Sometimes the phone doesn’t ring. The texts don’t come in. There’s no one to email, no one to date, no friends to meet, no dream to pursue. The night is pitch black, the day is too bright, and those tiny victories you meet are witnessed alone. In every life there’s a season, and on my personal journey, I had to accept how the bend of the river had brought me to a still lake. There was nothing to do and no one to impress, and I was scared. For the first time in my life, I had to rely on my intuition and to trust that it was okay to find God (or spirit, however you define the divine) in myself first, before I went looking for external validation. So here’s 10 things you can do when life brings you to that still place, where there’s an invitation to learn about yourself and be alone.
Learning how to sit with your mind is such a gift. You hear its rants and ruminations, its fears and hopes. You slip in and out of boredom, anger, and elation. You see how complex and fragile you are. For me, this has been a good way to witness my rich inner life and areas for growth.
What I love about journaling is that it helps you know what you’re thinking and feeling. When I read past journal entries I’m always amazed at how far I’ve come in my thinking and articulation of life as I experience it.
- BE IN NATURE
- GO TO THE WATER
I love oceans, lakes, creeks, ponds, whatever. And in Kenya there’s so many places to visit. When you go to the ocean, put your feet in the water (or swim!) and visualize all your pain being washed away. When you leave the water, you leave with more clarity and generosity in your heart. I also call in the Orisha Goddess Yemaya, Goddess of the ocean, protector of women, birth, and fertility for support.
- DAILY AFFIRMATIONS
Write them down. Say them to yourself in the mirror. Repeat to yourself while running errands or before you go to sleep. They’re helpful.
- TAKE YOUR INNER CHILD OUT ON A DATE!
Do you ever think about who you were when you were 4, 8, 16? Were you scrappy, kind, mischievous, introspective? As a kid I loved to swing and I still do! So whenever I find a swing I let myself play and reminisce about those more playful days.
- LISTEN TO INSPIRING PEOPLE
I love listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations and anything with Jane Fonda giving a speech. I also love having soul conversations with close friends and everyday people, who are just as inspiring and easily accessible. Wisdom exists everywhere.
- CRY - YOU NEED TO
This was a hard one for me, but if the tears come, let them flow. It releases endorphins and heals. Ugly cry, let it be messy. Cry because you never got the chance to and finally after all these years life is inviting you to feel.
- REST - YOU REALLY NEED TO
Can’t stress this enough. Rest. Do nothing. It’s still a lesson I find challenging, because I’ve equated my worth to my ability to do and produce. But rest is vital to recharging, reflecting, reassessing, and recovery. Rest, in a way, is work. The work of self.
- DON'T BYPASS THE HURT
If you need to scream and vocalize, do that. If you’re angry or sad, sit with these feelings. I’ve tried to bypass this so many times, to reach for “higher” emotions. This is false thinking. Be brave enough to tell yourself the truth about what your feeling in your mind, body, and spirit.
I hope you find this useful. Here is a quick list of things to try not to do when you’re alone for a season:
- Scour social media and compare yourself to others ruthlessly
- Eat foods and drinks that hurt and/or cloud your system
- Indulge in negative self talk and ideas of your life being a failure
- Stay reading the news 24/7 (and scaring yourself to death)
- Fill your time with distractions because you fear being alone (you know what those distractions are!)
- Do everything but meditate and find stillness
I’m writing this because I’ve walked this path and have engaged in some of these behaviors. Find the balance and be gentle with yourself. Check in with yourself, this is your time to parent yourself and lovingly decide what’s for your highest good. Choose wisely.