Touched by a Stranger

I’m listening to a song I haven’t heard before. My hands pause in the soapy water. I cease all movement and listen all the way through.

The song is by Fletcher, entitled Undrunk the full lyrics are here.

Wish I could get a little undrunk so I could uncall you
At five in the morning, I would unfuck you
But some things you can’t undo
I wish I could unkiss the room full of strangers
So I could unspite you, unlose my temper
But somethings you can’t undo
And one of them’s you …

Excerpt “Undrunk” Fletcher

So human. So real. It’s happened to all of us in some way, that wish to undo, unpick the past that sews up like a shirt around us and we have to wear, regardless of how constricting or uncomfortable we find the fit.

The young woman I saw one early morning, a week ago, shoulders bowed, creeping home in her race dress from the day before. Her body language stamped with regret. I sent her blessings that I doubt she caught, miserable as her thoughts seemed to be, steeped in preoccupation. The song reminded me of her, of me, of every dumb word spoken, stupid action taken after alcohol became involved in a young persons life. Or an old ones for that matter.

“I hate poetry” I’ve heard it before. and to that person I would say, you just haven’t found your poem yet, or rather it hasn’t found you. The one that speaks out of the page and enters your heart.

A poem is merely words framed together in a certain way, song lyrics are the same. I can listen to lots of music, mowing the lawn, running along the road, driving in the car and then a song will come on, either familiar or new and the words enter my body in a different way to everything around it.

Because it resonates.

This is what occurs when a soul touches another soul. At the completion of a group yoga practice we may turn to each other and say “Namaste” which means “my soul sees your soul”. It has become an overused term perhaps and lacks reverence because of it, but this morning, listening to this particular song, I heard every broken hearted regretful person calling to me.

Yesterday, I was reading an article written by a divorced man on his experience with aloneness, after so long being part of something greater than himself. A marriage, children who had now grown, the mortgage, the week-end mowing and the shared dreams and goals for a future, that had now been erased. He had had to fashion a new life and way of living for himself.

It was interesting to hear his perspective as a male on aloneness, because I spend a lot of time alone and I have come to treasure that time. It’s very introspective time and if I didn’t have it, I would find mySelf very eroded particularly given that in our relationship, my husband and I share both a marriage and a business partnership.

Without time apart, we would become distorted as individuals. I also like to adventure alone, hike alone, ride my motorbike alone, I like to tackle challenging things alone because they grow me. I all too easily can depend on another if they are there. The way to ensure I am entirely independent is to make sure I go it alone. In this way, regardless of the fear that is provoked, I grow stronger. I am not tough, to the contrary, like anyone else, I can be an anxious person with a vivid imagination.

The night before I left on my six day solo hike earlier this year, I whispered “I’m a bit scared” and I meant it, my husband squeezed my hand in the dark “you’ll be right, you always are” and it was exactly what I needed to hear because it reminded me. I’ve done a lot of solo adventuring and somehow I am always okay, despite sometimes a string of misadventures occurring along the way, things turn out and I am stronger for having gone. I knew this would be no different. So no, I am not tough, but I am courageous and I have become that way because I have forced myself through fear and therefore come to know the rewards to be gained for having done so.

I have come to understand how blessed I am to have a partner in life that doesn’t try and cover me in bubble wrap. Instead he tightens the straps on my bike for me and gives me a bracing squeeze. Because of that freedom, I have experienced some amazing moments of sublime aloneness, whilst still being able to return, a better more fulfilled partner back into the enfolding comfort of home and family.

Matt, who wrote the article I mentioned earlier, didn’t have the opportunity, regardless he found his way to that blissful place by himself, even if it may not have been by choice.

I don’t know if such heightened moments are best observed alone. But when you’re alone, you don’t so much notice them but fall under the unambiguity of their spell. A bird call that could cut glass. The fluorescence of jacaranda trees. Wind-borne leaves, especially those you experience kinesthetically, that brush your nose, like the kiss of fairies.

A song or sentence from a novel can fill me with sublime joy. Sometimes, I’m just overcome. I feel like the happiest person alive, and I say this, audibly, but to nobody. I love, I guess, alone

Matt Fynes-Clinton – The Magazine – Australian Newspaper 3rd December 21

Some things we experience by ourselves and like an unexpected divorce, are also not by choice. Grief is something we experience in isolation. Even if everyone else in the room is attached in some way to the same person that we mourn, we mourn our loss personally, particularly and acutely alone. We feel all emotion in the isolation that is our own soul. We are born alone and die alone. Two of the greatest unfathomable mysteries as humans, we experience alone. Alone is a natural, and I believe integral, part of our growth as humans.

