"All alone in a crowd."
This one may sting for a lot of us.
Loneliness is difficult... Perhaps one of the most difficult feelings for humans, as social creatures, to process. Loneliness in a crowd adds insult to injury, especially if everyone else seems to belong. Belonging is typically not automatic; people have to find belonging, often even within their own families. Many of us who do not meet the traditional social paradigms find ourselves feeling on the outs for much of our lives. This feeling can be a major cause of, or contributor to, the force of chaos we call rootlessness (Enwatzeling, Entwatzeling, or Watzellosichkeet). Rootlessness is not the same as independence or individualism. It is the utter lack of connection to others that can lead to a general lack of concern for others' welfare or the state of society. Rootlessness is actually one of the things that most denominations of Heathenry, including Urglaawe, aim to address.
Loneliness, rootlessness, and other feelings of being adrift are among the most difficult things for the individual to address. Depression is often a factor, as are the wounds from prior damaged relationships, traumatic experiences, lack of safety and security, etc.
None of these feelings hits me particularly often. I am particularly wary of rootlessness, and I am fortunate to have access to my family, kindred, and ethnic community, which help to keep the roots fresh. Also, though, one of my life's purposes is to fight rootlessness and to build opportunities for communities to develop.
Yet I sometimes feel alone in a crowd. It makes no logical sense, but insecurity is often not logical. I know my triggers for this sense, and many of them are things that I tried to expel from myself in my 30's (see Night 9's musing). Yet they are still on the shadow side, and it occasionally only takes some sort of rejection or loss for the feeling to emerge. Then comes that lack of a sense of belonging; logically, I know better, but there it is.
True shadow expressions can result in expressions of ill will based in jealousy. This I have under control pretty well and it rarely happens. Instead, when this happens, I retreat into myself and feel like I am unworthy of love. It's such a waste of time, yet it happens, and I am quite sure it happens to many people. What's even worse is that, at those moments, there's usually a bunch of friends and family upon whom I could rely for the love and acceptance that I feel is lacking, but I am instead lost in the misery of disconnection.
Disconnection sucks. It is one thing to take time too oneself. It is another thing not to even have the option of being connected. Seeing the world going on around oneself at those times is painful. Seeing people having fun, going places, or connected while you are feeling lonely and disconnected can deepen the feelings, develop rancor, etc. The cycle feeds upon itself and can express itself in attempts for approval at any costs, doing whatever is necessary to fit in, and making bad decisions for the appearance of being accepted. Next thing I know, all the crap that I described in the prior nights' musings are at the fore, and I am distracted from the beneficial work I have to do and from my life's purpose. This is why rootlessness is a force of chaos. It is important to keep that fact in the conscious mind and not to fall victim to traps of one's own making.
The remaining stag's light is getting dimmer. The darkest nights are upon us. The shadows are at their strongest; the liminal beings are on the move. Still, these pondering, whether my own or those that others are sharing with me, are empowering. I have learned a lot over the past ten nights. I have confessed to myself and, occasionally, to others the things I have learned.
Tomorrow's meditation will likely be on imposter syndrome.
In the meantime, I will tonight be happy for the community I have, the things I have built, the compassion and love that flows among my friends and me, and the connections that I have in my daily life. Although I may feel like it sometimes, I am most certainly not alone in a crowd.