Thursday, January 18, 2018

Attachment, Actually

When I came out as gay, I set off on a quixotic quest of finding a boyfriend. I just had to have a boyfriend. I needed to be accepted. No, I needed to feel accepted. If some cute guy accepted and loved me, then I could accept myself. I’d be okay being gay. I’d feel I was fine. I would finally feel loved.

I made some mistakes in those first few feeble attempts at finding love. At 25, I was now living those angst-filled teenage years of trying to figure out what I wanted in a partner. I would sleep with them on the first date, and never hear from them again. I then realized that giving away the farm was no way to hang on to them. So, I decided not to sleep with them on the first date, and I still wouldn’t hear from them again. I was damned if I did, and damned if I didn’t.

So, I stopped dating.

I tried focusing on making friends and seeing where things went.

I had joined two social groups, one for gay teachers where I went to one event and never went back. I also joined an Evangelical Christian group offering support for LGBTQ Christians, and that lasted a few years until my spirituality evolved.

I eventually met my first partner through a friend who I met outside of those groups. Because my future first partner did come back after the first date and the second and third ones, I was finally feeling happy. I was ecstatic. At last, I had a boyfriend!

We eventually moved in together and life was grand.

I felt complete.

And then he died.

And I moved on.

With the first man who came along afterwards.

And things were good and comfortable and I was happy again. We were doing things my first partner wasn’t comfortable doing. We were going to social clubs as a couple. We joined a gay square dance club as a couple. We went to Pride together as a couple. We had a social life that included other gay men. (It seems that my first partner was a bit insecure and felt threatened by other men.)

In time, things changed. And I am single again. 

In both relationships, I could never describe myself as hopelessly, ecstatically over the moon, happily in love. Neither man could fully give me what I wanted or needed in a relationship as much as they wanted to. And I take ownership for that because I wasn’t clear on what I wanted or needed from them. Yet, I stayed, hoping things would improve. They never did.

It seemed I was searching for someone else to complete me when the only person who can truly do that is me.

I needed the relationships so I could feel complete, feel validated, and to fill a void.

It seems I was attached to the idea of a relationship rather than seeing a relationship for what it should be.

A perfect relationship is when two people come together to offer unconditional love, support and encouragement to help the other reach their greatest good and highest potential all the while striving to reach your own highest potential as well.

No relationship is perfect. Nor easy.

I say I was attached to the relationship. I did love both men, but I loved the idea of being part of a couple more. Attachment is when we use outside elements to fill an internal void. We become dependent on them for internal validation. We can be attached to material possessions to fill a void of low self-esteem; we might think "if I have the perfect car, the best house in the best neighborhood, the most impressive job title or career, a trophy spouse or even just a relationship then other people will think highly of me, therefore I can think highly of myself. If I don’t have all those things, or even just the one that’s most important to me, I’d feel incomplete."

And yet, not one of those things is permanent. Car accidents happen, house values collapse, careers fail, trophy spouses tarnish, relationships end, then what?

The only thing that is permanent is one’s own sense of self-worth.

I believe the most important relationship to have is a relationship with your Self.

But, how do you have a relationship with yourself? 

The same way you have a relationship with someone else; spend time with YOU!
  • Go to dinner and a movie alone;
  • Ask yourself those questions you’d ask someone on a first date, or a fifth date;
  • Meditate-see what comes up;
  • Learn to enjoy your own company;
  • Practice self-care;
  • Find out what you want;
  • Find your passion;
  • Find out what gives you joy. Then pursue it.
In short, find out WHO you are, your truest, most authentic self. The more grounded you are in your authenticity, the less you will rely on someone else to complete you.

It’s easy, and tempting, to go from one relationship right into another after one ends. Our ego wants us to feel validated, desirable, and loved once again. Mine did. But, we need adequate time to reflect over and grieve the end of the first relationship before embarking on another one. We need to be as healed as possible before subjecting ourselves to potentially being wounded again. By doing this repeatedly, we might even run the risk of becoming relationship dependent. It’s like an athlete who strains a muscle. They are told to rest for a given period of time allowing that muscle to heal. Yet, many athletes get anxious, restless, and eager to get to training again. So, they return full force to their sport before they should, often aggravating the muscle even more. Our heart is a muscle, literally and figuratively. We need to treat it with love, gentleness and respect allowing it to heal between relationships. 

