Aloneness and “emptiness” as love


nest photo for blog

“Youth always tries to fill the void, an old man learns to live with it.”

-Mark Z. Danielewski, author

January can be a tough month for some as the stillness of winter sets upon us following an often frantic holiday season.  After much social activity, many find themselves with alone time.  To some, the increased solitude is a welcome relief.  To others, too much alone time can feel challenging.

For much of my life, I disliked being alone.  At times, it was darn right terrifying.  For me, like many who were “abandoned” by not receiving healthy nurturance as a child, I equated being alone with being unsafe, not protected, and out on a limb without a comfortable place to be held and supported.

As an adult, the early years as a single parent to two young children post divorce were the hardest.  I missed having a sounding board in which to share parenting concerns.  I had to be strong for others beyond myself.  Slowly, though, through lots of prayer and healing work, I came to enjoy my aloneness.  I still had many lonely moments, but they were not scary like when I was a young girl.

Now, I am flourishing in my aloneness as an empty nester who for the first time in her life has not had to be the super-responsible one, caring for so many others.

New friends and activities, and a deeper connection with God through quiet walks and meditating, are filling up the “empty” spaces in my life.

I am full, centered and living “on purpose” in so many unique ways (as will be shared in future blogs).

Still, looking back on all the years of angst during my “alone” moments, I wish someone had told me the brilliant line which Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love shared in his first video:  “Emptiness is not abandonment.”  Ah-ah.  That one line can shift thoughts from “lack” and “hurt” to an opening to something much larger.

Emptiness, in fact, is often a time to take inventory of the fullness of our lives.  The time between relationships, jobs or activities can be a fruitful “pause” to feel genuine, unconditional love for ourselves.

This month, try reframing any thinking that you are alone due to rejection or feelings of being  “less than” or unworthy of companionship to enjoying the richness of your own being.

In truth, we are all alone in the world, sometimes sharing moments with another.  Each soul has a unique voyage, whether it is partnered or not.  Love from another can uplift us, but it can never take away the “emptiness.”

Accept the “empty moments” as gifts of transformation—and see what is brought to you this year that adds to your fullness.



1.    I allow myself to embrace the fullness of my aloneness.

2.    I allow myself to accept the pauses in life as gifts of transformation.

Beth Shedd’s photo of a bird’s nest in winter reminds us that “emptiness” is not something to fear…rather, it can bring us back into our own soul. Beth loves photographing things that have an optimistic twist.


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  • Beth scanzani says:

    How perfect to read your wise words this morning, as I pause to enjoy some quiet and nourishing alone time.

    • Gail says:

      Beth: I am happy that my words coincided with your choice to indulge in some alone time this morning. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. May your soul feel pampered. Gail

  • Andrea says:

    What a great reminder as things start to get quiet. So glad to see you blogging again!

    • Gail says:

      Thanks, Andrea: Great to be back at my blogging. I took a break to integrate all my changes of late, and as you know, I like to “walk my talk” before writing about it. Happy New Year! Gail

  • Is it just me, or is there a heart in the center of the bird’s nest? Beautiful photo. Isn’t it amazing what a huge impact the stories we make up have on us?! I’m a big fan of the philosophy: If you’re going to make up a story, make up one that makes you feel good! It takes constant practice but is worth the effort.

    • Gail says:

      Lyndra: You are correct. There is a heart in the center of the bird’s nest. My brilliant photographer, Beth Shedd, captured this photo specifically for the blog post. I will be writing a future blog on her and her work, as I showcase later this year some of my “team” members who have made collaboration and growth so much more fun. And, yes, making up “good stories” is worth the effort. Happy 2014…Gail

  • Linda says:

    So beautifully written to help those who struggle with feeling alone. I thrive on my alone time and never have a sense of emptiness when I am. In fact it fills me up so thank you for expressing to those who don’t feel this that they can have a paradigm shift of being alone at times in our life as a gift that can keep on giving.

    • Gail says:

      I think those who are single sometimes feel the “aloneness” more deeply, especially during the holiday season when the focus is on family and connection. Reframing the feelings as “temporary” helps, too.

  • Dirk says:

    A beautiful, insightful piece, Gail. The irony of being alone is that a person can feel like they’re “missing out” on “something” when in fact being alone affords us the opportunity to focus on the present moment in ways we can’t when in the company of others. Of course humans are social animals and isolation can have a major negative effect on our psyche. But as you say we need to cherish the time we spend by ourselves as much as we do being with others. I liked the way you point out the difference between “alone” and “lonely”. You put into words what I’ve been feeling, Gail. Thanks

    • Gail says:

      Thanks, Dirk: And you articulate so well the “present moment” gifts of our aloneness. I really appreciate your thoughtful comment and sharing with my readers. Gail

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