There was a time during Ramadan in 2014, where I didn’t speak to anyone face to face for two weeks. It was a freak thing where all of my friends a neighbors were away and the few left were fasting and tired and not available. One of the reasons I joined Peace Corps was to experience a new level of loneliness and to discover coping skills for that. I didn’t want my first time truly being deeply lonely to be when I’m 90 and all of my friends and family have passed and now what?!!
|My friend under the stairs|
It sounds silly to me now. Two weeks doesn’t seem that long and for some, perhaps, it's not so mind blowing. I guess the only way to know is to try it and see. A friend of mine completed a 7 day Vipasna which is not isolated from humans but is silence with no eye contact or interaction with those around you along with a strictly regimented meditation and diet. She said it changed her life and was extremely difficult.
For me, I had already been living in a place that was difficult for me to communicate on the deep level that I was craving. Hugging was not a thing and touching was pretty rare except with my very close friends. Even handshakes are really only the tips of fingers touching. I was developing awesome but still new friendships and the culture was vastly different from mine so I was an extreme oddity to most people in my rural village which is also very isolating. People most often respond to oddities with fear, aggression, anger, and caution before they become used to you. We humans are complicated creatures that don't always begin with empathy in mind. I was already extremely lonely and now there are no people anywhere around me in an isolated Javanese village.
|Do you see the Javanese princes with a Javanese man behind her?|
I played the shape game with the cracks on the walls, I went for walks, I watched movies, I cooked, I rode my bike, I meditated, I prayed, I reached out via internet, I read, and the list goes on.
|A defeated Godzilla|
|The shapes in my concrete wall|
"Depression is a lack of expression. If you're feeling depressed move something, do something, write something, make something - just move your energy forward."
- To feel restored and grounded, I singing and playing instruments.
- To feel peace, I do something to improve my space.
- To feel a sense of accomplishment, I work on my artwork, blog, and photography.
- To feel love and belonging, I call a list of friends and family for a chat.
What do you find lifts you out of the dis-empowering funk of loneliness, depression, or sadness?
If I could be of service to you in helping you discover which creative activities help you find balance and joy (even if you don’t believe you have a creative bone in your body), I invite you to contact me at WithJamieJ.com.
Many blessings on your journey!