Reflections on My Year in (relative) Solitude

In December 2014, I made my way across the country to start a new life ‘somewhere’ in New Mexico. All I knew was that I needed a place to heal, to rest, and rejuvenate. I had basically burned myself out giving too much: to my relationship, to my family, and to the yoga studio I was running from home. I was disillusioned by the yoga “scene”, by my yoga lineage, and I didn’t even want to think about teaching or doing any kind of healing work again any time soon. So when I found a place out in the middle of nowhere with a meditation cave on the property, I knew I was home. Nature always gave me comfort as far back as I could remember, so I knew being surrounded by Her would play a key part in this healing process. And I would have the time and space for my meditation practice, and to reflect, journal, and make art again.

“The grief you cry out from draws you toward union. Your pure sadness that wants help is the secret cup. Listen to the moan of a dog for its master. That whining is the connection. There are love-dogs no one knows the names of. Give your life to be one of them.” — Rumi

With very few exceptions, I chose not to make friends or be very social during this last year. I truly desired to live like a modern-day hermit. I explored the area on my own, went out when I needed things (or when I was struggling with extreme loneliness, which was rare) and I was kind to whomever stopped by to see how I was doing, but for the most part I was alone. The people that I did meet this last year ‘by chance’ were like distant memories of people I knew lifetimes ago. Some of them have already come and gone, each of us completing what we needed to learn from the other in this lifetime. Others may stick around for awhile. Only time will tell.

“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

Now as I prepare to integrate myself back into society by moving closer to Santa Fe, I am taking time to reflect on what I’ve learned this past year.

  • I think it’s easy to lock yourself away from society, almost selfish in a way. (In my own defense, maybe I needed to be selfish for a while.) The true test lies in remaining spiritual while living within the fabric of life.
  • I have found a new kind of independence and strength within myself, one that’s still unfolding and I’ve yet to fully understand.
  • Essentially, I am a social creature and I enjoy helping others. But it’s ok to say no. Better to take care of me and be present, than to do things I don’t have the energy or desire to do and end up burned out and resentful.
  • I still have ‘stuff’. I may always have ‘stuff’. And it’s ok. I can soften around those tender spots, and recognize that those seeds of hurt might still be inside of me, but I don’t have to let them take root and rule my life and behaviors. I can also choose not to associate with people who don’t know how to be kind to me or honor those tender spots.
  • As I learn to shine the light into my own shadows, they become less dark. As I learn to accept and care for ALL parts of myself, I can more fully accept others and be more compassionate to them.
  • Studying astrology helps me see the bigger picture and gives me perspective about ‘what’s really going on’. Everything is Maya, a play of the gods and the Universe. As real and crazy as it may all seem at times, it’s really not. It’s a predetermined script and I’m just acting it out, day by day.
  • I am thankful for the sanctuary of peace that my meditation practice gives me. I know I am never alone and there is always some One for me to rely on, even though I may forget this at times.
  • This journey inwards is never-ending. There is always more to be revealed, unraveled, and understood.

I look forward to another new start on this journey called “LIFE” — always an adventure!