So admittedly, this is an icy finger reaching out. But imagine it was warm. And reddish. Even loving.

Tonight, Nika was asking me about whether I felt lonely living alone – or rather the subject came up in conversation. And yes, I do. But not often. And mainly in times of transition, such as after summer, when I am mostly surrounded by people day in and day out.

But I also am aware that I can feel lonely even when surrounded by people. Loneliness is not so much about being alone. For me, it is a matter of how I’m doing inside. How open I am to receiving love. From myself. And from others.

A number of years ago, I joined an online art group. It started with me and Paula and our mentor, Martin Stellar.

Paula. I sized her up quickly: she could not have been more opposite than me. She was going 90 miles an hour, selling her Comic Con art at huge art fairs, mixing it up with famous comic book actors… I was living alone in New Hampshire making this diaphanous silk art that I was translating into pillows and wallpaper that was going nowhere on Etsy. How could we possibly find anything in common, much less bond?

That was then.

The art group expanded. Hello Leigh. Hello Katrina. And others.

We met for a couple of years. Nothing was sacred: our lives, our trials and tribulations, were shared. Week after week. In that art group, I’d say, I was NOT lonely.

I never met Paula in person. Or Leigh. Or Katrina either.

But what I’ve learned is the heart doesn’t understand distance. When I reach out, I can feel warmth from the person next to me. And, just as powerfully, I can feel love from those far away who I have yet to meet.

Deeply touched.