Tag Archives: breaking up

Working Through the Work.

I started reading, Unbound: The Cycle of Ascendancy – How Your Life Evolves Around It by Dorian Israel. This book was mailed to me from a new friend who I met on (another) recent solo camping trip (funny how unexpected encounters with a stranger can open a door, a conversation, and create a connection).

It’s one of those books which speaks so personally to my world right now that I read it slowly and in my most open-hearted moments of the day.

So far, the first section is underlined like a madman, in particular this sentence which has settled in me with a great understanding …
Alley way

It’s great read, indeed.

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Dismantling the Disney: “Happily Ever After”

905510_594416977235214_187631891_oLike most kids growing up in the 90’s, my ideals of love and partnership were shaped by Disney movies, Cory and Topanga, and fairy tales. Typically (and traditionally), the rough and wild boy snapped into shape and fell in love with the beautiful princess as they lived happily ever after in some elaborate castle, under a rainbow, with no mortgage, love handles or life interruptions.

Happily Ever After.

Man, no wonder we’re so screwed up when our relationships end or run far past their expiration date, leaving us hurt and confused. We’re programmed to rely on the fantasy-induced idea of “forever and ever” to fix our problems. After all, we’re entitled to our “happily ever after” with our “one”, right?

Relying on the idea of “the one” and “happily ever after” [typically] isn’t reality but, it’s blissfully forgotten as we stumble our way into passionate, earth-shattering love with rose-tinted glasses on.

However, people grow and people change, even in relationships – especially in relationships.

Growth can mean lots of things – a career change, facing childhood issues or trauma, becoming spiritually enlightened, moving, or simply discovering different things that make you happy.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned: you can support these changes with your partner (this also means giving them time to grow), complementing and incorporating one another in life’s shifts while the other route, what can tear and once love-filled relationship apart, is when partner involvement is ignored or unwanted. With this latter route, someone becomes confused and feels left out which typically results in bitterness about their partner’s change or who they have “suddenly” become without any form of participation.

Please don’t get me wrong, we don’t need to be involved in every aspect during our partner’s life developments and transformations – they are their own person on their own journey, regardless of their relationship with us. However, when we fail to allow room to give support or simply communicate during these times, it can easily and unknowingly carve a pathway of mistrust and disconnection.

It can also signify our role in that relationship is done. Even that relationship you thought would be one of those “happily ever after’s”.

The night my girlfriend and I broke up, she asked me with hot tears streaming down her face, “what if you’re the one? What if I’m making a mistake and letting the one go?”. Instead of letting my ego overwhelm me with a harsh and emotion-filled comeback, these words came to the surface,

“I really don’t think there is the one. I think there are lots of one’s. You will be fine, I was here when you needed me. You’ll be fine. We’ll be fine.”

She might have been shocked by my response (and maybe a little comforted). I was shocked. I had thought she was my “one” from the moment I saw her but, over the past year our relationship was anything but picture perfect, or even alright. Individually, we had changed drastically – and without any involvement from one another.

The fairy tale misrepresentation of reality and ideals on “forever” wasn’t playing out in our favor anymore. Our own “to infinity and beyond” couldn’t fix the damage we created.

Most of us enter a relationship to give and receive love. For some of us, that love and partnership is a beautiful (and fun) catalyst to learn a great deal about ourselves.  When the relationship ends and the fantasy is over, it is our Growth and clearer understanding of ourselves that is the real result of that connection.

This is the hardest lesson a broken heart can learn. This is an ego-less understanding which takes an enlightened heart to see. It is when our hearts are crushed, trampled, and gently reconstructed that enlightenment enters us and those once rose-tinted glasses turn into high definition Ray Ban’s.

My own life journey has already been filled with people whom I loved and learned from, once making my heart swell with intensity and later broken into thousands of pieces in it’s end. Looking back, I see these relationship as a doorways which opened my eyes, heart, and also made room for the next love or adventure.

I don’t know if there is the ultimate “one” for me. And I’m okay with this. If someone else can enter my world, to make me grow even more with their love, lessons, and final exit, that would be fine with me.

However, if someone enters my life and remains by my side for the rest of my time on this earth, learning and growing, I would warmly welcome it. (What a lovely thought!)

For few people, there are relationships where love enters and remains a literal “forever”, through years of all sorts of growth – sharing life together during good and bad (and every moment in between). It’s these kinds of stories of eternal love that are amazing and also somewhat mythical. My paternal grandparents represent this “forever” – they’ve been together for 60 years – gone through ups, downs, and still remain crazy in love, even during a time when one of them is slowly dying of cancer.

I’m not against “happily ever after”, it can exist but it’s not the experience for most – no matter what fairy tales, religion, or love songs tell us.

