Wishing to be left alone

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

Do you wish that the world would just leave you alone?

From the moment you wake till the time you lay your head on the pillow at night, your day, each and every day, is jam-packed with demands left, right and centre.

For some it’s the demanding boss, for others the nagging wife, perhaps the house to clean, the bills to pay, the groceries to buy, and so on and so on.

When the world becomes just too much to handle, all I’ve wanted is for everyone and everything to leave me alone. I bet you have too.

Retreating to the cave

Sometimes I just need to sit in a small room and close the door, or hide under the duvet for ten minutes and shut myself off from the world.

Perhaps it’s a man thing, from back in the stone age when men had the luxury of the cave. You know, that cosy dark place where a guy can think things through and emerge with strength and clarity.

But we live in a different world, where there is just far too much begging for our attention.

Actually, we are always alone

Even though we may crave being left alone, it turns out that actually we are always alone. Truly alone.

All situations that we experience in life, whether pleasurable or painful, will arise whether we want them to or not. Yet they are temporary, and so will only linger for a finite time.

All the people that we are surrounded by, and all the love they shower on us or the demands they throw upon us, will come and go, whether we want them to or not. They too are here for just a finite time, whether for just a few seconds or over eighty years.

Nomatter how hard we try, we can never truly change the situations that we are experiencing. It will end at its own natural time. In the same way, we can never truly change anyone and force them to behave differently — they will change or go at their own natural time.

Equally, nobody can change a situation for us — every situation we are faced with, we have to endure ourselves. Other people can offer their love and strength and support, but they cannot change what we are experiencing in that present moment.

So for that reason, we are always alone.

But we’re not wired to keep this fundamental truth at the forefront of our mind. If we were always aware of it, then we’d giggle at the futility of placing all our happiness in what will inevitably change.

So what can we do to remind ourselves that we are always alone, and to use that to cope with any situation?

Becoming alone in the midst of a turbulent world

Regardless of what is happening in the world around us, or who is coming or going, it is possible to find solitude, to find peace, to regain strength and clarity.

It is possible to take care of matters you are faced with, tackling them head-on with a clear head and a warm heart.

Here are some steps I take to develop alone-ness to support me with any overwhelming situation:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Accept that it is meant to be this way, that this present moment cannot be different.
  3. Let go of trying to force it to be something else.
  4. Shift focus onto the greatest virtues of the majestic people who live around us and have lived among us.
  5. Immerse into the feeling of joy when thinking about those qualities and virtues.
  6. Carry that joyful feeling into the task now faced with.
  7. Respond to that situation with calm and purpose.

Once you start to discover the alone-ness in any situation, it becomes easier to cope with the day-to-day demands of the world. In fact, it makes it easier to feel good in any situation.

If you wish to be left alone, what helps you to cope with overwhelm? Share your alone-ness tips and thoughts on the above at Google+

4 stages of bereavement

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

From shock to strength: it does get better

In our day to day lives, loss affects each of us on some scale.

There can be smaller losses such as dropping some loose change from a pocket, or a slight scratch on a brand new car.

At other times there may be significant losses, such as a house burning down, the loss of eyesight, or even the death of a loved one.

The type of loss we will explore here is the one you go through when someone close to you passes away.

Loss that leads to bereavement

Along with loss comes bereavement – a range of feelings over time that arise from that loss.

If you are facing a significant loss yourself, or are seeking to support someone who is going through a major loss, you may notice a pattern of bereavement that is common for many people.

The four stages of bereavement

There are four common stages of bereavement:

  1. immediate shock
  2. unable to accept
  3. depression
  4. renewal

However, keep in mind that we are all different. Grief is individual, and the way and order in which we grieve will vary.

Stage 1: Immediate reaction of shock

As soon as the death occurs, and over the following hours and days, you may be in a state of shocked disbelief.

Alternatively, instead of immediate shock, you may be rather calm and detached.

Either reaction is natural and understandable.

Stage 2: Unable to accept

At this stage, you may think that the person you have lost is still physically with you.

You are unable to accept the loss, and at some level are denying that the death has occurred.

You may make mistakes that may confuse or frighten you. Examples include:

  • waking up and expecting them to be lying next to you.
  • going downstairs in the morning and expecting them to be in the kitchen as usual, lovingly preparing breakfast for you.
  • laying a place for them at the dinner table.
  • calling the family down for dinner and calling their name out too.

This might freak you out a bit, but it is all normal. Daily habits are so deeply ingrained that they will continue to be part of your day.

Stage 3: Depressed and alone

No matter how many people are around you, or how much support you receive, you will have small moments or even long periods of time when you feel lost, alone and confused.

This could span across many many months.

You may question your own faith, your faith in God, faith in other people, and even faith in yourself.

You may lose interest in everything and may want to shut yourself off from the world.

You may question whether even your own life is worth living.

This may be a very heavy and lonely time.

Even this phase passes.

Stage 4: Renewed strength and focus

Eventually, as the pain eases, you find yourself being able to think about the person you have lost, without feeling sad.

This is a chance to recommence life with a renewed sense of strength and focus.

You could continue with old interests, or you could take up new pursuits.

Do you feel disloyal to the person who has died?

Remember that they are always a part of you, and you can allow yourself to enjoy the present.

There was a man whose wife had died. They had been married over 25 years. 18 months after she died, he took up salsa classes and started dating. He had discovered how to have fun again and his spirit was renewed.

From shock to strength: it does get better

From the moment the death occurs, you may feel grief and sadness, but you may also experience feelings of anger, fear, self-pity or even panic.

You don’t need to hide them – they are a part of your bereavement.

Share these feelings with a sympathetic listener – it does help.

Some of your friends may avoid you – this happens. It is most likely that they are embarrassed and don’t know what to say. Be understanding. Take the first step and let them know you need their support.

Grief is a very isolating process – we feel as if no-one could possibly experience what we are going through. But millions of people around the world have been through it, and they are doing fine now.

Whatever stage of bereavement you are at, remember that the pain will pass and life will again be full of strength, focus and joy.