“Human beings are creatures of belonging, though they may come to that sense of belonging only through long periods of exile and loneliness. We belong to life as much through our sense that it is all impossible as we do through the sense that we will accomplish everything we have set out to do.” — David Whyte
Oh dearest creatures of belonging, what have you learned about yourself during your exile and your loneliness?
Who have you become and what yearnings have given you pause?
The truth is, what may have felt impossible this past year is now, in many ways, behind us. We have all accomplished much that we set out to do in order to survive — and that is pretty darn extraordinary.
A year ago today, I taught my last Sunday class before closing the studio doors for who could know how long. Surely, none of us ever thought we’d still be living with so many restrictions a whole year later.
For this anniversary, I could get into all that we suffered and all that we have become in the past year, but I won’t. I think we all recognize and feel the resilience, strength, courage, and quite frankly, the exhaustion.
Traumatic life-altering events seem to sit strongly within a time frame of before and after. Most of us can easily recall where we were on 9/11 and the day of the tragic Newtown massacre.
We know things will never be the same, and eventually, after taking a long and loving look at where we were beforehand, we do our best to come to terms with who we will need to become.
If we are blessed to be surrounded by great company, we do this necessary, difficult, and life-changing work in community. We come together, we sometimes pray, and we do our best to heal.
This time around, however, we did a lot of this learning and reflection in solitude and that has made a whole heck of a lot of difference.
There will be a before the pandemic and an after the pandemic, and life will go on. The question is: will we do this in a way that reflects what we’ve learned about ourselves in solitude?