People enter and exit our life like a beautifully orchestrated play. With these well-timed introductions and departures we are given the opportunity to grieve the loss, rebuild, and grow (and also build walls – not recommended)

Our ideals on “happily ever after” or “the one” are likely to change as we shift through life, learning and expanding from connections with others and yourself. Perhaps, some will find themselves in their own forever relationship. Either way, we’re always growing, to recognize this and learn from life’s transformations is just as beautiful as any Disney movie ending (tweeting birds and rainbow-filled sky not included).

 

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The Dog Card

Charlie + Grant.   My loves.

Charlie + Grant.
My loves.

I remember when we got Charlie.  He was playing in a enclosed area (my ex referred to as the “puppy corral”) at the SPCA one Sunday afternoon when we just went to “look”.

I wasn’t a dog person, I grew up around cats and despised the stinky slobbery mess of a dog. However, my ex grew up around dogs and loved them.

That day, when we just went to look, we ended up taking home the most adorable and stubborn beagle-mix puppy I would ever meet.  My girlfriend was overjoyed. I hadn’t seen her happy like that in months.  That night, after adopting Charlie, we finally connected with one another. For the first time in months.

He was our band-aid.

When Charlie became too much with his constant anxiety, barking, and high activity, we decided to get another dog.  Unfortunately, we failed to really work with Charlie; he craved walks, needed the dog park, and we failed to provide these outlets of energy to him.  Our inactive relationship and lifestyle leaked onto our animal.

We thought another dog would help.  We’d bring a new addition into our family to become another band-aid.

Oh, this cycle.

When we saw Grant on Petfinder.com, we fell in love.  He was about to be euthanized at a local pound but [fortunately] got a second chance at a Washington DC rescue so Charlie, my girlfriend, and I toted our way to the Nation’s Capital one beautiful Fall day to follow a dog we might or might not adopt.

The Love.

I’ll always remember the moment I saw Grant.  I wanted my reaction to be authentic as possible so I watched my girlfriend’s face and Charlie’s tail-wagging reaction as the rescue employee carried him down the narrow hall I couldn’t see.  They were both ecstatic.

My girlfriend’s happiness and joy made my world. Unfortunately, this was a trend as I usually pushed my own joy to the side for hers.

When I finally turned and saw Grant, a skinny and fearful chestnut colored dachshund-mutt inch towards us, tears started to well in my eyes.

I knew he was ours.

I tell their adoption stories so you might understand the pain when I said a final goodbye to Charlie and the guilt I felt when my ex met me at the park last Saturday, where she gave me Grant.

She’ll have Charlie. I’ll have Grant.

We’ve split the dogs.

Dividing animals amongst the normal pain of a failed relationship is heart-sickening – for everyone involved.

Last night, I went to an Astrologer.  As we made way through the session, we eventually got to the real stuff; our breakup and what lay ahead. She asked me to draw 7 cards from her spread Tarot deck. Turning each card over, she smiled or said “hmm” while I tried to decipher exactly what they meant.

In a calm tone, she started with the first two cards, which represented I was coming back alive but I also endured heartbreak, which required healing and renewal. I needed to purify myself of the ordeal and also needed to forgive her.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 12.56.22 PM copyWhen my eyes fixated on the third card, that kind of lump-in-your-throat-stifled-ugly-cry moment occurred. What the card represented was the release of fear and unhappiness.  Yes, very true. However, the picture of two brown dog figures separated by a road, under a beautiful full moon was all I could focus on.

Of all the 78 cards, I picked this one.  And I would.  When we broke up, I asked the universe to show me signs to make me realize I’d made the right decisions.  Although some things I’ve discovered have been incredibly devastating, the signs have not failed me.

Whether you agree with Astrology, religion, spirituality, or none of them, signs will swirl around you.  Of course, it’s all up to you whether to acknowledge, learn, or gain reassurance from them. And yes, sometimes the signs are painful and destructive to your mind but they’re there for good reason.

So, I’m calling this my Grant Adventure … starting a journey with a dog I never thought I wanted (remember, cat lover here), a ex I never thought I’d have, and the mentality I never knew I could own.

p.s. – Although my journey might seem strong and empowering, I’m still struggling. Every day. There are times when I see her picture or think about what she’s doing and it turns my stomach in knots or mashes my brain and heart into a cyclonic mess. Just sayin’ …

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2 – 1 = 1

Sometimes, I can’t believe I’m here.

Now that sadness and anger of my breakup has coursed it’s way through me and flipped my once “safe” world upside down (shit, NOT fun), I’ve started the new and unknown journey on the road to healing.

