Being Important

I’m feeling restless tonight as if I should be doing something important, but here I am at the computer, playing games of solitaire. (Well, I was playing games. Now I’m playing a different kind of solitaire called “What will I blog about tonight?”)

When life is all about family, spouses, soul mates — creating a shared life — everything you do seems important, but when you are alone, importance is hard to feign because the isolation of being the only one in the room makes even breathing seem unimportant.

Despite the way it might sound, I’m not depressed or sad today. I’m feeling good, actually (probably leftover endorphins or adrenaline from dancing). I’m not lonely, either, just alone, and sometimes aloneness echoes in empty rooms, making it seem like some sort of lack. It is a lack, of course, but it isn’t a lack of life or . . . importance. It’s a lack of companionship and maybe a lack of “other energy.”

fireThere are some things I don’t necessarily understand when it comes to dancing. I call myself tone deaf, but I’m not — I just hear a single track of melodic (and not so melodic) noise and find it hard to separate out one particular sound or thread or beat from all the rest, which is why barbershop quartets hurt my ears and simple tunes are soothing. (I can count, though, and as my dance teacher says, if you can count, you can dance. Or something like that.) One woman I particularly enjoy dancing with (she’s so very elegant and graceful she makes me look good!) hears sounds and beats that pass me by  even when she points them out, but I pick up on something she doesn’t — the energy of the group. When we are all dancing as one, I can sense the energy we generate, as if we are tied together with invisible strings, moving arms and legs, heads and torsos in perfect rhythm. There’s nothing quite like that feeling, at least not in my experience.

Even when we are not all in harmony, as often happens, there is an air of connectedness in the studio, with all of us focused singlemindedly on the steps. One woman came with her husband last month, and though he didn’t bother anyone, it gave those classes an uneasy feel because it disrupted the flow of electricity of connectedness among the dancers. (This isn’t as mystical as it sounds. The energy I sense is more of a focus rather than waves of electricity, though I know we all respond to the electricity we generate.)

That energy from another person or a group — that “other energy” — is missing in a solitary room.

Some people spew energy even when they are alone, so rooms don’t seem as empty to them. I don’t spew energy, which makes my presence in a room even smaller and quieter than it would normally seem. And makes whatever I do seem unimportant, as if I am just passing time.

But the truth is, “being” is important, so even when we are alone, regardless of how it feels, we are being important.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

12 Responses to “Being Important”

  1. Mildred Gordon Says:

    Maybe your energy is more mellow, not disruptive or noisy? Maybe your energy is just right for you at this point in your life.

  2. Constance Says:

    I like your Blog tonight.
    I have a hard time connecting to the sound that we are supposed to hear. I’m always late on it.
    I also feel the energy of the group and the person dancing next to me. It is a good feeling. There is an air of connecting with us. When some one not in our group comes into the studio it affects us and our dancing. Whatever the energy is, it is there.
    Smaller living spaces, smaller rooms take away the feeling of being so alone It gives you a closeness, not an emptiness like large rooms.
    I have lived in large and small homes I prefer small ones. They tend to have a coziness to them, especially when you are alone. When I was a young child, I lived in a large house. Come to think about it, I was most comfortable in the small kitchen, especially when it was raining and you could hear it coming down.
    You do a lot of important things. Your writing is wonderful. I enjoy it very much.

  3. Kathy Says:

    There was a time when I was more satisfied with being alone – I had plenty of people around me – on the job, church, family, and friends. I sought out alone time. Now life has changed – I sit at my home computer with 3 cats until hubby gets home. Our morning coffee and evening half glass of wine is the highlight of the day when we talk about everything. During the day I fill my life with studying music. I’ve volunteered for Music Ministry at church that will start after the holidays but that cuts into hubby time and that time is quite full already. I’m not sure I’m making sense – it’s just a feeling I’m trying to express through words. But I miss the people who used to instigate a “how are you” email or phone call or visit. What happened to people who would do that? It seems we all have to initiate contact online. I miss the surprise of somebody reaching out to me personally. That’s how life has changed – at least for me. Maybe I’m just getting old – lol!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m going to have to do something with my life other than what I have been doing. At least you have someone who comes home and breaks up the aloneness, brings new energy to your day. That’s what Jeff did for me — and it allowed me to indulge my quiet side. But I don’t think I can be a hermit anymore without suffering consequences.

      • Kathy Says:

        Yeah, I kinda regretted writing this comment because I am so thankful to have what I have. Especially because I do know what it’s like to lose a mate and to rebuild a life. But life forces us to adjust to new circumstances more often than we sometimes like. I was just noticing this change – how me searching for my father, ultimately, left me without a family, and my day-to-day life has changed as a stay-at-home writer/songwriter. I think what I was trying to say is that I, too, need to get out there so that I won’t be a hermit when I’m not with my husband. Kudos on your dancing – so inspiring!

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          There was nothing wrong with your comment. Didn’t sound as if you were unthankful or dissatisfied, just admitting that every change, even a good one, brings other changes.

          But if you do regret the comment, I can delete it if you wish.

  4. Carol Louise Wilde (Carol Wwuenschell) Says:

    I like your imagery about energy, although I don’t think I feel anything like that myself. I’ve never lived in a house without someone else in it. Although I’m an introvert, I don’t think I would like that. Occasionally I imagine having my life come to that, as eventually it may, and I wonder whether I would feel a need to get a pet just to have some other conscious being inside those walls.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I think introverts, contrary to what people think, need to have people around. We’re too inward-looking and need quiet to recuperate our energies, but it’s too easy for us to become hermits or to stagnate when left alone too long because it’s hard to always go out looking for people to be with. Extroverts, on the other hand, might find it easier to live alone because they find it easier to get up and go out to be with people. Or

  5. kcoffman Says:

    I think you’re on to something important here. At some point we have to forgive ourselves for being imperfect and stop demanding sense and justice from the world. If we’re lucky, maybe this will happen while we’re still walking on the face of the Earth, or we wait until it happens by default when our last flicker of life force is coupled to the universe.

  6. An Epic Adventure | Bertram's Blog Says:

    […] don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that I’m musically challenged. My ears hear all the various strains, themes, and tracks of a song as a single entity. It’s very […]

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