"Loneliness expresses the pain of being along
and solitude expresses the glory of being alone."
~ Paul Tillich

So many narratives have been spinning through our minds lately. Much of what we've been thinking about has to do with our external world—COVID-19, politics, and the general state of the planet. What we're not discussing is the new pandemic of loneliness and solitude, which, according to much research, really began way before the pandemic did. While social media has brought us together, for many people, it has fostered a sense of loneliness. The sad truth is that there are so many people who are alone and lonely. It's possible to feel lonely even when surrounded by people. Those dealing with life-threatening diseases like cancer also have a tendency to feel alone on their paths.

This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I bow to those who've navigated this disease. Merging the subjects of loneliness and breast cancer is May Sarton's book Journal of a Solitude, reviewed below.

Also, former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, has a new book: Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. Interestingly enough, the book was released before the quarantine necessitated by COVID-19, but the subject is such a vital part of our discussion as a society.

To combat loneliness, think about calling someone who is alone, or lonely, today.
Be well. Be safe.
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and on the 10th anniversary of publishing my second memoir, Healing with Words, I'd like to share my self-help memoir, which tells my story and also helps others navigate their own, by offering journaling prompts throughout the book.

You can email me at for an autographed copy ($10.00 includes shipping), or order from Amazon by clicking here.

  • Write about a time when you felt lonely.
  • Write about a time when you connected with someone in need.
  • Write a letter to someone who hasn't heard from you in a long time.
  • Make a list of things you can do to fend off loneliness.

"Dictionary of Eros" (poem). Derelict Lit. September 2020.

"Zen Thoughts" (poem). Nine Cloud Journal. 2020. 

"What Losing a Loved One to Suicide Taught Me" (article). The Wisdom Daily. September 1, 2020.

"What Losing a Friend to Suicide Taught Me" (article). The Good Men Project. September 5, 2020.

"How Resilient Are You?" Psychology Today. September 7, 2020.

"How Resilient Are You? The Good Men Project. September 11, 2020,

"Have You Lost Your Inspiration During the Pandemic?" Sixty and Me. September 12, 2020.

"What I Learned from My Grandmother Who Survived a Pandemic." The Good Men Project. September 26, 2020.

Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton (memoir).

This book, written over the course of one year, has a number of messages. First, it's a reminder of the ability of the author to enjoy solitude like air and have gratitude for the little things in life, like a garden and a home. Most writers like Sarton crave solitude, but they also need human interaction to become inspired and fend off a deep sense of loneliness. Toward the end of her life, Sarton battled greater loneliness and depression, and also battled breast cancer. She speaks about this with candor. Although this book was written about two decades before her passing in 1995, the reader greatly appreciates her honesty and transparency.

And like many of us feel now, seven months into the pandemic, boredom and monotony have set in. Here's what Sarton says about her own boredom in her journal: "I'm bored with my life here at present. There is not enough nourishment in it. There are times when the lack of any good conversation, theatre, concerts, art museums around here—cultured life—creates a vacuum of boredom" (p. 94).

This book, which was released in April, is just what we need now as we navigate the pandemic and separation from our precious loved ones. As the 19th U.S. Surgeon General, Murthy shares many anecdotes of interviews he's done and studies he's read in connection to loneliness. He confesses that people did not always admit how lonely they felt. He also found out how prevalent loneliness is as a human condition and learned a lot about the healing power of human connection, which many of have witnessed over the past eight months.

Murthy distinguishes loneliness from solitude. Solitude is a state for creating, contemplation, self-reflection, or recharging. While it can be daunting, it allows time for both positive and negative thoughts to emerge. On the other hand, loneliness is characterized by unhappiness and a long road to escape emotional pain. "Kindness," Murthy says, "can bridge the divides between us, healing our society even as it relieves our personal loneliness and brings us together" (p. 96).
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