The rains have come for the earth,
Her pores open up to receive the Grace.
When will you come for me?
My heart yearns to open its doors.
Loneliness was something I had only a passing acquaintance with. Busy with household duties, raising my two boys, keeping myself sane, the decades of the thirties and forties passed in a blur. The boys grew up, and I transitioned from mother to friend and confidant. It was a fun and enriching experience to participate in their daily lives, their triumphs, and tribulations. We were a team. But, change is inevitable…right? Impermanence is the only constant.
My marriage fell apart. The boys finished their education and started their careers. They got married to beautiful and accomplished girls. I met loneliness again. This time he stayed a little longer.
I transitioned again from friend to mother. The boys had their spouses to share the nitty-gritty of daily life. Their priorities changed as was inevitable and, by all means, right. Suddenly, I was at a loss and lost too. I had been a mom all my life. More than my roles as a daughter, sister, wife, it was motherhood that had anchored me in life’s mad and capricious moments. So much so that I had forgotten that I was an individual too. I had wholly submerged my identity to be a mother. Nothing had prepared me for the vacant, yawning space in my life. I was like a rudderless boat in choppy seas… Aimless, purposeless, adrift.
I started getting intimate with loneliness.
Totally confused and clueless about how to deal with this open space in my life, I started filling up my hours with lots of non-specific activities. I didn’t know this new person, Myself, in my life. What to do with her? Who is she? How do I relate to her? I had never given her any thought, and now here she was, like a ghost, haunting me—silently demanding attention.
There was such restlessness and bewilderment. I kept turning to people and busyness to fill up this vacuum, only to be left discouraged and more lonely after every encounter. All the venturing forth made me more aware of the gaping holes in the garment of my consciousness.
I cried, wept, bawled, and had wild mood swings. One day I would be chirpy and happy, and other days sullen, moody, depressed. My moods sometimes changed on an hourly basis. Anything could trigger it. I stopped doing things which I loved, such as singing, reading, watching a good movie, etc.
But change is inevitable…right? The good, the bad and the ugly come to pass. I decided that enough was enough. I made a conscious decision that I would live this life with gratitude, Grace, and dignity. I was determined to turn this ship of life around. Believe me; it was easier said than done.
I started off by accepting and acknowledging my restlessness and confusion. It was hard. The mind wanted to scuttle away into the comforting arms of years and self-pity. It tried to sneak away from the unpleasant task of taking a hard look at myself.
I became a mother to myself. I rocked myself tenderly through storms of tears, was brutally honest about my intentions, and reined in my negative self-talk with firmness. I lovingly fed myself morsels of self-love, kindness, and positive self-dialogue.
I curated my day around music, reading, and my tutorials; I tutor young kids—the presence of my students, their laughter, school gossip, teasing lifted my spirits. I spent hours creating grammar worksheets and exercises for them. I started keeping my distance from people who bogged me down—firmly culling the clutter of people who drifted like flotsam on the edges of my life. People who abused me emotionally, who disappeared conveniently at critical times, and who thought my pain was a drama. I threw open the doors of my heart to embrace family and childhood friends who brought me alive; whose acceptance, unconditional support and love helped me to join the pieces of life with laughter and merriment.
The towering presence of my Master is the bedrock of my life’s foundation. The new structure of my life takes strength from its loving and solid support.
I have started painting the picture of my life again on a fresh, clean canvas. I realize gratefully what an awesome opportunity this is. I am adding the vibrant hues of kindness, humor, and love to my life-canvas. The brush strokes are gentle but sure, loving but disciplined.
I do my sadhana with a heart full of gratitude. It keeps me sane, balanced, and grounded. A beautiful tranquility has begun to flower and blossom inside. There are days when I fall off the wagon, but this time I am here for myself.
I plan to do things that make my heart smile. Things that were abandoned. Like singing… Cooking a lovely and nourishing meal. Like getting drenched in the rain… Watching the clouds. Going for walks, taking time to appreciate nature. Enjoying the sunlight on my face… Inhaling the fragrance of rajnigandha and mogra flowers, chattering away, sharing laughter with close friends and family. Sharing from my heart and watching someone’s face light up with smiles. Being authentic and owning my space, dressing graciously, wearing kajal and pretty earrings… Having a cup of coffee with my favorite person, Myself.
A little detachment, a whole lot of acceptance, a pinch of discipline, a dollop of self-love, a liberal dose of laughter, and a big scoop of gratitude has made a world of difference to my inner and outer world.
Peace has descended like a soft, warm blanket. It’s like a warm and secure hug but from inside out. I am holding on too.
PS: What happened to loneliness, you may ask? He is still lurking around. It’s time to pick up the broom and do some house cleaning.
PS: Dil Se…. means ‘From the heart’ in Hindi.