In the book “Writing down the Bones”, Natalie Goldberg keeps writng how each one of us have a deep fear. And the only way to overcome that is to live that fear and make friends with it. Her’s is loneliness.
The other day, I woke up early with that old familiar pounding of the heart and intense tightness in the guts. I lay still on my bed breathing into these blocked energies, not knowing where they took root in and once cleared where the energy will take me.
I got up and wore my walking outfit and shoes to take my dog, Goldy, a mix between an Indian street breed and a Golden Labrador, out for walk. I adopted her from a shelter one and a half years ago. She sleeps in my room and at the break of dawn rests her two front paws on my pillow and nudges me with her wet cold nose. I stroke her ears and head, requesting her to allow me a little more time in bed. But she knows better, that staying in bed would only prolong my agonizing energy movements. She is persistent and I always, thankfully, give in to her.
We do the same circuit each morning. But she never tires of this. Ever so enthusiastic to sniff around for new smells in the old places. Ever so eager to say hello to fellow walkers and dogs. Always sniffing her friends as lovingly as only dogs can do. If there is wet earth she goes right for it and starts to dig I guess for water. I live in New Delhi and it is 42 degrees Celsius even in the mornings somedays.
There is a spot on the walk route where some kind woman has kept an earthen saucer with water for the street animals. Goldy loves to drink water from there. The way she laps the sweet liquid with her tounge and makes that amazing noise of unquenchable thirst being quenched, I feel a sigh of sweet relief in my soul. The water in saucer has tiny fallen leaves floating in them and that makes the water sweeter I guess.
The loneliness that I feel intensely at times gets dissolved each morning as I walk Goldy and participate in her fascinating wonder for the natural world.
The other day a dear friend of mine, who is separated from a violent marriage and is fighting a battle to get to see her only daughter who her husband is absconding with, told me a very amazing thing. She works in the rural areas of India and often goes to the Himalayan hamlets for work. She told me how she walked miles in the hills and sat alone outside her dwelling without ever feeling lonely. She shared how the tall pines, and cornifers, the small birds and squirrels keep her compnay. And the moment she is back to Delhi or Pune amongst millions of people the loneliness hits her like an axe gnawing at the very core of her being.
I totally get what she says. Sitting up in my 8th floor apartment, I look at the urban sky and the pale green tree tops from the terrace and amidst a house full of people and a city full of humanity, I feel intense loneliness and a cry of helplessness arises from the HARA (the sex chakra) and hits me hard on the heart. Nothing at that moment makes sense anymore. The whole question of existence ungulfes me like a monster. I breathe, breathe, breathe…and then allow the hammering to rise up to my skull (the crown Chakra)…Not knowing what the released loneliness is going to manifest as. A sneeze, or a yawn or a clearing of the throat, releases the intensiity.
I used to fall back into the habit of picking up the phone and talking to a friend or texting a lover. But that has also stopped sufficing. Doing this much lesser now. The facebook and email and the various forums I write on help to pour out my anguish. Goldy and my children keep me distracted from desolation that my insides sometimes wail of.
A mocking voice in the head makes a snide remark, “go back to the old world of safety and security that you are walking out on”. And a reassuring voice in the heart rebels, “no way, anything but that, make do with your loneliness, that is all you got right now, let spring spurt out of this intensity!”
I smile a sigh of rest and I once again befriend my loneliness and make peace with it once more. I sit at my new lap top (yes it has finally arrived) and let the spring splatter on the blog that I have grown to love as my lover and best friend.
Does any of you feel the way I do?