This week is Loneliness Awareness Week offering us a chance to explore the many diverse ways loneliness is experienced. With a third of the population living alone it might be thought that here is where all loneliness dwells. Yet in listening to some of the programs and phone-ins on the subject it becomes apparent that this is not the case. One person reflected that there is no loneliness like being in an unhappy marriage. Another mentioned a very full life, yet was still experiencing a deep sense of isolation. Living alone will certainly enhance any feelings of isolation just as much as feeling that no-one really `gets you`.
I just wonder if loneliness is not so much a state of living alone, or with little company, but more related to the quality of the company. Human beings all need three things, to be really seen, to be listened to and to be held in unconditional acceptance and love. Sometimes life can feel like a timelapse film, the world rushing by while we stand immobile: no-one stopping long enough to listen to the answer as we say `hi` and ` how are you?` whilst actively walking past them at the same time with no intention of stopping to listen.
Maybe, just for today, we could each be mindful when speaking to others, focus on them fully, stop and really see them before moving on? How respectful to give this mindfulness and how unifying to receive it.