I’ve learned if you place your happiness in the hands of others, they’ll drop it nearly every time.

In this time I’m spending on my own, I’m learning to validate myself, so I don’t need anyone else to.

In this time alone, I’m learning to love myself first, so I don’t need anyone else to.

In this time on my own, I’m learning to create my own happiness, so I hang on to it.

In this time, I’m learning to enjoy my own company, so I don’t end up with someone just to avoid being lonely.

I’m developing this relationship with my Self, so that if someone does come along, and I choose to be with him, it won’t be out of a need, a fear, or some other reason.

It will be because it feels like the right thing to do. 


Friday, January 12, 2018

On Hold

It pains me to say this yet again because I do believe people have good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with them. The intentions, not the people.

It was recently brought to my attention that I should not put my life on hold.

For anything. 

Or anyone.

And that caused me to think. 

What does "putting one’s life on hold" really look like?

I believe life is a journey of continued mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual growth.

Yes, I included physical because even though we stop growing up when we reach adulthood, we can, and should, continue to develop our bodies to maintain good health. And to avoid growing out.

And as long as we are growing, are we putting our lives on hold?

No.

Well, not in my opinion.

It seems to some, that because I’m not living my life according to what they think is appropriate for me, I’ve put my life on hold.

Because I’m not actively dating, like they are, I’ve put my life on hold.

Because I’m not overly social, like they are, I’ve put my life on hold.

Because I believe a certain area of my life isn’t over, and I’m not moving forward based on what they would do in a similar situation, I’ve put my life on hold.

Yet, because I am living my life the way I am, I still see myself growing in my emotional, mental, and spiritual health. I admit to needing to work on my physical health, and because I believe all four areas are interconnected, it will get better as I continue to work on the other three, but I must also address it for the other three to continue to improve as well.

Very often, in two parent households, one parent may stay home to help raise any children while the other parent earns money for the family’s necessities.

Has the stay-at-home parent put their life on hold?

I don’t think so as long as they are still growing in some of those areas I mentioned above and learning about themselves. (Disclaimer: I know not all people are spiritual, or maintain spiritual beliefs and practices, so as long as they are growing in the areas that matter to them, they are still growing.) I also know many parents learn more about themselves as parents which is still growth.

I also think that if you’re happy where you are, you have not put your life on hold.

I am, so I haven’t. So there.

California Gray whale off the coast of Long Beach, CA
I also believe we are the only source of our own happiness. No one else has the power to make us happy, because happiness is an inside job. If we depend on someone else to make us happy, we will be let down time after time.

When someone new comes along and we consider a relationship with them, we can choose to enter that relationship. Or not. That new person could could be a physically perfect specimen in our eyes, may try everything in the book to make us happy, be totally infatuated with us (but in a healthy way) yet if we're not happy on the inside, nothing will change that until we're ready to be happy with ourselves. You can lead the horse to the water or even bring it to the horse, but if that horse isn't thirsty, nothing will make it drink. Until it's ready.

As I have taken this time to work on myself, I have discovered I’m more introverted than I thought I was. Or, maybe I’m becoming more introverted with age. Or, perhaps I’m becoming more introverted when I see what’s out there. This all means social situations make me anxious due to the small talk and idle chit-chat. Plus, I’ve also discovered I’m mildly empathic which means crowds overwhelm me and drain me of my energy. 

So, dating is a big turn off and parties can be a nightmare.

I know that I need to learn to manage my introverted and empathic natures. In this new year, I will be taking steps in those directions, on my terms and conditions.

I also know that I need to detach from that moment when some well-meaning person decides to share their unsolicited advice on how I need to live my life according to what they believe is right for me. I need to simply let them spout off like a whale surfacing from the depths of the ocean, take a breath and then dive back into the stillness of the waters.

I also need to disarm my harpoon gun before it goes off and someone gets hurt.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Swamp

I sometimes wake with a song running through my mind, an earworm, I believe it’s called. I’ve read that your subconscious could be telling you something by bringing that particular earworm to your attention.

But, I had an experience of a different kind the other day. 

Instead of a song running through my brain, it was an image, which seemed pressed to the inside of my eyelids. An eyeworm?

Like an earworm, this eyeworm was not static, it was fluid, like a movie. I’d call it a dream if I wasn’t beginning to wake up.

I remember being in a flat bottomed boat moving slowly through mangroves with Spanish moss hanging down from the trees and the sunlight filtering down through the canopy. It was very peaceful and quiet.

