failed. And when I failed, it hurt. A lot.

Today I know better. I am not alone anymore, and I believe the reason that I’m not alone anymore is that I have – paradoxically – learned to embrace the feeling of being alone.

When I think back of my life, the biggest things that I have done, happened while I was not in a relationship:

  • I crossed Africa from North to South, a trip that forever changed my life
  • I wrote my books
  • I learned skydiving and with it a completely new perspective on what it means to fly
  • I learned to play polo and followed it wherever it took me – to new territories within myself, to a new country and to new friends for life
  • I got an MBA degree and embraced those most crazy years of my life with all they came
  • I learned Spanish and before that I learned Italian
  • I developed my healing abilities and became a Reiki Master
  • I trained with and got initiated as a shaman
  • I moved to Argentina and later to Spain
  • I studied with shamans, spiritual teachers and psychics
  • I went through deep healing that would not have been otherwise possible

And I will say this again: I went through deep healing that would not have been otherwise possible.

Why is that?

Because when we are in a couple relationship or when we are part of a close group of friends or very connected to our family, others around us hold a certain image of us. This is how they know us. And they hold on to that image consciously and unconsciously. That’s because to them, this is the only us that they know. The us that they love. The us that they feel connected to. And they don’t want to lose that. Just like we don’t want to lose them. 

When we go through profound transformation, we change who we are. Actually, we don’t really change, it’s more like we come back to who we really are if we had previously gone astray. To us it’s a homecoming. But to the people around us it’s most generally an unwelcome change. For a moment, they don’t know who we are. For a time, the connection weakens, and it needs to be rebuilt. They panic and cling on to us and they wish none of that transformation had ever happened to us. And because we love them, we may wish that too.

So, what happens is that we stop ourselves be all that we want to be and do all that we came here to do. We become smaller than our potential, we shrink. We forget our dreams, our desires. We stay small. And we do all this in order to keep the love, the connection. The feeling of belonging. In other words, we do that so that we don’t have to feel alone.

And this feeling is very tangible. I had a client once who came to shamanic energy medicine session with her 6-month-old baby and a nanny. The nanny and the baby peacefully waited outside, in the waiting room, while she had her session. But after her session, her baby started crying desperately, became very agitated and for a few hours could not be soothed by any methods. She eventually ended up hugging the baby for many hours, long into the night, so that he could re-establish his connection to her. What happened? Her energy field changed. And her baby perceived this traumatically as if part of his mother was gone. The woman who came out of the treatment room did not resemble the mother that he knew. And it took a long time of re-bonding until the connection could be re-established and the distress forgotten. 

This is how most people react when those they love go through deep transformation. They don’t like it. They want the previous version of us and they want it urgently. And not everyone is as adaptable as that baby who only needed a few hours to fully re-bond with his mother.

So that’s the real gift of being alone. The gift of deep transformation. It’s like the Universe tells you: “Go ahead! Take your time for yourself. For your deepest desires. It's your time to follow your dreams, to develop yourself, to explore, to become who you are really meant to be. And then you will re-establish your connection to your family, friends and loved ones or you will find others.”

But what if you’re already in a relationship? What if you want to evolve but at the same time keep your existing relationships? 

Well, the Universe has an answer for that too. And it’s simple: just live what you’re being given at any point in time. Don’t compromise, don’t stop yourself from growing. If you’re alone, embrace it. If you’re not alone, embrace that too. Trust that those relationships that are right for you will adapt and grow while you grow. And trust that the time to be alone will come to an end. But until it does, make sure to embrace it fully:

Take that trip.

Learn that skill.

Discover the path that calls you.

And remember one thing: it’s in those moments of fully embracing being alone when you discover that, in fact, you never are.

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