An invitation to join the conversational nature of reality
The loneliness after your person died is eating you from inside.
You feel empty, terrified, and insecure because you don’t know if you will be able to move on.
Grief is very isolating, especially in a grief-phobic culture like the American culture where dying happens in the closet. The loneliness and alienation after loss become a very difficult thing to cope with especially if the person who died was integrated into your daily life.
The silence in your house might have become deafening.
What’s worse, is that even if you are surrounded by supportive family and friends, you still feel lonely because your person might have been your primary support system and nobody around you really understand what you are going through.
Isolation also creeps in when you realize that you are the only one still morning. Everyone else who was mourning with you has found a way to move on with their lives and don’t express that they still miss them. The annoying thing is that they cannot understand why you are still distraught and think you should have moved on too.
For some people, you might have no support system, or the people you thought would be there for you have slowly disappeared from your life. You feel so alone in the world and the void left by their absence is raw and the volume of the ache reaches a crescendo in the mornings when you wake and remember that you get to inhabit another day they will never get to see.
In this article, I offer you a morning ritual to help you create space for your aching loneliness to be present so that you feel more connected to life itself and ease some of the burdens of your loneliness.
This article is the third in a series of morning rituals for grief. If you also struggle with some of the more physical aspects of grief like anxiety, grief brain, and exhaustion, please check out these other morning rituals.
- Try to get up at the same time each morning. The starting times here are for demonstration purposes only
- Spend as much or as little time as you need on the different activities. For example, you might prefer 10 minutes of light stretching instead of an hour-long sweat session.
- Your morning starts the night before. Make sure you get good sleep and plan for the next day.
- In grief, when everything feels out of control, setting a small personal intention for the day can help you feel more in control and support. I have included an intention for your ritual and a mantra for the day specific to this ritual, but feel free to modify it to something that resonates more with you
Ritual flow – Everything is waiting for you
Loneliness can be a prison, a place from which we look out at a world we cannot inhabit; loneliness can be a bodily ache and a penance, but loneliness fully inhabited also becomes the voice that asks and calls for that great, unknown someone or something else we want to call our own. – David Whyte from Loneliness in Consolations
Total Time: 30 – 90 minutes
Ritual Intention: I open myself up to connect deeply and receive the love and support that surrounds me. I allow myself to be embraced and supported by my inner nature and heart of compassion
7:00 A.M: Take your time waking up and then spend a few minutes reflecting on how you feel as you listen to this playlist that connects you to other people who are expressing this feeling of loss and loneliness
7:15 A.M.: Listen to this meditation to create more space in your body and connect you to the earth. You are connected and fully supported by all of life.
- Gentle touch: Once the meditation is complete, place the hand you write with on your chest, and the other one on your belly. Breathe deeply (5 seconds for the in-breath and 5 seconds for the out-breath) and truly hold yourself with love and unconditional self-acceptance.
7:30 A.M.: Spend 5 -10 minutes journaling and give your loneliness space to express itself through you. Journal about all the ways in which you feel disconnected and would like to be supported ad connected at this time. Include who or what you would like to support you
7:45 A.M.: Perform light stretching or these yoga poses for 10-15 minutes to connect you more with your body and the energy of the earth. You can also go for an early morning walk in nature if possible and feel the connection to the trees, the wind in your air, and the chatter of nature.
8:00 A.M.: When you are ready, take a steamy shower and if you have time, go ahead, and treat yourself to a nurturing bath with salts and essential oils. After your shower, get dressed in cozy clothes that feel like a hug.
8:15 A.M.: Go for a comfort food breakfast, and while you prep or eat, you can listen to a podcast about other people’s journey with grief and loneliness so you know you are not alone in it.
8:30 A.M.: Spend some time connecting with loved ones you live with or call a friend or family member.
- You can also nurture a pet or plants if you have them
- Another option is connecting with a community of grievers on an online grief support group or social media.
8:45 A.M.: Start your day with your mantra and repeat it throughout the day when you begin to feel the feelings of loneliness creep in.
Mantra for the day: I put down the weight of my aloneness and ease into the
conversation because everything is waiting for me (David Whyte)
- On Being Podcast: “The Conversational Nature of Reality” with David Whyte
- Yoga for Connection
- Grief Resource Thursday: Community to Hold You in Your Grief
The house of belonging
“Loneliness is the single malt taste of the very essentiality that makes conscious belonging possible. The doorway is closer than we think. I feel alone; therefore, I belong” – David Whyte's Loneliness in Consolations
Over time, I came to realize that I lost many friendships after the death of my mother because proximity to the weight of death was just too much for many people. It brought up death anxiety which was just too overwhelming. It took me a while to make peace with this, but in the process, I was able to find a new tribe of people who were willing to be present with the dark side of life. I am sorry you are experiencing this transition and the people who you thought would be there for you are not able to hold space for you.
Know this – as David Whyte mentions, it is interesting to note that when you allow yourself to fully inhabit this loneliness, isolation, and alienation inherent in grief, it is like falling through a slit in reality and entering into a wider community of people and spaces who have allowed life to bring them to their knees and have also allowed love to stand them up.
“Maybe death is the great equalizer, the one big thing that can finally make strangers shed a tear for one another” ― Morrie Schwartz
With time, you will begin to realize that you belong and will eventually find your place and voice in the conversation of love. If your loneliness is stemming from an intense yearning for your loved one and because you miss them like crazy, in the next article, I offer a morning ritual as a salve for your ache.
This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.
There is no house
like the house of belonging.
David Whyte – House of Belonging