Dancing with loneliness

February 14, 2023 in Featured News, News

Celebrated Spanish author José María R. Olaizola SJ has published his first book with Messenger Publications entitled Dancing with Loneliness ». Inspired by the Ignatian spiritual tradition, he addresses the universal experience of loneliness which he maintains is a great opportunity for people to know God, themselves and others more intimately.

Brian Grogan SJ, who has written the foreword, states:

“When I picked up Dancing with Loneliness, I expected a book which would make for very sober reading. But this book sparkles, and the word ‘dancing’ in the title is a key element. The quality of dance in the author’s style brings hope and consolation.

Olaizola is perceptive, imaginative and down-to-earth, and he conveys his wisdom through literature, poetry, cinema and personal anecdotes.”

The author asserts that if people can accept loneliness as a normal emotion, they can learn to listen to it and embrace it as a creative emptiness in which something new and life-giving can develop. This experience may provide them with a space for self-awareness, self-reflection, self-discovery, and self-acceptance. It can help them to rebuild trust in others and possibly choose those they trust more wisely.

Brian Grogan SJ continues:

“Olaizola bravely reviews his own celibate life in terms of loneliness. When contemplating the step of becoming a Jesuit he imagined that no life could be lonelier than that of a celibate… Happily the life he chose led to his heart and mind being full of people he is very fond of. He has discovered that loneliness exists in every life.”

Using the imagery of dance, Olaizola says the world is filled with the music in people’s hearts and that everyone has a different song. He describes a ‘vicious’ loneliness, painful and unwanted, which is destructive and does not carry the seed of new growth, ‘a tortuous tango’.

However, he shows that people can learn to guide their emotions and to dance to their own ‘heart song’. They can choose to tango alone or together. This book teaches them the steps.

José María R. Olaizola SJ is a Jesuit, writer and sociologist. He is currently head of institutional communication for the Society of Jesus in Spain. He has an active social media presence and is the author of numerous books in his native Spanish.

Dancing with Loneliness by José María R. Olaizola SJ is published in Ireland and the UK by Messenger Publications. It is priced at €12.95/£11.95.