Quarantine is exposing us like never before. Stripped of so many of our otherwise conventional support systems — our workplace, our social circles, our cafes, restaurants, theaters, stadiums, our travel plans and vacations — we are left now to our bare internal resources searching for stimulation. Just a few months ago, we could avail ourselves of endless places and outlets to escape feeling alone. We were able to share with others “a cup called loneliness, because it’s better than drinking alone.” Our external togetherness concealed our lonesomeness. But today — among many other challenges — we face the prospect of being alone, in solitude, alienated in isolation.
Today, in virtually every aspect of our lives, the pandemic lock down is challenging us in numerous ways, challenging our very identities. Without external structures to depend upon, the question stares is in the face: Am I all alone? Does anyone care about me? Do I have any value while locked in at home? Do I know how to be alone?
Loneliness can be quite terrifying. We thrive on love and connection with others. From our earliest childhood, and even in our mothers wombs, our very psyches are shaped and defined by human touch and nurturing. Feeling all alone can be devastating. Every pain and trauma can be endured when you feel cared for; when others are in it with you; when there is a measure of hope. But to suffer alone is an unimaginable hell too difficult to comprehend.
Yet, counterintuitively, quarantine also opens up new and unprecedented opportunities. It compels us to experience our very selves, who we are at our core, unhindered by the dazzle and glitz of our ornate vestments. It reveals the ultimate prize of being alone: Your uniquely beautiful and precious self.
Please join Rabbi Jacobson as he explores the positive side of being alone. Discover the truly inimitable and indispensable you. You were born an original; don’t become a copy. Reclaim your exceptionalism and embrace what you – and only you – can accomplish in this world.