"The loss of a relationship is making it very hard for me to continue with my busy life."
Thank you for your support. I wrote to you three years ago and benefitted from your guidance---thank you. Here we meet each other, again.
I met a very beautiful man shortly after you shared your guidance on healing my self-image and on learning to trust life. At the time, I was only able to accept and understand part of your message, that I should practice trusting life, so it is not perhaps surprising that I am still working with this idea. And wow---am I ever at the moment. The idea of surrender, of accepting life's flow, of allowing life and love---it's finally dawning in me. I'm learning to practice this, just tiny bits, just tiny moments and already it is transformative, but it is also painful. I am beginning to understand that I cannot control life and can appreciate more easily and gracefully each day, but the new growth that I hope will make me feel more supported has not yet come in. I would like to ask for your guidance and support in this chapter of my path.
My three-year relationship with a man I loved very much and with whom I felt seen and loved, ended unexpectedly at the end of December. He met someone else who was also in a relationship, but wants to be free to explore with her should she leave her partner. I respect his soul's journey and understand that I have no business holding on to him, so I have committed to letting him go. He texts me regularly but I find myself still too bruised to answer the simple questions, "How are you?" when I am still mourning so keenly for the loss, and unsure what motivates him to connect. My PhD is due at the end of this month and having my whole domestic and emotional life upended at this very precarious moment is completely overwhelming. It is all I can do to get out of bed and force myself to write, to write, to push harder, so that I have some chance of making this deadline. All of the regular parts of life---eating, sleeping, focus, have been changed by the loss of the relationship, and all I can do is try to hang on. I find a lot of unexpected strength in my deep self through this and have enjoyed a powerful call back to my meditation practice and to spiritual intimacy with myself, or at least the memory of that beyond my anxiety.
The loss of this relationship comes at the same time as a rejection from medical school, my dream. After ten years of feeling purposeless but working incredibly long and hard, 60-70 hours a week as an academic, I found a vocation two years ago in medicine. In deciding to train to become a doctor, even at this "old" age, I felt all my intellectual and soul pieces come together. It feels so right! I don't mind the idea of applying again next year, but I am gutted, so disappointed not to have forward motion. I find myself here, at 37, with no partner, no clear next step in my vocation, and nothing but my own self. The beauty, of course, is that I am starting to understand that that is all we ever truly have.
I've used two images in trying to share my current moment with friends. I have described this moment as freefall. The two things (relationship and medicine) I most valued and I believed I was creating are not for me, now. I can't control either, I can't control anything, I have to surrender and believe that struggle, endless work, and loss are not the whole of what life offers me. I have to trust that I will be nourished, but accept that maybe it won't be medicine, maybe I won't have a partner in love. The second image that resonates for me is of being in a fire. In this loss, I've felt called to allow my grasping and controlling to cease. Parts of my ego are being burned away. My dreams, as I had created them, are being burned away. Things as I wanted them may not be for me, so let it burn. I have not choice.
I know that I have to love myself. I take that as my only task (aside from the practical matter of driving myself through this grief to finish the PhD). I wish I could ask you for reassurance that I have what I want ---a partner and a career where I serve with all of my gifts---but the beauty of this moment is that I can't even grasp onto the reassurance of others. So I ask you for whatever you are called to share with me in this very lonely, but clear place. Despite the work that I've done, romantic and professional rejection still feel familiar to me, even comforting. I wish for that pattern to burn away. I blame myself for all of this loss, for not "getting it" sooner, whatever it is. Perhaps I could have kept my love if I had worked harder at understanding my life lessons.
Your letter is so heartfelt and so clear, that I am deeply touched. You have said it so beautifully and with such clarity that I wonder if there is anything that I can add. I am so glad that you chose to express your sadness and put what you are feeling and going through out in front of you. That is a big part of the healing process - to express it.
It is important to grieve when we experience a loss as deeply as you have, so I encourage you to allow yourself to go into that place. Grief is different for everyone, but when it does rise up in you, when it can be expressed and experienced, I deeply invite you to allow it to come. Then, you are freed up to continue doing what you need to in your life, with such greater ease, until perhaps the next wave rolls in to be released. I have found that it does roll in, in waves, and we need to honor that our being is helping us to heal and move on by allowing the grief to come up in bits and pieces to be expressed and released. Otherwise, if we push it down, it can make us sick or fester in us.