If it’s thought that an earworm might be a message from your subconscious, what is this eyeworm? Could it also be a message from my subconscious?

I believe it is.

I’ve written how I don’t see myself connecting with the gay community much any more. Far too many of my attempts at dating have left me wondering if anyone values honesty any longer. Far too many focus on the body rather than the mind, the heart or the soul of the individual or, more importantly, of themselves. Far too many feel the need to keep one eye open in case someone better comes along. Far too many latch on to someone instead of spending time with themselves for fear of uncovering painful truths or realizations.

I believe the image I saw in my eyeworm was meant to show the beauty of a swamp, an area some might not think of as beautiful. Yes, a swamp has its challenges. You don’t swim the water because of the alligators, water moccasins, or the fact the water isn’t very clean because it’s quite stagnant. Yet, the beauty is still there.

Even though the gay community has its own water mocassins-the ageism, the body shaming, the racism, the superficiality, the melodrama, the perfectionism, the hypersexualism-it also has its beauty.

We are creative-dancers, actors, designers, singers, composers…

We are diverse-all races, genders, sexualities, capabilities…

We are caring and nurturing. When young people have succumbed to the effects of bullying, community members have rallied, when possible, to help the surviving parents try and understand. When Daniel Pierce, a young man, videotaped his coming out and subsequent eviction from his home for being gay, a GoFundMe page was started and raised over $90,000 for him to find a place. In the 1980s when gay men by the thousands began dying of some then-unknown disease and the government barely lifted a finger to do anything, it was the lesbian community who rallied to help their brothers.

Maybe the eyeworm was to remind me of this: Looking past the difficulties and the ugliness, you will find the beauty.

And maybe that is my challenge this year.

After all, I can always venture into the swamp, I just don’t have to swim in it.


Monday, January 1, 2018

The Witching Hour


I often wake up between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. It doesn’t happen daily and I’ve come to accept that it's just the way it is. There are times I can fall back asleep and other times I cannot. On those occasions where returning to sleep is becoming elusive, I get up and do something in another room for a while, then return to bed where eventually I fall back asleep. Most of the time. 

A few articles I’ve read have suggested that that particular time of the morning is when the veil between the subconscious and conscious minds or, as some believe, between the spiritual and earthly planes, is the thinnest thereby offering the subconscious/spirits their greatest opportunity for communication. It seems that when I wake up at that time I will, more often than not, remember more of the dream I was just having, rather than sleeping through the night and then remembering my dreams the next morning. Maybe my subconscious, or the spirits, want me to remember that dream or some particular image from that dream, as if they are showing me something.

Why can’t they simply write me a note?

Sometimes the meaning isn’t very clear. Other times, it becomes clear on reflection. 

A while back, I had a dream where I had traveled with my ex to visit a Facebook friend in the far distant city of Melbourne, Australia. In real life, my friend had just moved in with his boyfriend, but in my dream he had moved in with a different Facebook friend, coincidentally from the same city! And I'm not sure they know each other. (Dreams are indeed interesting.) As soon as we were settled in my friends’ house, I went off to explore the city. Alone. I found myself standing on the corner of an intersection resembling Times Square or Piccadilly Circus with all the bright neon lights. Oh, and there was a freeway overpass above me, like one you’d find in San Francisco. I was standing on this corner trying to figure out which way to go, and calling my friend asking for directions.

I think I understand what this dream means. I’m off on a journey alone, trying to find my way, and that life is beautiful (that’s the neon lights) but confusing (the asking for directions). As for the overpass, I’m not sure. Perhaps it means I’m not yet on the right road, but it’s within sight. I kind of like that analogy. I think I’ll take it.

Sometimes, when I’m in the process of waking, when I’m still in that semi-dream state of being conscious of the world around me, but not yet wanting to open my eyes and face the light, I see images floating on my eyelids. These aren’t so dreamlike but images as if I had been staring at something then quickly closed my eyes and the image is then burned into my eyelids. Well, the negative form of the image.

The other morning as I was lying in this peaceful dream state, I did picture some images. And they caught me a bit off-guard.

They were puzzle pieces. Nothing more. And they were falling into their respective places forming the finished picture, which, incidentally, was blank.

I think this imagery is quite clear.

Things in my life are falling into place.

Yet, I won’t know what the finished picture is because I’m still living it. And the picture won’t be complete until I’m ready to leave this place and venture into the next plane.

I find it all positive.

Or synchronistic, as I once wrote this stanza in a poem…
Pieces of a puzzle scattered over a vast tabletop.Some hidden from view,Some on the floor,
Some missing and maybe lost.
A picture finally complete
No gaps,
No holes,
The corner pieces in place,And the edges, too.  
YouYourself
Finally togetherAfter all these years.

I wrote that poem around 1984-85 when I was coming out, putting those pieces of my life together. I was 26 then, thinking I’d have it all figured out shortly.

Youth can be so beautifully naive. 

Is there ever a time when we are fully complete?

I like to think the picture keeps changing as we evolve.

I like that analogy, I think I’ll keep it.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Synchronicities 8

I seem to be suffering from synchronicity overload. 

So many multiples,
so many receipts
I still see them on license plates, billboards, receipts, address plaques in amusement parks, etc. It seems lately they’ve been appearing more than before. 

One evening, on the way home from an appointment, I stopped for dinner as I was getting hungry and had nothing prepared or could quickly prepare when I got home. The meal itself was uneventful maybe because I was dining alone. It wasn’t until I got the receipts that I nearly fell off my stool. The table number matched the amount of tax on the meal which also happened to be the first three numbers of the credit card approval number, which coincidentally was my birthday. What are the odds? I mean that can’t be a simple coincidence, can it?

I thought not.

From a shipping label
And yet, what can it mean?

As I turn to a few numerological references, there is an overall theme that simply lets me know the changes I’m experiencing are indeed for my greater good. Okay, so they are simple affirmations I’m on the right path. I’ll take that. 

And just when I’m getting comfortable with the patterns I’m seeing, they shift. I guess the Universe likes to keep me on my toes.

Initially, I was seeing multiples of the same number; 1111, 333, 55555, etc.

Then I started noticing the repeating patterns of two digits, mostly two 3s and a 1, or two 1s and two 7s.
I just looked up, and there they were!

And now they’re shifting again. 

Now, I’m seeing different combinations of the same three digits, e.g. 742 and 427. I seem them in rapid succession, or even side by side. I know the skeptics will be saying I’m looking for them, but I assure you I don’t. You are entitled to your belief, my conscience is clear.

I see them mostly on license plates in parking lots or occasionally on cars on either side of me on the freeway. (I do have to keep my eyes on the road, so if I’m meant to see something, it will be obvious.)

Then there are these other kinds of synchronicities.

As I am trying to make sense of this path I’m walking, or trying to walk, questions form in my mind and an article will appear with some answers. It's like asking for guidance and then getting an answer. I view this as a sign that the Universe wants me to keep going on, even if it is difficult and often painful. I'll be fine in the end.

Or, a song comes on the radio at a particular time which may have some significance to me. Recently, while driving to meet some friends for lunch, I was listening to an 80s radio station. I recognized the beginning notes as a song came on and I glanced at the clock, it was 1:11, which I took to mean there was something in this song that the Universe wanted me to pay attention to. The song ended and a notification came through on my phone at 1:11! (Now, I do keep my car clock ahead a few minutes so I have a cushion of time. So, even though it really wasn't 1:11 by my car's clock, just seeing the three 1s themselves was significant.) So, this song was sandwiched by 111s. The song itself was the story of a man telling his significant other that even though they were separated by distance and circumstances, he would be “forever yours, faithfully.”

Was the Universe telling me something with this song? Only time will tell. 

In the meantime, I will simply take them all in stride, be grateful for them and accept the blessings I receive from the Universe.

That’s all I can do.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Enough!


I have come to believe that everything I've gone through has led me to where I am. 

For example, I have a beautiful home and a comfortable life thanks to circumstances from my past.

I also believe that the emotional experiences I've had, both positive and negative, have also shaped me into who I am.

But now at this stage in my life, I ask myself, "Who am I?"

In order to survive some of the emotional pain from my past, I did what I felt I had to do.

I was taught men hide their emotions, yet I am highly sensitive to others' suffering. I often found myself at odds with those teachings. When I saw someone suffering and I got upset, I was told to “Man up, be strong.” So, I became indifferent. Superficially, at least. I was a man, I couldn’t feel. 

I grew up in a very racially prejudiced and misogynistic household. I was told what to think about other ethnic groups and women. But, deep down I knew those thoughts were wrong. But, I also knew expressing myself in that household was not the best thing to do. Fortunately, my mother shared the same views I did, so that was some solace. But, not enough. I knew certain words were wrong to say, yet I heard them in my house. I questioned the path history had taken and wondered why God had allowed it to be so. I was told to be quiet and don’t ask questions. It was all His will. I learned not to express myself or to question authority.

I later found some peace in the evangelical church, yet I still felt empty. I tried hard to live the teachings of the church, but had too many questions about those teachings and saw too many holes in the historical timeline. I was told not to look at it all "logically.” I was told to “Have faith” and “Only God knows.” So, I simply followed along. I was a Christian, I had to have faith. 

As I came out as gay, I became aware of the homophobia I had developed due to the church's and society's teachings and my family's belief in it as well. I later found a group for evangelical Christians who were struggling with sexual identity and orientation. The group helped for a bit, yet some of my earlier beliefs still seemed to clash with my new gay identity. On one hand, I had strong romantic notions and believed sex was something unique and special, not something to be entered into lightly while the gay community (and by extension, society at large) seemed to revel in a new sexual freedom. And the more freedom I gave myself to explore, the more I lost myself in the process. I did what I thought I had to in order to be accepted, and to try and accept myself. I was gay, this was what I was supposed to do.

As I got more in touch with my identity and reconciled my sexuality and Christianity, I found my beliefs around Christianity and its teachings evolving into something very different. And quite personal.

I've already described my awakening to Shamanism and its spiritual teachings and now I find myself turning inward even more and wondering even more deeply about who I am because the more inward I turn, I have found I have worn many masks through the years. 

It's time they come off. I’m taking off the Masks of Indifference, of Being Quiet, of The Flock, and of False Acceptance.

About a year ago, I discovered a project called "My Intent" where a word or phrase is stamped on a washer and turned into a bracelet, necklace or other charm. This word or phrase is what you intend to work on with the idea to wear the bracelet until the string breaks indicating you have mastered that particular intent. 

I have two bracelets. One has the word "SURRENDER" reminding me to surrender to the what is and not worry about the what was or the what will be. In other words, stay in the moment, in the now.

The other has the phrase "I'M ENOUGH" meaning that I don't have to be or do anything that isn't true to me to gain anyone else's approval. If someone can't accept me for who I am, that is their problem.

This last intent has become the hardest to work on. As a child of divorce, I have sought outside validation. I wanted others to like me or to approve of me. And if they did, then maybe I would, too.

As I move forward in my life, I am finding that the more I discover my core values and my true authentic self, I find I don't fit in the world at large. And I have to learn and accept that that is okay. 

And maybe I don't need to fit in. 

I AM ENOUGH just as I am.

No one has to like me, or what I do, say or believe.

And if they don’t, that’s their problem. Not mine.

Now, if I could only learn not to take it personally.







My favorite number (and showstopper) form the Broadway musical "La Cage Aux Folles." I felt it was appropriate for this post. Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Isolation


Over the course of the last few months, some well-meaning and caring friends have dropped the ‘I’ word in their concern for me. 

Isolation

And it caused me to reflect, which then prompted this post.

Isolation is defined by Merriam-Webster as
  1. the state of being in a place or situation that is separate from others;
  2. the condition of being isolated;
  3. the act of separating something from other things;
  4. the act of isolating something.
The third and fourth definitions are presented as transitive, meaning someone is isolating me, almost as a punishment or penalty.

Um, no. No one has told me I've been a bad boy lately.

The second definition suggests a condition, possibly in the lines of an illness requiring quarantine.

Again, no. Aside from a small tickle in my throat at the moment, I am physically healthy, while my therapist assures me that I am emotionally sane, as well.

That leaves the first definition.

The word 'state' also suggests a 'condition,' physical or mental, which I’ve already ruled out. But, yes, I do find myself separate from others.

Besides a definition, words have a connotation, a feeling that accompanies the textual meaning. Prison guards isolate prisoners who are violent; boards of health quarantine people who pose a threat to the general population. Bullies may socially isolate or ostracize their victim. So, isolation carries a negative feeling as well as the idea that it is often imposed upon others by authority figures. No one is forcing me into alleged isolation.

And it’s true, I don’t go out much, but when I have ventured out into the world to try and socialize more, I’ve discovered some things about myself.
  1. I am an introvert.
A recent encounter with a financial planner resulted in an invitation to hear his sales pitch. I had explained I was not in a position to make any changes at this time, but he just asked if I was open enough to listen. I said I was and he suggested a meeting over coffee. What did I have to lose? Nothing, and I’d get a free cup of coffee at a Starbucks or someplace similar. We exchanged numbers and he later called to set up the meeting. I arrived at his place of business only to find 30-40 other people in attendance and no coffee in sight. This unexpected plethora of additional guests startled me which set my introversion and anxiety into an unusually high overdrive! 

The invitees remained in one room and were later escorted to another larger room to begin the ‘tour' which left me wondering what this had to do with financial planning? If we were going on a ‘tour,’ maybe I could look for an escape as the anxiety was now reaching critical levels. No such luck. We remained in the larger room where we-the invitees-were introduced to various people one at a time, all of whom had invited someone else, and we ended up making mind-numbing small talk with several strangers. I felt corralled and deceived. However, I paid attention to myself to see how I was feeling during the course of the evening as I was now determined to use this as a self-reflection.
  1. I am a borderline empath.
I took the Metro to work for a while and even though not focusing on driving and traffic was relaxing, just being around so many people was tiring. I later learned that that is what defines an empath; either picking up on others’ energies or emotions. While I don’t necessarily "pick up" on the various emotions of people around me, just the energies surrounding me are enough to tire me out for a while. Even a shopping trip to a crowded store or a meal in a busy restaurant can be overwhelming. Oh, and I abhor Christmas shopping unless it’s online. 

An introvert and empath each require recovery time after social interactions, to recharge their batteries if you will. Being both adds to the necessity.
  1. I don’t fit in. Yet.
Well, I don’t feel I fit in in the groups I’ve tried to attend. Over the last few years, I’ve joined a few gay social groups. All, but one, have imploded due to the Royal High drama by some members of the group. I believe I am low-key, or at least I try to be and prefer to leave the drama for the professionals on stage. Other groups have misrepresented their intentions based on their application process. 

Several years ago I had an experience which led me to the path of Shamanism as a spiritual way of looking at and living life. However, life itself got in the way and I wasn’t able to fully embrace the path until shortly after my divorce when I was led to a teacher who helped me shore up my foundation. We soon parted ways as his journey led him in a different direction. I read and studied on my own and again life intervened and my studies and practice faltered. A couple of years ago, I was awakened to an additional aspect of my journey which propelled me further into my soul to heal some deep hurts and wounds from my past and to begin to discover my true authentic self. As I am uncovering more of my core values, I’m finding I don’t feel I fit into society at large, let alone the gay community. While many gay men focus on fitting the relationship around the sex, I prefer a relationship that is all-encompassing; heart, mind, soul, and body. If you can’t stimulate the first three, you can damn well give up on the fourth.

I also find myself learning to live and let live, yet I don’t see it in society at large. Religious and political differences have led to name-calling, violence and an increase in negativity. Other differences in personal opinions have also led to name calling and judgments. I do believe in expressing our differing opinions, but peacefully and ultimately respecting others’ choices, even if it is painful or contrary to our personal beliefs. The only thing we can control is our reaction to what happens around us. It is not easy, but essential for our peace of mind, and ultimately our physical health as I believe our mind and body are connected.

As an empath, it is a strain to be around or read all the negative energies. Learning to detach from the negativity when surrounded by it is not an easy lesson to master.

I will yield a bit here and acquiesce that I could simply find a group, join it, not give a shit, detach from their drama, keep myself grounded and eventually some members of the group will adjust. And if they don't adjust to me, they're free to not interact with me. But, that is a lot of work and perhaps a bit controlling, "Accept me or else!" However, if the group's proposed activities simply do not appeal to me, what's the point of joining that particular group? Then, I should move on and try searching once more, yet again. But, at the moment, I'm finding it hard to find any group, other than my writers' group, that piques my interest.

Perhaps I am in need of a group that relates more to what I’m experiencing because the members are walking a similar path, too. Perhaps then I’ll feel like I belong somewhere, I will feel connected.

Instead of isolation, with its overall negative connotation, I prefer the more positive term solitude which Merriam-Webster defines as 'a state or situation in which you are alone usually because you want to be.' However, I would change it to read '...want or need to be.'

Solitude gives me time to reflect on where I am on this journey of life and make adjustments as necessary.

And I believe solitude is exactly what I need.