Cheer Up the Lonely Day
Anyhow, I was glad to learn that "Cheer up the Lonely Day" is a thing, because it seems like the kind of thing we need right now. There are so many chances to be lonely. Many of us are maintaining physical distance, limiting our in person gatherings, avoiding normalcy crowds, spending time on video meetings - holding a carefully crafted paying attention persona. Many of us are grieving losses that provide chances to feel isolated. Many of us experience fear and anxiety about the future. I am wondering: What does life look like in this odd reality of an ongoing pandemic? What kind of grief and loss is yet to come?
One of the main reasons The Care Neighborhood exists is to meet people at points of their loneliness. This is a community of the spiritual/not religious, "nones," and other folk, who might not have the resource of a spiritual care group - like a church. Who will mow our grass when we're stuck in bed sick? Who will make us a casserole when our favorite aunt dies? Who will let us talk about anything we want over a cup of coffee? Who will pitch in for groceries when the paycheck comes up short? Now, The Care Neighborhood is still working out what kind of needs we can practically meet through this virtual space. Nevertheless, my intention is that we will care for each other in real ways.
So, some ideas to CHEER UP THE LONELY seems like a good place to start. But, a caveat before I begin...You are allowed to feel lonely. You are allowed to feel sad, mad, scared, and whatever you feel. It is up to you to accept or reject the cheer. Or maybe isn't such a dichotomy - reject or accept. Maybe you can experience a drop of kindness in your bucket of tough times, and know- in the midst of still feeling lonely - you are loved.
And another side note...I realize - particularly as a chaplain - that people who genuinely love you might say and do crap things to cheer you up. It stinks. You might even fail at your own loneliness self-care. Personally, I'm not proud of my past strategy of dating toxic people at partying too hard. At the same time, I honor that I made decisions and experienced a spectrum of good and bad with that lifestyle.
Let's get to it!
Ideas for Cheer...
1) Spend time with plants / outdoors
2) Snuggle, play with, and/or watch animals
3) Exercise and/or meditate
5) Be indulgent, gentle, cozy.
Please be encouraged to use professional counseling and therapeutic resources as you discern you need them. Loneliness has been an important feeling in my life. So, I'm quite sure I'll address it again in The Care Neighborhood.
I can report that we will have a conversation about Loss and Grief upcoming soon. Daniel of Poignant Passing has agreed to talk with me about this topic. I'm looking forward to collaborating on the chat, and gleaning from his wisdom as he is a certified death doula. You can find out more about Daniel and his services on his website: poignantpassing.com