This is the strangest form of comfort I have found. Some nights when sleep didn't descend on me immediately, I felt loneliness the most acutely. The future seemed vast and uncertainty loomed so large that it stamped out my imagination's ability to consider the possibilities (things seem bigger and more worrisome when I'm tired). The bed was too big, and I was swallowed up in it's emptiness. On those nights, I really wanted a hand to hold. This thought comforted me. And then I got sadder because there wasn't one to hold. Then I got a really strange notion: what if I held my own hand?
Could that be a comfort?
I felt silly and glad I was trying this in the privacy of my own room. My right hand clasped my left. I closed my eyes. I sighed deeply. I scanned my mind and body to detect a reaction. Was this helping? Did holding my hand make me feel less lonely?
The answer was yes.
This small act of mothering myself lifted the weight of feeling so alone. It eased the burden that made this loneliness feel like a permanent condition.
I held my hand a lot, and in doing so, I learned about the importance and steadfastness of being my own best friend. In an unexpected way, holding my own hand taught me about the wholeness I could muster from within.
And in time, I've found that this practice has soothed that particular ache for another's hand to hold. I'll hold my own hand forever, but it feels like progress that it's no longer such a deep need anymore. Mothering myself in this small way has led to great healing.