Alone with Herself is a gentle, inspirational novel about a young woman’s search for emotional maturity and the struggle to find spiritual meaning in her life. Initially set in London, the majority of the story occurs in Wales; the changing states of the Welsh countryside providing a backdrop that reflects the young woman’s inner journey. Whilst in Wales, the young woman Eve, learns that the new-found joys of solitude are hard to hold onto, especially when an attractive male arrives on the scene. The novel captures the yearning and searching stages of the spiritual path, encouraging the reader to look within for peace and joy. It also shows the challenges of trying to live a spiritual life when competing needs and desires for excitement and distractions, often sabotage good resolutions and dilute any experiences of inner peace.
Extract from Chapter 2 - Alone with Herself
"Eve wondered how it could possibly be enough, this endless parade of days and weeks, that framed a picture of domestic routine, kitchens, bedrooms and offices, smiles and kisses, falling on distant upturned faces. Moving through life, moving through the days, not realising that this was life, today in the kitchen cooking dinner, today in the bedroom making love, today in the office absorbed in a meeting or racing to meet a deadline. They waited until tomorrow for the intensity, assuming it would arrive, believing in the happiness that always lay glimmering in the distance, just within their reach. Then Friday arrived and the sense of freedom it brought, reminded them of all they wanted to be. The weekend seemed rich with possibilities. Yet Saturday morning would often find them lying in bed, exhausted from the working week, the kitchen needed cleaning and there was washing to hang out to dry, maybe they would go out later. The passion and intensity lay just around the corner, just around the mound of ironing waiting to be done, or the newspaper that was so inviting.
On most days, Eve would find herself strangely hypnotised by the familiar conversations going on around her. Their connecting lines seemed the very fabric of life itself. Yet she knew that something vital was missing. Life was flowing within and around these connecting lines, defying definition.
She saw little children, clinging onto their mothers, tears soothed and small hands held, utterly content in the sense of safety the mother gave. Yet it was an illusion; the mother herself was spinning in a vast ocean of nothingness, there was nothing to hold onto. As a child, Eve had taken one long look at life; seen the vast corridor of the years that had stretched before her; childhood, career, marriage, children, old age, death, and she had known, that it would never be enough. Life could give her only the present moment, which fluttered brightly as a butterfly and died if it was pinned down. There was nothing solid to hold onto, all was ephemeral.
As a child, she had played games in her mind, rushing over vast distances to find the edge of the universe, racing towards the edge, challenging infinity to erect a wall and label it “the end of the universe”. Only there could be no end, her mind was unable to comprehend infinity because even the wall itself would have to go on forever.
She was totally insignificant, and yet she knew with absolute certainty, that she was not, and therein lay the paradox that humanity had wrestled with for millennia, but it was just as real and vital for her to understand today. She wanted to know for herself. How to reconcile the inexplicable vastness of life, the mind-numbing multitudes, with the sense that she was vitally important, that her successes and failures, loves and sorrows, actually mattered? It seemed impossible to answer."