I am not alone.
This is the revelation I had this morning. Like the hot water bottle I sleep with on cold nights, I feel this reassurance radiating outwards, warming me with its simple truth.
What’s funny is that, I am right now actually alone, at least physically. My husband is on the East Coast for business as well as to visit our daughters, who work and go to college there. And my father, with whom we bought our ranch 13 years ago, is no longer with us in body though he is often in my heart.
Our two cats and faithful dog, Nola, are still here, small presences in the house. Rollo, our small black and white cat, was sleeping on the counter by the dish rack when I came out to make my tea this morning. He watched me unload the dishwasher, a task my husband usually does.
I get to have my rhythms for the next week. During this time, I get to put my bath towel on the towel bar closest to the shower, where my husband’s usually lives, ready for him to grab it so he doesn’t leave puddles across the floor. I get to work late if I want to, as I did last night. I get to eat what I want, and watch my
TV shows like Parenthood
and Orange is the New Black
. I get to make dates out for drinks and movies with my friends. These are some of the mundane perks I enjoy during my time alone.
Somehow though, when I wasn’t looking, the fleeting satisfaction I get from enjoying these small benefits has given way to something larger, more potent: an overall sense of safety and security.
I used to feel uncomfortable when my husband travelled, scared even. I would make sure all the doors were locked and felt small in our big king-size bed. I feel a shift now: my nervous system has relaxed. My basic nature may actually be transforming from German shepherd to golden retriever. More flow, less bracing for life’s uncertainties. I can leave space now for things to happen instead of defending, pushing and controlling.
In addition to being married for 25 years, belonging to Rotary for the past year has helped immensely with my new-found freedom to be. Last night I felt a distinct calm as I sent out emails to fellow committee members requesting help. I will miss two months of meetings I usually attend at the high school Interact Club but I know this is no problem: others will rise to the occasion. Others will support the students in executing their service projects. Others will bring the pizza and welcome the kids when they meet. Together we create the ripples of community that extend outwards, touching more and more people with the idea that they too are not alone.
As an entrepreneur growing my coaching practice, I have often felt alone as I advertise for clients. I feel vulnerable in a way I didn’t when I worked as a journalist and could say I was calling from U.S. News & World Report
or The New York Times
. Now it’s just me: the proverbial One Man Band.
It’s just me and yet, I am able to respond with more flexibility and confidence to whatever life presents. It's like I have a platform of well-being to stand on. I am learning the art of asking for help. I have resources—both human and google-able—that I can turn to for guidance. I know that whatever happens, I will deal with it. Others are there for me and I am there for them.
The feeling of safety and security continues to seep into my bones as I gently bounce back and forth between autonomy and belonging. I can trust it now.
I am not alone.