If we do not love alone then I think we are less able to love together with someone else. Experiencing life alone in all of its adversity and grief as well as in those moments of grace and beauty, opens us to be a more present and completed person when we are with others.

They say you shouldn’t get married until you are complete within yourself, but I’m not sure how that occurs if you aren’t even aware of such a thing to begin with.

We married young, and well before I was anything resembling a well rounded person. I had so many blank places and weaknesses, faults and flaws, but life experienced both together with my husband and apart has led to both of us filling out as more complete human beings.

Many people, particularly couples are scared to experience an adventure alone. Or perhaps they just believe that everything should be experienced together as a pair. Perhaps they believe that if they do not, then they will grow apart. Perhaps they grow apart anyway. Perhaps they are so deeply entwined that they prefer each others company. Everyone is different.

And yet we are all the same. At a soul level, we are possibly more similar than different. Colour, gender, nationality is all wiped away in an instant as the words of one flow into another.

In the background the music is now faded, I hardly notice it. No particular words reach through the air to tug at my consciousness. But I know that moment will again arrive, when another person, a stranger, reaches in and presses my heart. It could be via a blog post, an article, a paragraph in a book, or a song drifting through the air whilst I stand stock still, yet shaken inside. Touched by invisible hands, weaving threads of humanity into understanding one other.

In that moment I will believe, as I do now, that the world is a very small and precious place. That the sparks from each other’s creativity and shared humanity, light candles that illuminate the world and stitch us together. There is something just so special about certain words when they are heard.

Namaste 🙏

19 thoughts on “Touched by a Stranger

  1. In America, when you see someone heading home in the morning, hungover, clearly having hooked up the night before, we call this ‘the walk of shame.’ A few weeks back while I was heading out to pick up a lunchtime pizza, I saw a woman in a short white silken dress crossing the 7-11 parking lot clearly walking the walk of shame back to her dorm. I felt a flash of amusement. When she was well past, I realized she was barefoot (November in Pennsylvania). As I parked the car, it occurred to me that she wasn’t wearing a dress but a slip. What seemed like a joke a minute before suddenly seemed really dark and dangerous. I looked up the street, thinking I should give her a ride, but she was gone. I didn’t see where she went. I was flooded with regret that I originally thought it was a big joke. My wife consoled me saying she probably wouldn’t have caught on until too late too. Your post just reminded me of this, I had sort of forgotten. I Know it’s not the point of your post, but I felt like I needed to relate the story.

    • We call it the same thing! The walk of shame – because I’m an early bird I see it quite a bit and always find it amusing too. I’ve actually had a chat to a guy who was still blazing drunk at 5am in the morning in a park – he had just woken up – it was hilarious. Don’t trouble yourself over what you saw, remember our mind makes up stories and sometimes our guts concur – it feels ominous but we can’t know for sure. I’m sure you would have helped her had it been your task. Clearly it wasn’t, the universe doesn’t make mistakes. Loved the story though and the sentiment.

  2. Most lovely post,my dear!! Namstay’s is very well explained by are most inspirational for others.Yoga with Shanti Mantras is most powerful for mentally and physically relaxation ,as i think.”OM SHAANTI SHAANTI SHAANTI OM”.IT is like maditation-a most powerful device in Yoga.are you agree ?my dear!! Sending you love from India,my dear kate!!💕💕💕

  3. Your words never cease to touch my soul. I can relate to My pain has been so deep, and my joy has seen height, and the in between has been wide…I see everyone at their individual level. We are all intertwined indeed my friend. I’ve been alone a lot. I’m alone now although I have a partner, Jeff. He and I are at two different stages of life for sure. I’ve never been at this stage before~I’m so happy to hear of your beautiful partnership and relationship with your husband. I’ve always wanted to feel “safe”. At times, alone, is when I feel the safest. I had to let go of my doubt and gain Godly strength. There are times I’m lonely. But for most of the time, my solitude is my soul growth. It’s like salve. Blessings and peace, Kate. I’m so glad you’re here. 🙏🏻💕

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