What else comes to mind to share with you is this. 37 is not old, nor the end of things. I met my husband ( we've been together now for 23 years ) at age 40, after 2 other marriages. It is a wonderful relationship, even though we both still had a lot of personal healing work to do, and continue to do so. I also found my vocation of healing more around then, and still continue to grow into that, as well. So, there is not a stopping point in life. But it sounds as if you believe that there is a dead end, a stopping place. Life is ALWAYS AND FOREVER in flux - atoms and molecules constantly moving and splitting apart and bouncing into one another, taking on new shapes and textures and forms. Life IS movement - it is constant change, from every second to every second, from every moment to the next. When we realize this, and accept the wonder of it, then we are ALIGNED with life. We do not expect things to stay the same, and we get into this amazing dance of movement and flux and flow.
Every moment has both birth and death within it. The death of that moment gives birth to the life of the next. That is why all of the great spiritual teachings speak of this - this is the "detachment" they speak of... to let life MOVE YOU, as it moves. When we let life move us - when we move with it - not only are we dancing so gracefully, really being present to what there is, in each moment for us,but we also then allow ourselves to be full of feeling - we allow ourselves to feel... to take in every intense, amazing bubble of feeling that has popped up in that one particular moment, and then the one after that. Imagine making a painting of only one color, one texture, no shape or design... that is not what life is. Life is full of the colors of all things - happiness, sadness, loneliness, joy, grief, fulfillment, imbalance, harmony... and on and on. All of this we add to our tapestry, the tapestry of our life experience, and by doing so, we have a rich and complex and amazing design and creation, all woven together. That is when we truly feel alive.
So, right now, the feeling and color and texture you are predominantly feeling is grief. Let yourself have it! It is not the only feeling you will ever have - but by letting yourself truly have it, you make room for the next amazing addition to your life's tapestry. Do you see this?
There is a good book out now that I think will help you during this time... it is called Warrior Goddess Training, by Heatherash Amara. In 10 chapters, it takes you through how to do this, and I think you will find it a great support and a good friend.
Also, what I am picking up in your letter is the belief that you have done something wrong... that if you were better, somehow, or different, or had done things differently, then things would be better for you... that somehow you caused this.
This comes from a deep wound, a belief, usually developed in childhood, that it is the child's fault that others are unhappy or unwell or unfulfilled. It is taking on the pain of others into your body, and thinking that it is your fault. When we take this kind of pain into our body, it remains stuck there, like a bruise that keeps on hurting, and festering, until we see it, find it, and release that trauma - and it IS an actual trauma in the body - from our being. I invite you to look up the Whole Heart Healing technique online, and work with finding where this bruise is living in you. Start with the most recent one, which would be, I imagine the loss of your boyfriend, or the med school, and then follow the instructions given in the process to see where this first began for you. I would invite you to do this at least twice in a 3 day period of time. Very powerful, and deeply healing.
This belief has to do with "dislike of the self" - we dislike ourselves when we believe that we are the cause of these "bad things" that happen to mommy or daddy, etc. This is not true however, in any way, shape, or form. But as children, we thought it was.
The mantra for this is:
"I rejoice in who I am. I am a beautiful expression of life, flowing perfectly at all times."
So, here you have it - the mention of the flow of life - the knowing that who you are and that what you add to life, in each and every moment, is unique and beautiful - it is saying to rejoice in the movement of life - to rejoice in what you feel, what you are, what you offer. It doesn't depend on who you are with, or whether or not, in the final analysis, you get into med school, or you work in a department store. What matters is that your cells are dancing and moving and flowing with color and allowing yourself to absorb this amazing life experience - full of feelings, all sorts of feelings. That all kinds of experiences will come, so that we taste and experience all of it. When we do it from this perspective - this alignment - it changes our lives.
This is not to say that one does not have dreams or follow them. But, I think that these dreams can flow into being much more easily when we are in this dance of life - when we have not tightened up or narrowed our energy field into a tight knot of tension or shut down around us - when we are open and dancing. Have you ever heard the expression: Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly"?
This is what it's all about.....feeling deeply, but flowing - knowing it's all part of the dance. NOT because you are a bad child who made mommy and daddy's life anything, good or bad. Can you find that little girl inside of you and tell her this - dance with her in utter delight, swing her around... delight with her, and let her know that what she is is a joy of being?
Give it a try - do it often... delight with her.
Hope this adds to your already beautiful clarity.