The Importance of Being Alone by Sarah Cummins

Amidst the daily tasks; work, family, chores, travel to and from, how many of us have time, or take the time to be with ourselves? Some find being alone a time to recharge, but what do you do with that time?  I recently had some spare hours to myself. Unusually and completely alone.  I found myself wondering what I should do with that time. I felt the urge to call a friend and share a glass of wine and conversation.  I toyed with the idea of binge watching my current favorite flick on Netflix.  Instead something pulled me to use this rare moment to just be with me.  I set the ambience for a bath with the candles, salts and oils and turned on an episode of Inner Peace Yoga Therapy podcast to lie back and soak in the teachings of one of my most inspiring teachers, Jessica Patterson.  Jessica spoke timely and eloquently about satsang, svadhyaya, and conscious presence and I wondered to myself if I would ever have the amount of wisdom my teachers have.  Jessica then shared a piece of a poem I had never heard; “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  The timing was ever so perfect as I read the words, “I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” It was as if the Universe was saying, “Hold on, don’t go anywhere, we are just getting started.”  So, I continued to listen and enjoy just being with me.

Comfy in my pajamas under a warm blanket, I curled up to read the words of yoga therapist, Jennie Lee in her book True Yoga for my refresher of the sutras.  My reading happened to be Aparigraha, to non-covet or in Jennie’s translation which I prefer, to cultivate gratitude.  I took a deep breath in and breathed in this moment with gratitude.  Quiet solitude, just me, my thoughts, and the wisdom of my teachers.   I was yearning for yet more wise words, so I reached out to my oracle cards.  Yet another thing that I discovered at yoga therapy school with the beautiful beings that had joined me on that adventure to fulfilling my dharma.  I meditated, asking for guidance, and pulled a card that stated I should connect with the hidden places of my soul and create a sacred space of tratak and invite the meditation to reveal its gifts.  So far in these precious hours, I had really enjoyed the company I keep.

In the night, I dreamt a vivid dream I was certain had a message, a gift.  When I awoke, I remembered the words another favorite Inner Peace teacher, Lisa Pearson, had spoken to me about the importance of dream recall, so following her instruction, this is what I remember.

A young woman in a flowing dress, soft ringlets in her hair waving in the gentle breeze. She stands next to a body of water and is fishing.  The image resembling an oil painting by Vincent Van Gogh.  The woman catches a very large fish and she struggles, reeling it in and shortly through the struggle, the fish escapes the line and swims away.  Almost immediately, a small fish bites the lure and she reels it towards her with great ease.  The woman is frustrated and disappointed, and she can think only of the bigger fish as she reels and how it got away, how she wished she could have done something different, something better.  As the small fish reaches the shoreline, the big fish that got away, out of nowhere, eats the smaller fish and she lands both ashore with exuberance and gratitude, her disappointment has quickly turned to joy.  At that moment, the woman hears the sound of a voice deep and mysterious, not sure who is speaking, she listens and feels its presence around her and within her.  The peaceful yet commanding voice says, “Beautiful child, the world’s best artists don’t paint their perfect picture the first time. Even God didn’t perfect his story the first time, he called for rain and floods for 40 days and nights and had Noah build an ark.  With practice, gratitude and grace the wisdom will come. You have all you need, all you have to do is be patient and listen.”

As I put down my pen in the darkness of the night, writing down the images and the words I had heard, a smile crossed my face.  I was given a gift that night for sure, the gift of wise words from the teachers before me and the gift of moments alone, enjoying the moments of the company I keep. For without this empty moment, I surely never would have heard the message I needed to hear.

I challenge you to find the quiet moments and sit with yourself.  Get to know you and listen to what your soul has to say.  You may smile at the message you hear.

Article contributed by Sarah Cummins, RYT500, E-RYT200, YACEP, YWT, CPT, Pain Care Yoga teacher, and Yoga Therapist in training with Inner Peace Yoga Therapy. Sarah Cummins is owner of Waterfall Yoga LLC, and an experienced yoga teacher who empowers individuals to embody their own intuitive ability to be free of physical and emotional pain and obtain ultimate healing through the holistic practices of yoga therapy.  As a military spouse, currently stationed in Wichita, KS, Sarah has over 1600 hours of global teaching experience.  Her dream is to one day open up Waterfall Yoga Therapy and Retreat Center on her land nestled in the smoky hills with the sounds of her majestic waterfall cascading nearby.  Click here to learn to learn more.