And just like that, I untied myself from Mr. Big. I was free, but there was nothing exquisite about it.~Carrie, Sex and the City
You live, you learn. You love, you learn. (Thanks, Alanis). In the wake of my current situation, which is the ending of my six year relationship, I’m learning still. About three months ago, my beau and I decided mutually to go our separate ways, because, quite frankly, we already were. I’m not countrygalcitygal for nothing. I live in both Arkansas and New York, but he is just cityboy. From around the beginning of this year, we lived in a state of relationship ambivalence, though neither of us wanted to admit it. My heart wasn’t fully in the relationship, mainly because I began to feel torn between my two cities and my two lives and had begun to develop, more and more, dreams for a building a sustainable home and studio and life in a city that was actually affordable and a place where I have felt for many years now, that I could truly make a difference. (Arkansas, duh.) The beau’s life as an actor was finally taking off and he’s adjusted and happy in NYC. We decided to let each other go. In the word’s of Anthony DeMello, an author we recently began reading, we said to each other, I leave you free to be yourself, to think your thoughts, to indulge your tastes, follow your inclinations, behave in any way that is to your liking. And although it hurt, we meant it.
Then, exactly one month later, it happened.
It was a hot Yin Yoga class that I ended up in quite by accident. It was through an amazing series of random events that put me in that hot room that day…a summer teacher training, a guest instructor, a misunderstanding that the class was to be restorative…anyway, there I was, and I was suffering. If you have never been to Yin Yoga before, it is a series of 6–10 postures that are held 5–10+ minutes each, in an effort to stretch safely beyond muscle and into tendons and ligaments, and it is a specific form of mind–body torture. That day I struggled to stay in poses like pigeon as anger and sadness bubbled up and out. I stuck it out, I left pissed off. (This is very unlike me, as I generally keep a calm, pleasant, and happy disposition.) That night I had a realization. Holy ****! My [now ex-beau] is my perfect partner!
Uh–oh, for reals.
Over the next few days I feel head over heels in love…again. I let go of all inhibitions I had about marriage and commitment. I realized I didn’t have to be in a hurry to be in Arkansas full time. I allowed myself to reciprocate what I had been told, You are the love of my life. And as I poured out my heart and soul to the now ex-beau, I remembered the saying, timing is everything. I knew it was true, when he told me it was too late, that he was no longer in love with me, and that he no longer shared mine/(our) dream of an Arkansas future.
I had shared my truth. I refused to manipulate him or the situation, and therefore, I continued to live. I was unable to move on though, as I woke up day after day, still completely in love. I spent the following month truly living the things I teach in yoga, mindfulness and meditation.
Breathing. Usually a simple task for me but it became a constant struggle.
Living in the present moment. For one of the first times in my life, I had to ask myself, am I okay? Are my needs being met? It takes a lot of faith to believe that they are, because it sure as hell didn’t feel like it.
Embracing duality. Logically I understood that I must experience suffering to know true joy, that one cannot exist without the other. Application is another thing. Reminding myself that I do not need to know or ask why?
I remembered and was comforted by my yoga practice. Yoga is, after all, always there, never ceasing, ever present and patient. It is waiting for us, and has been for thousands of years, in our joy, in our pain. It’s there when we come to work hard, when we come to be comforted. It is true as an old friend, present through our marriages and divorces, our promotions and our lay-offs, through our strength and through our brokenness, and everything in between. And it gives us realizations, though we may not yet know why. And so I returned, day after day, heart broken and devastated and fearful, and alive.
Where there is desire there is gonna be a flame. Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned. But just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die. You gotta get up and try, try, try. ~Pink
Finally, about two weeks ago, I woke feeling some relief. I knew it was not healthy for me to be living with so much desire, no matter how pure I could justify it to be. I don’t know how it is possible to feel heartbroken and sad and at the very same time to love life be okay. Perhaps I am seeing both my human experience as well as my consciousness? Lord knows, my spirit is unaffected by my measly human attachments, it just IS! So anyway, for a little positivity and hope for all ya’ll out there, let’s analyze: for all intents and purposes, I have been turned down from a marriage proposal, which was probably one of the worst scenarios I could ever have imagined…and I’m still here. I have made it to the other side and I’m alive. I can still smile, and believe me when I say, I have no idea how, but I’m gonna thrive.
Before I close, I want to share some of the amazing realizations I’ve had over the past weeks, in the hopes of helping us all to learn as we love.
1–Commitment can mean freedom. Even though it seems to not be true, it is! Human beings work well when we commit. Think about it…whether it’s a fitness goal, or a career endeavor, or getting a pet, signing up for art class, buying a bicycle, or committing to sharing life’s journey with a wonderful partner…we become free once the commitment is made. I used to think it was the opposite–especially when it came to marriage–but I understand now that marriage means you have ultimate freedom to do anything you want to do, along side the person with whom you’d like to share it all.
2–A fatal flaw in the demise of my relationship, was not being able to figure out the fine balance between living in the present and dreaming of our mutual future. We each became so afraid that we would not be in each other’s futures (i.e. NY acting world & Arkansas sustainable living world), that we completely quit talking and dreaming and planning for them. So that, when we arrived to time of breaking up, it was because there was, literally, no more future for us. So now I understand–enjoy the present, don’t waste time waiting to be in the future, but dream and fantasize and make believe with your spouse (no time tables necessary) because we are living now the manifestation of the thoughts of our past.
3–We can’t have everything we want all of the time. I realize this sounds like a no-brainer, but coming to terms with this statement means accepting a certain kind of heartbreak. I guess, it’s the heart break of being a human, where everything you encounter begins it’s ending as soon as you encounter it. Whether it is a relationship (romantic or with a friend or relative), a beautiful song, a show in a theater, a blooming flower, as soon as as these things are born, they begin to die. Even as I write this, I grow older and closer to my time of leaving this body. The more amazing people I meet on all my many adventures, the more places I visit, the more unique experiences I have, the more time I will not get to spend with all those amazing people, the more places I will never visit again, the more unique the experiences will become, because I will only have them once. This made sense to me as I thought about Arkansas. I thought this was the area of the greatest concentration of people/things/places I love, but the truth is so many things I love are so very spread out. My best friend is in New York and New York itself is a great love of mine. There is no where I can be without feeling the loss of someone or something, so I must go. Go on, move on, move back and forth, and live and love and experience and learn to defy the laws of physics and travel as my consciousness because only then do I have a hope of remembering I am already one with everything.
To life and love,
PS. I am reminded of this great song by John Bucchino, This Moment. I wish I had a copy of me singing it, but I don’t, so check out these great lyrics and then look for the lovely version sung by Kristen Chenowith.
This moment, perfect, golden, grasp it, see it
This moment, laughing, happy, feel it, be it
Curve of face, warmth of hands, butterflies
Pin in place when it lands, try, try
This moment, ripened, bursting, taste it, name it
This moment, precious, fleeting, catch it, frame it
Curve of moon, warmth of air, willow bough
Winter soon, be aware now, how
This sadness, aching, reaching, looking on
At this moment, present, distant, shining bubble, touch it, lose it
Happy, laughing, perfect, golden