I was recently in a training and I have no idea why, but the phrase You Are Not Alone came to mind. It’s a mystery where this came from. You might instantly think about the Michael Jackson song from HIStory or that creepy video with then wife, Lisa Marie Presley. Or more seriously, you might think about times you are alone or feel alone. Feeling alone, loneliness, are they the same? Different? I myself am someone who needs very little alone time. An hour or two a week is fine by me. I don’t often feel the need of taking a break from others. This might be why, during a break-up, I felt so lonely. Or did I feel alone? What I did then for myself and what I see now, well over a year later, is that we are never alone. You Are NOT Alone.
By the encouragement of my friend Jeremy, during the summer of 2013, I started taking myself to brunch after Saturday morning long runs. This turned into an almost weekly venture during last year’s horrendous winter. During those times, going home and being at home was not a happy place for me. I did not want to be there, so I would take my Entertainment Weekly magazine to one of my favorite brunch spots, typically Taste of Heaven or Nookies, and I would boldly say, “Table for one” or “Just me today” and I would sit, by myself. However, I was never alone. I had my magazine and my coffee, things that bring happiness to me. I had the wait staff who grew to recognize me. One time my waiter even bought me breakfast. Taste of Heaven became my place, “where everybody knows your name.” Most of all, I had all the other people in the restaurant with me. Some would be laughing with friends and others, like me, were simply enjoying something they loved: food, coffee, reading, etc. I learned that being “alone” does not mean you are alone or lonely. I grew to love those Saturday morning dates with myself, my coffee, my magazine, and my other brunch lovers. It was something that put me out into the Universe to say, here I am. It’s me, Matty, and I’m living my life. If someone wants to join me, that would be lovely, but I can do this on my own too. I am not alone.
All during this enlightening time of my life I also started a daily event, meditation. Deepak Chopra and Oprah have a meditation series that is free for 21 days, then you can buy it. I believe they have about five in their series. On my birthday in 2013 the first of these meditation series began. I fell in love with the practice of meditation. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. weekdays was an all new experience. Some of the meditations were great and super meaningful, while others did not connect with me as much. But I loved the routine and the waking to about 30 minutes of quiet time before I would get out of bed. To this day I still try to meditate, though I do not do it nearly as often as I would like. It is another one of those things that I believe awakened me to the spirituality of the Universe. Here I am. It’s me, Matty, and I’m living my life. Recently in this series of meditations, Energy of Attraction, Oprah said, “Like attracts like. You attract who you are. Change your energy and you can change your entire experience of the world. Change your intention and you change your path.” I honestly believe that during that dark period of my life, finding something like meditation to connect me with the Universe was a changing force in my life. It gave me structure, which I desperately needed in order to put one foot in front of the other. It also gave me hope; hope that the Universe would see me out there trying and would feel my energy.
“You always have a place here, on your mat.”
On a particularly rough day last fall I remember getting the text from my friend Sarah that said, “You always have a place here, on your mat.” Her yoga instructor said that quote at the end of practice. It now always means something to me. I picked up the practice of yoga about a year and a half ago. Some nights, during the hellish winter of 2014, I would take a 4:30 Sculpt class and a 6:00 CorePower 2 class. Part of the reason was that it was always 80 or more degrees warmer in the studio than outside. The other part was that I did not want to be home. I did everything in my power to not be home alone. If I wasn’t out with friends for dinner I would go to yoga and just stay. My yoga mat is such a safe place for me. I am now in a much different place in life, but I keep my yoga practice going. I actually missed yoga during the 2014 marathon training season. I love that I am back to nearly daily practice. For me, yoga is an intense workout, but it is also spiritual, a time for me to find strength in myself. It is a time to find space between me and my day, me and the outside world. It is a time for me on my mat. I never feel alone with yoga because in my mind it connects me with the Universe. It puts my energy out there for all to feel. Here I am. It’s me, Matty, and I’m living my life. Just remember that your time on your mat is for you. You are never alone because you have yourself!
“And I’ve learned
That we must look inside our hearts
To find a world full of love”
What does lonely feel like? What does feeling alone feel like? How does feeling alone in an empty room differ from feeling alone in a room full of people? What I know for sure is that it feels all different for all of us. I am grateful to have learned even a little bit about looking inside my heart and knowing the difference for me between feeling alone and feeling lonely. However you are feeling, take the steps to get out there. Say YES! to Life. Do things that make you happy like yoga or meditation or taking yourself to brunch. Watch Whitney Houston videos, like me. Go watch a great film. Go sit at a bar, grab a drink and chat with the bartender or chat with other people sitting there. You are not alone. You are never alone, but you might have to take a risk once and a while to put yourself out there. Put your energy out in the Universe and I promise you this, it will come back in return. That I know for sure!
You might also like my blog post, “Single? You Don’t Have to Be Alone”: