My heart was divided two-ways when I saw the current theme for 4 THOUGHTS or FICTION. Don’t you think that “longing” is such a meaningful and powerful word?
I think most of us have a longing for the losses we have sustained during 2020 to be alleviated. We may be longing to go on vacations like we used to. We may be longing to mix freely with friends and family without being afraid we may be vehicles for a virus that could threaten their health or their very life. We may be longing for the events we have looked forward to as the highlights of each year, concerts, parties, festivals, sports events or the world tiddlywinks championships.
Then there is the kind of longing that people have faced prior to 2020 events. Have you ever longed for a special someone? I know I did. Sure I wanted the excitement and romance of meeting someone – being enchanted, sharing first kisses, making love. Perhaps I am describing it in a typically rosy pink glow – some of what I was longing for when it came to fruition was lusty wild sex. The sex was great, however, it was never really enough.
You see the longing, the longing was for someone who could understand me, love me, hold on to me. I learnt that even when someone enjoys your body and shares gratifying pleasure with you, it does not mean they want to dive into the universe within you. (Thank goodness I found Benjamin O’Connor!) Although I had a lover who knew how to illicit pleasure in my body, I felt profound loneliness at times. There was a longing within that was not satisfied by pleasure.
Perhaps I was expecting too much of a fellow human. One of my friends said to me that she needed to learn to know and understand herself before she could ever expect her boyfriend to do so. Once she had a clearer grasp on who she was and what she believed, it was easier for him to draw closer to her. It can take us a long time to explore all of our own inner thoughts and feelings and understand who we are. Still, it is nice to think that our lover is at least interested in what is going on inside our mind and heart.
I do not want to make this post too long, but the more I think about the word “longing”, the more I am aware that since I was a teenager, perhaps earlier, I have had an inner longing. I have yearned for something, someone perhaps, who I could believe in and place my full trust in. I have longed for a connection with whatever magnificent being has lit up the night sky with so much wonder. I have craved to know that there is purpose, that there is hope, that love and peace will be victorious. I have hungered for answers to a thousand questions.
When I left school, I was alarmed by something I realized was not good for me. There was a sudden marked increase in my pace of life. Everyday was packed with work, and the mundane and in addition I tried to squeeze in time with friends and to exercise. Working in the city was intense – people all around me on my commute to work, in the huge office complex I worked in, and all over the business district at lunch breaks. Noise drowning out birdsong, billboards distracting me from pretty flowers, skyscrapers blocking out the sky – it felt as if I was disconnecting with everything that had inspired me as a child.
I said to Ben recently – sometimes I hate the commercial world. I hate it for it’s wastefulness and the way it has polluted our planet and destroyed wildlife. I hate it for treating people like cattle, and for perpetuating modern slavery. I hate it for allowing billionaires to tell 13,000 of their employees that they will lose their jobs at a time when nobody else seems to be hiring.
I feel as if I have a huge inner hunger – I guess a spiritual one – and the commercial world is like a blinding raucous funfair that only offers me candyfloss to eat and tells me to have fun, fun, fun – perhaps because that is what they want us to think that’s all life is about. Of course it is sickly. We consume, we buy things we don’t need, we become addicted to our new electronic toys and we bombard our sense with more candyfloss input – Tweets. Tiktok videos, Instagram images – dozens, hundreds, thousands – I start to wonder if it could be millions of empty moments that do not satisfy our inner longing.
Our time to think, contemplate, ask questions is squeezed out and yet we are still hungry, starving, famished, because the commercial world does so little to provide any sense of purpose. It tells us what to buy and when to buy it according to it’s calendar, its’s schedule. On the 1st January this year there were Valentines Chocolates appearing in the local grocery store. In February, Easter Eggs were stacking up. In August they started putting Christmas Pudding on the shelf. I don’t like being told what to eat by retailers. The commercial world makes it all seem so empty, so meaningless.
I am hungry. I am longing for something the commercial world does not deliver. In fact the commercial world leaves me emptier, hungrier than before.
This year, everything has changed. I no longer commute into the city. I work from home most of the time. I am loving having a pace of life that allows me to think, to contemplate, to meditate and reach conclusions about what it all means. I love hearing my inner voice for the first time in years. I love that I no longer notice SALE signs. I see bright autumn berries and I hear a chorus of birds singing. It’s a quality of life that is so much more superior to what I had when I was commuting into offices.
The only thing I am missing is seeing and hugging the people I love. But this year has helped me forge stronger friendships over the phone and zoom with people who seem to understand the longing I have felt within. We have been talking at a deeper level than ever before.
Interestingly, during 2020 I have noticed a calm and a peace descend on me that I can only explain due to a disconnect from the commercial world. They have lost their hold on me. I have been out walking in nature a lot more often than I made time to do before. I watch less entertainment and talk to friends and family more. Ben and I discuss all sorts of deep subjects and contemplate the meaning of the universe and more.
I happen to like who I am a lot more when I do feel closer to nature and closer to friends and family. I am happier and more at peace. I can also tell that Ben enjoys the happier Jenna who is at peace.
I find that the innate longing, the deep yearning I have has been fed a lot more during 2020 than it was before. There are still subjects I am hungry to understand. I long for answers to more of my questions. I also know I want to be closer to nature and I want to feel more connected to real life – not the fake life the commercial world seems to try to sell us.
I am longing for a better world. The saddest result of 2020 would be going back to being immersed in a fast paced greedy commercial world which makes life feel so empty and meaningless. I am longing for changes. I am longing for an ever stronger connection with nature and people – they seem to make life meaningful and satisfying. I think I am longing for world peace and for equality of all people, in all nations – an earth at rest and thriving because we love each other and love our home planet.