For the first time, in a long time, I am allowed to be alone. It is not a malaise, this loneliness of mine, it is a remedy, a necessity, a way for the earth to heal from how we ravage it. I can be alone and not frowned upon. I am not a cast-aside; In our alone-ness, we are together and perhaps, freer than ever before. When the birds chirp outside, I revel in the sound, the symphony they create, the break in the delicious coolness of the silence that pervades the sky. When I stand and look, the sky acquires a calm colour of its own, it feels lighter resting on the surface of the earth. The air itself is breathing. From where I see the world unfold, the world is both speeding up and slowing down. It’s slowing down in that the vast majority of us are. We’re taking deep, deep breaths. We’re healing, too. We’re telling ourselves we matter. We’re realising how much we love each other, and just how much we love life. And -oh! the quiet. It was a blanket I used to shroud myself with, but I can cast it aside now — for the world is still. It is safe to come out now, like a deer coaxed out of a thicket, like a flower in its natural state of being, it is safe for me to be. No one will judge. A different kind of energy pulsates within me. I feel like I can unleash all the rays of the sun. I matter. Here. Now. And in this way. I belong. To this quiet, this peace. I don’t need to distract myself from the silence, it is but an extension of me, and I can, for the first time, bathe in its waters and not care if the clock ticks or not as I watch the drops roll down my skin. I can hear each thought in my head and rejoice, I don’t need to run away, I can pick apart the words and nurture myself in the way only I can, and oh! I love myself, now, more than ever. And somehow, it is now, more than ever, that you will truly listen. So listen. Listen to the love around you. It laps in gentle waves against the shores of your heart, in the people that call in every single day to ask you how you feel, in the stories from around the world that really, are no different from our own, in the healers whose gentle, strong hands steady ours when we quiver, the artists who put tiny beams of sunlight on our lips. The love is all around you, and I hope you find it inside of you as well.