Saturday, March 1, 2008

RADWARM101: A Toolkit for Loneliness

I'm gonna start doing this more often. Like a college class for the ones I love, I feel I need to break down some things into simple formulas so that people can extract some of the lessons I don't clearly outline about my experience. Remember, I AM NOT THE MASTER, I am simply, humbly, sharing insights that come my way due to circumstance, anyone could learn these things if they came here too.

Lesson 1: A Toolkit For Loneliness

Everyone gets lonely. I get very lonely. I'm on friggin Island in the Bering Sea with 150+ kassak distancing Eskimo people and 5 white people. Loneliness can be scary, depressing, painful and maddening. Therefore I've compiled short course on the subject and its cure.

There are three central laws of loneliness that need to be observed before I outline activities to make it go away.

The single most important First Law Of Loneliness is that it exists in a realm of unstimulated body and mind. Specifically, it is very difficult to be lonely when you are busy.

The Second Law of Loneliness states that loneliness is exponential. This basically means that once it has begun it grows more in amplitude than in time. A small seed of loneliness can grow into a fruit of depression, sadness or resentment. In no time at all a lonely person may find themselves in a fully infected funk situation. Getting the funk is like getting a viral Flu, you can alleviate the symptoms but you have to let it run its course. This could last a day, week, year and god help you a decade if left untreated.

The Third Law of Loneliness summarizes the central problem: No one else can cure loneliness. It is a condition of the self, not of lack of others. I know this is a hard pill to swallow, but loneliness can only be cured by the person who it infects.

So what can you do? What can be done?

Step 1: Put music on, this starts the stimulation of the senses. The level of happy music must reflect the level of the infection. I fully inflamed case may require Bob Marley, some bluegrass, or in only the most dire of infections James Brown. The point of the music is to stimulate the mind on something happy, make you move your body (dance baby) or to simply give a new atmosphere to the lonely room you are stuck in. DO NOT WATCH TV, it doesn't cure anything.

Step 2: Light incense, candles or anything that smells good. (Stimulates the mind on happiness). It is widely known that smells can encourage positive thought.

Step 3: Make something warm (or cold if you're in a hot place) to drink. This will offer a nice contrast to the cold heart you might have at the moment. I like to make coffee (good coffee), tea or a nice cup of hot chocolate. This will stimulate your taste buds on something good!

Step 4: Do something. Yes, even though you are depressed, sad, self loathing and wrapped up in burrito of your own self doubt, peel your ass off the couch and do something. If you are stuck in an arctic frozen hell, then you have to do something inside cuz its friggin freezing outside, if you are not go outside, to a park or a beach or a forest, you will feel better instantly.

Here is a list of indoor activities:
-Write on your blog about your loneliness, psych! Write about your day, the weather anything.
-Play an instrument, oh you don't play? Start to learn its fun.
-Draw a picture, paint, color. "I'm not an artist..." How do you know? When was the last time
you tried?
-COOK something. A full belly is a full heart. If you're not hungry then bake something, get a cookbook and make some cookies or a pie. Who can't feel happy when fresh cookies come out of the oven? Exactly
-Take a shower or a bath. Get a clean start on your day.
-Bury yourself in some good old fashioned house cleaning. (not sounding fun, well you can dance around with the broom and mop because your listening to James Brown, smelling incense sipping on a hot cup of tea, so its actually pretty fun)
-In a similar vein, bury yourself in some good old fashioned house projects, work or neglected assignments. (Remember if you do it with tunes, smells, and tea its ok, besides your lonely, it can't get worse)
-Call a friend, chat on the internet, or skype someone. You will be amazed at how unlonely you can feel in a room by yourself.
-Read through really old emails and write someone you haven't contacted in a very long time.
-Write a letter to someone, its an ancient lost art that should not be allowed to do by way of email.
-Read a book (not about loneliness)
-Meditate (or try, learn how to).
-Exercise, push ups, sit ups, dips, jumping jacks (to music obviously)
-Play with your pets if you have one, (releases happy chemicals in your brain)
-Write in a journal, write a poem, write write write.

You can add many activities to this list that I have not; knit, throw darts, fix your car, paint your apartment, build a model, weld etc.

You'll notice I didn't include praying in the list, I don't and have never really believed in the common conception of "God" as many people do so this isn't something I do. If it is part of your reality and is a positive force in your life then try it I guess, but remember, this is a course on what YOU can do about YOUR situation through YOUR OWN actions.

Step 5: Think about good things. Go to your happy place. Mine is at the edge of the water at Trinity Beach in Queensland Australia, or in the sun with my brother playing horsehoes or badminton. I look at pictures sometimes. Think about good times you've had, or good things still to come. If you must live in the present (serious cases of funk) then make a gratitude list of only all the good things in your life.

Step 6: Go to the Post Office, Grocery Store, or anywhere that you can go. Getting moving is good for the perspective. Try to make small connections with service workers. They might appreciate it more than you know.

If you do all those things and you are still lonely then you're in some pretty murky territory. I don't really know how to help you at this point because these things work for me most of the time. Even though your are doing these things alone you won't notice because your brain will be too busy working. The point being that you need to keep you mind busy until the next time you are not actually alone. For some people this will be a day or a week, for some of us it can be much longer. So you have to look at it like training, like medicine, like a workout. You simply can't just be not lonely, this only happens when you truly are not. If you are, you need to do something about it otherwise it will escalate.

This concludes the Lesson on Loneliness. Your homework is to try out these things and see if they help.

Remember, you are where you're at because, well, thats where you are, if you were somewhere else doing something else with somebody else then you wouldn't be you, you'd be someone else and that isn't real. So if you are you by yourself then only you by yourself can get yourself back on track. Hope this all helps.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have such a way of helping those around you, whether it is your students or your blog readers. I take this lesson to heart, not that I am depressed or lonely but that no matter the mood, I am in control of myself and my emotional direction. This is a good lesson to know and live by. Thanks for that.

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