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A recent conversation with a friend I hadn’t spoken with in a while reminded me of the tendency to isolate ourselves. Looking back on my own periods of isolation, I see clearly now how I explained it away as “well, people think I’m an extrovert but really I am more of an introvert.” The reality is, while yes I tend to lean more towards introversion, there have been times where I’ve escaped life by creating distance from the world, people, and in effect, my purpose.

Have you ever experienced a time in your life where things felt as though they were falling apart in every direction…and you just didn’t have the get-up and go to get going? Looking back on that time, I have a question for you…

when everything hit the fan, did you choose the route of isolation… or love?

When your life became imbalanced in one, several, or all areas, did you look at it as an invitation to step into loving yourself and those around you more…or did you choose to stay in your cave?

There was a time in my life when three big ones (professional, relationship, and well-being) were out of whack and instead of choosing the route of love, I chose what at the time seemed the easy route. The one equivalent to putting your head under the covers and hoping you’d wake up in a few months when everything was back to “normal.” What I did was begin to slowly isolate myself from friends, fun, inspiring work, and in essence…living!

It took me about a year before I looked around and realized the after effects of my period of isolation. Those friends I stepped away from because they had “hurt my feelings” or “we weren’t on the same energy wavelength” were friends I missed. The things I loved to do in my free time were nonexistent. It was like “POOF!” … they had evaporated from my life and took with them a big chunk of happiness.

Through clearer eyes and a different lens, I realized my isolation was simply an excuse to step away from the act of living. It was easier to put the blame on others assuring myself they “weren’t there for me in the way I needed them to be” or that they “didn’t react in the way that I would” than it was to look within myself.

I was struck with this newfound “a-ha!” that my underlying energy of isolation was subconsciously pushing them away as well as pulling me away from a multitude of things that created joy for me.

Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t listen to your feelings and lovingly let go of certain individuals for different reasons, and I am certainly not saying stepping out of the chaos of life at times isn’t healthy.

I am simply offering up the idea that if you find yourself in a situation where life just doesn’t feel fair and you want to jump to judgment of others, why not instead pose a question to yourself (again without judging yourself!)…

Who is the common denominator in my life right now?

This is not a trick question…yes, the answer is YOU!

If you’re constantly being triggered by people and sensitive to how they are treating you, there are two choices. You can either walk away and send them love… or you can be authentically vulnerable through the lens of love by being open and honest about the struggles you are dealing with.

Sometimes you think you have to go it alone and when you do, isolation wins.

How about trying something different? Why not choose to be courageous and operate through the space of love? Love for yourself, for other people, and with an understanding that they, too, have their own “stuff!” Quite frankly, I’ve come to realize everyone’s just doing the best that they can in this life.

So how about this… what about choosing only one “personal development project?” This project being the art of choosing love with every breath you take throughout the day. I have to tell you this is not always easy. I’ve been practicing it and will say it just feels so GOOD when I put it to use… and when I don’t? That doesn’t feel so good.

I had lunch with a friend recently. The past two times we saw each other were, to put it lightly, big time downers. One time I cried in my eggs and the other time she cried in her cosmo. She could have said “I’m going to back off with Meg! I left breakfast completely drained by her”… and I could have said “Heck to the no am I going to get together for dinner with her again. I was so depressed by the end of the night!”

But the thing is, we both chose to act through love instead. When we got together recently for lunch she said “OMG. I didn’t think you’d ever want to see me again. I made it all about me that night and was embarrassed to reach out to you again.” (Fortunately, I reached out to her… see, I am getting better with this isolation thing!)

Here’s the deal… choosing the route of love is when the heaviness in your chest falls away. It’s where the sadness in your heart lifts. When we choose to live our lives from a place of loving energy, as well as authenticity, things become more in balance. Friendships that are real, remain. Friendships that were meant to be there for a reason or a season, move on in a gentle way. No judgment, no blame.

So here is my challenge for you this week. Pay attention to areas of your life where you are sitting in denial, isolation, or blame. Commit to just one action step. Maybe it’s reaching out to that friend you miss, or looking at things from the other person’s perspective, or courageously telling the truth about a situation to yourself or someone else. Whatever it may be, choose to do SOMETHING that will move you away from isolation and back to the land of the living.

Life is beautiful if you open yourself up to the possibility of miracles… and I do believe there are tiny miracles every day if you simply step outside your cave to look.

See you soon,

Meg