Disillusioned Gurus For The Alone & Lonely

Have I learned anything in the past few years? OK, 10 years? Today is July 1st and it seems like a good time to take stock of my life. Especially since this past week I fell back on my two worst character traits: feeling sorry for myself and wanting someone to come along and save me. Maybe it is relationship trauma that I’ve been trying so hard to ignore.

For some reason, I keep my suffering going in this life. As soon as anything happens that I deem “bad” or “unfair,” I go right back to crying over how awful my world is. This victim mentality is annoying and depressing. And it’s gotten way too old.

The only good thing I can say about this habit of mind is that I recognize it when it shows up in my life a bit faster than I used to. It still comes up, this internal whining, but I see it for what it is within a few days.

Take this week, for example. I went in to an ophthalmologist appointment with high hopes it would be my last…and ended up having painful laser surgery to repair a small tear in the retinal lining. In my “good” eye. (Here’s the post where I first talked about my eyesight: In The Shadow of the Mountain.)

I left the office in a state of shock, although I pretended to the staff that I was completely cool.

Poor Me!

This kicked off a terrible set of behaviours that have become familiar: several days of crying, eating food for comfort rather than sustenance, and a withdrawal from all of my usual social activities.

At first I couldn’t stop thinking, over and over: why does my eyesight keep getting worse? Why did I have to go through another painful procedure with more healing involved and lose even more vision? Why am I having to deal with this alone? Again. (“It’ll take you a couple of vodka and tonics to get you on your feet again…” – Elton John / Bernie Taupin)

By Thursday, I realized that I was wallowing. It’s like I get into a groove and need to intentionally jump out. I start by trying to appreciate things I am grateful for in my life. Sometimes I will watch comedy or put on some Rob Zombie (he always cheers me up).

Meditate This

Recognizing what I was doing, I felt a bit better. That night, I made our evening Zoom meditation and made myself proud. The next day I showed up in the park in good spirits for our “Walk for the World” meditation. In our “share” that we do after, I admitted to everyone what I’d done this week. It felt good to tell others about how I sometimes fall down in my life. Next week many of us are going to camp out and meditate all weekend. This is not something I really wanted to do – after all, the longer you spend with people, the more they’ll actually “see” you. Now I am looking forward to it.

If I don’t learn to let people see the whole me, I’ll end up very lonely, won’t I? Hiding who you really are from others is a surefire recipe for loneliness. My usual behaviour is to complain (bitterly and to myself) that no one really knows me. Yet it’s me who refuses to show anyone who I really am!

This brings me to the second thing that has plagued me for years.

I keep thinking Mr. Darcy is coming to rescue me.

Or at least make an appearance. You know, a real guy who rides up on a great, white horse, sees me and knows I’d be just perfect for him. Yeah, this is embarrassing.

I know this is a holdover from all those fairy tales I grew up on. Logically, in my prefrontal cortex, I know this is ridiculous: any guy in his early sixties is looking for a woman in her 40s. Any guy in his 70s is not riding horses at all, I’m guessing. Rolling up with a cane and a dirty white beard just doesn’t have the same effect.

Actually, my daughter-in-law and I are doing a Harry Potter marathon and Dumbledore’s not looking too bad (2nd version, please. If there’s a God. The first guy is dead already.). Of course, there’s always Gandalf. Why not? Sigh.

In nearly every spiritual teaching they always say the same damn thing: you have to love yourself first.

Love Me. This Time I MEAN It!

Now I love myself as much as I can but there’s only so much I can do physically. I just want to get it out there right now – I cannot give myself a massage, make love, nor hug myself with anything like conviction. It usually ends up making me frustrated and angry. I had a partner for over 30 years, I know the real thing and honey, this ain’t it.

Getting told to just “love yourself” by those who have a loving partner already really bugs me. They’ve got a lot of nerve. Is Sadhguru ever without a woman? Has Joe Dispenza spent more than 10 minutes single? Wayne Dyer was married his whole life and even Eckhart Tolle is married. How easy it is to love yourself when another loves you.

When we have a loving, committed partner, we see ourselves through another’s eyes. When they see the best in us, it makes us aware of our traits and gives us another perspective on something we may have considered a flaw. Not to mention encouragement and a big, tight hug when you’ve had scary surgery and were frightened out of your wits that this would be the day you’d truly be blinded.

You also behave better because someone is watching you – someone you admire and want to think well of you.

Alone – Not For the Faint of Heart

Don’t let anyone fool you. I’ve had a loving, committed partner and can tell you in no uncertain terms: being alone is one tough gig. Those who try to tell you to love yourself while they themselves are in the comfort of coupledom don’t know jack shit about self-love.

You get up off that floor alone after a week long binge with a 2-6er of vodka, an empty Kleenex box, and two hungry cats before you can talk to me about self-love. (For the record, it was only ½ a bottle of gin and I saved the Kleenex for guests, using my homemade handkerchiefs instead. The cats, however, were pretty hungry.)

Going through life alone is a whole world of in-your-head crazy. There is no one to give you another opinion or point out a flaw in your logic. You have to come to that yourself. WARNING: it may take a long, long time.

My consolation is this: everyone will face being alone at some point and I am getting good at it. I’ve been practicing for 10 years now. (I’m not including the two longer term relationships I’ve had because I never felt safe enough to trust the other person to look after my needs. Quite the opposite, actually. When someone can’t look after their own lives, is it really logical to expect them to help you out ever? In Summary: Bullies and Bastards: How to Get Fired and End Up Alone)

Is This What Relationship Trauma Looks Like?

The other thing that bothers me about being told to “love myself” is that I feel that the whole reason I’m here is to have earth experiences. This means accommodating another person’s likes, dislikes, needs, and personality into my life. I’m willing to do quite a lot to have a partner. Compromise? You bet! Share? Well, OK, I guess so. Subdue my own wishes to keep someone happy? No. Actually, this sounds terrible.

So I guess being denied a loving partner is my experience. Hoo ha.

Being alone – navigating the rest of my life – may be what I’m meant to do. I’m still not OK with this. It still hurts me to my core. After all, I am a Libra and partnership is my middle name (more or less).

The only thing I think I’ve advanced in 10 years is that my life skills are better. I’ve got a mean cordless drill and am not afraid to tackle many things I would have panicked over a few years ago. I no longer frown at happy couples and can honestly wish them well. Although, to the smug ones I still point out that they should prepare themselves for when their significant other dies.

I do say this sweetly, however, with a smile on my face. Please tell me that counts.

The truth is it is likely I have trauma from the end of my 30+ year relationship. Trauma I’m realizing that I must face because apparently it has turned and is now facing me. Strong emotions are a big hint: pay attention! This sh*t is real.

In other words, 10 years have come and gone and I’m not much closer to any revelation let alone enlightenment. I’m a veritable guru for the disillusioned.


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