Isolation really is not all bad.
I had made an art form of isolation long before there was a medical edict.
In fairness to myself the term isolation has been applied to me by numerous other people. It never has felt quite right to apply to myself. I simply like being alone. And more than that, I happen to enjoy my own company.
People that see and hear my professional expression would never guess what an extreme introvert I am. In order to fuel that professional expression, I simply must have large swaths of time to be quiet, and to be by myself. It is not a preference. It is a deep need. When I do not have sufficient solitude, I literally have physical symptoms. My breathing becomes shallower and more labored. My mind activity gets busier. I begin to feel closed in and cramped down inside myself.
I could break out in a sweat just typing these words.
While others may see this as pathology, I see it as healthy awareness. I love being with other people. In somewhat small doses and with lots of space between. My personal honoring of my need for aloneness allows me to give more freely when I choose to be in direct connection. My aloneness nourishes me so that I may hopefully nourish others as I interact. I am fed in solitude and I feed in communion.
So, for me, this time of isolation has not been all bad.
For one, this added alone time has clarified what I am describing in this missive. The social distancing in many ways has increased my personal connection. I am learning more about myself, and what has been running this show called Taylor. I have solidified my priorities. I have refined even more my purpose. I have come to a greater inner-awareness, and an embracing inner-acceptance. I am clear about how I want to experience my remaining years, if life indeed grants me those.
And I have never appreciated my life, my history, my relationships, and my expression more than I do right now.
The patterns I have lived out are crystal clear. The core beliefs have never been more apparent. My habitual ways of showing up and shutting down have risen in awareness like never before. I am quite certain my shadow has not emptied out. I am even less sure that is a goal. And I know myself at a level that I don’t think would have been possible without this extended period of distancing and isolation.
Isolation really is not all bad.
It has come bearing gifts, at least for me.
I do miss being with others in a very tangible way. I can feel that in ways that are equal to my reaction to too little aloneness. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my spiritual community. I miss those who have departed since this pandemic took hold.
I need aloneness and I need togetherness. I am not sure in equal measure. But I surely need both. Isolation has taught me that. Isolation has clarified my boundaries and what is most important to me in personal relationships. I am clearer about what I will tolerate and what I will not. I am certain that I have taught others how to treat me, and I am brave enough to alter those teachings. How others react is of less consequence than me staying true to me.
Me staying true to me.
That rings in my heart and throughout my being.
Isolation has taught me that I need to first and foremost stay true to myself. Not in some surface, self-help way. Deeply, intimately. All accepting and ever allowing. When I need space, I will claim space. When I choose connection, I will offer, and I will accept connection. I will spend as much time alone as feels right for me. And then I will share the beneficial effects of that solitude generously if judicially.
And this I learned from distancing and isolation.
So you see, isolation is not all bad.