I was excited to move here last December. Excited about the fresh start, but nervous about being in a brand new place where I knew no one.
I’m meeting new people and getting out and about most days, but because of illness and loss I haven’t had a “day job” in three years.
After a few months spent unpacking and putting things in their places, I began to obsess about what I call my “alone-ness.” Not loneliness, but just the condition of being by myself most of the time. The very word, which I invented, began to dominate my thoughts; I became preoccupied with transforming it in some way, processing it, or just getting rid of it.
When I was in the hospital for depression last year, I had only one visitor in three weeks, an old friend who kindly came up from Maryland to spend a few hours with me on a weekend, trying to cheer me up. My children were in college and unable to make the trip; they were too busy with classes and part-time jobs.
Most of the time I dreaded visiting hours, because there I sat, alone. Was I headed back in that direction again?
Today I looked up the origin of the word and was simply flabbergasted. The Oxford English Dictionary states that alone is derived from the Middle English ALL + ONE. Go figure!
As I said, I knew I didn’t feel lonely, just solitary, more or less unaccompanied. I’m an extrovert by nature; I like being around people and having things happening all the time. So now, due to events and circumstances that dictated my alone-ness, had I simply entered the ultimate Zen state — was I ALL with the ONE? Or vice versa? And not liking it one single bit? It was too much for me to wrap my head around.
My search for possible answers led me to Mother Nature, as I turned to the tool of animal messaging that served me well in the past. When an animal appears to me in a dramatic or frequent fashion, I've come to learn that there is usually a personal message there.
For the last few days I've been seeing tiny spiders pop up; I even had one crawling across my laptop while working on my front porch the other day. Spiders can signify creativity, and in some cultures it's said they are the origin of the alphabet by virtue of the whimsical webs that arise from their own expressive source. They speak of infinite possibilities because they are eight-legged (eight turned sideways is the symbol for infinity).
They also raise the issue of being imprisoned or stuck — trapping of prey is, after all, the very purpose of the web they weave.
So I’ve interpreted these spider sightings to mean that my alone-ness is simply a gift — a gift of free time in which to pursue the writing and creating that has become a new purpose in my life. It makes even more sense to me now, since for six weeks or so my writing efforts had slowed to a crawl, and I'd been feeling literally “stuck.”
My book project hit an unexpected snag or two, and I’d put it on the back burner. I wanted someone to come along and show me the way out, to jump start my engine, to get me back on track.
I think spider came to tell me otherwise, to remind me that I can get unstuck by myself, that I need to just get back to work. So if you’re suffering from “alone-ness” like me, even if you’re busy as ever and surrounded by activity, take a good look around for clues from the animal world. What critters or creatures or bugs have been popping up in your vicinity, or even in your dreams, that might seem unusual or perhaps even annoying?
They are probably coming to offer help or advice. You might be surprised by what you discover, if you choose to explore their significance. If you’d like resources for interpreting animal messages, just let me know. I’d be happy to share mine with you.
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