For the first time, in a long time, I’m connecting back with … me. At the same time, I’m gently healing the parts of myself, damaged by the emotional, physical, and spiritual neglect I experienced in our unstimulating relationship.  It’s no surprise we sometimes lose ourselves in our partner.  Luckily, I during it, I was somewhat conscious so I didn’t forget myself completely.  However, the parts of me that I couldn’t cling to were severely damaged.

I’m starting to come back alive, every day.  The more alive I become, the more see our relationship in a different light. The more I see it this way, more I resent her.  The more I resent her, the more I try to let it all go and forgive her.  This 24/7 cycle is what I call growth, my friends.

Being single is so … interesting. From cooking dinner for one, watching whatever I want, to using my first coin operated washer and dryer at my apartment … this whole “me, myself, and I” thing is settling in.

During this time of self-discovery, I’m not morphing into someone I’m not or distracting myself with people who don’t know the genuine me. I’ve even put some acquaintance-types of friends on pause because they’re not adding support or respect. Their whole “you just need to sleep with someone … that’ll help you get over it” answer is completely … not me. (They should know this, right!?)

The switch from a unit to individual has been spiritual, because I let it be.  By using the word spiritual, I mean a deep, blind dive into a sadness-drenched, physically painful, obsessive self-doubting whirlwind and now, the start of my rebirth. The old and the new, stronger me is starting to collide.

One of my favorite things I’ve read (and re-read) is the concept of “Conscious Uncoupling” from Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog, Goop. Although it’s talking about a marriage coming apart, breakups are no different emotionally.

This is some deep stuff and I’ve learned with an open mind, I can understand (of course, not all the time I feel this zen about it all) …

“It seems ironic to say that a marriage coming apart is the cause of something else coming together, but it’s true. Conscious uncoupling brings wholeness to the spirits of both people who choose to recognize each other as their teacher. If they do, the gift they receive from their time together will neutralize their negative internal object that was the real cause of their pain in the relationship. If we can allow ourselves this gift, our exoskeleton of protection and imprisonment will fall away and offer us the opportunity to begin constructing an endoskeleton, an internal cathedral, with spiritual trace minerals like self-love, self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness. This process allows us to begin projecting something different into the world because we’ve regained a missing part of our heart.

My exoskeleton is shedding everyday and my eyes are opening every hour. One day, they’ll be so open that I’ll be thankful our relationship and breakup crushed my heart and spirit … only for this time.

So, while I’m getting used to the quietness, there’s a strong self-revolution on it’s way.  A better me – a little smarter, maybe more cautious but, a mended spirit that’s been broken and beautifully reconstructed.  All on my own.

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Cutting Cords

medium_10011881004There are moments when the universe hurls signs at you and you still manage to keep ignoring them.

For 2 years, this happened.  It all came to an end a month ago.

Today marks the 25th day of my breakup. I felt more together on day 1.

That night, during the Winter Olympics, these words suddenly escaped my mouth …

“This is not working. We both know this. We can’t do this anymore.”

I never thought I could muster the courage to say these words out loud. Of course, I had rehearsed this conversation for a year on my drives to work, when she deflated my hopes for a fun weekend, when she wouldn’t hold my hand back, and late at night in bed (feeling so distanced) but vocalizing it took on a whole other feeling. One that was unexpected.

Breakups are the most underrated pain – even if you’re the one that brought it on. It’s the kind of I-feel-fucking-crazy then what-kind-of-mistake-did-I-make whirlwind of emotions.

Like others going through the same ordeal, I find myself trying to keep busy, immersed in all kind of healing prospectives (podcasts, self-help articles, meditation, you name it), and at the same time looking for a new place to live, keeping my sanity together at work, and figuring out what to do with our dogs and that Mexico vacation we booked for May.

After combining energies (because you do this in a relationship) with “your person” and building everything that comes with it (the sex, the same dinner spots, to the home you both create), you’re now forced to retrain your thinking on it all.

After 5 years, we just couldn’t get it right. Of course, I’m being kind and I did get hurt (this seems to be an ongoing trend) – there’s so much more to our story.  But, every relationship has a story that deserves its own book.

For anyone going through a their own mind-boggling break up … you’re right, this fucking sucks.

In my search for some kind of inner peace, I find things to temporarily relive my truffle-eating, sad-playlist-listening, and journal-scribbling self. Here’s the latest and a perfect end to my rambling, from one of my favorite sites, Autostraddle.com.  You can find the link here or read below.

“Even though sometimes the world seems about six sizes too small for our pain, the amazing shit is that no matter how deep purple the bruise is, no matter how dark and overwhelming and miserable and worthless it all seems the world will get a fraction of an inch bigger every day.

Really, every fucking day.

And you won’t notice it for a long time until suddenly, one day, it’s only five times too small for your pain and then four and then the world will just keep getting larger and larger in comparison to your shattered heart and eventually it will be able to hold it and then it will outgrow it.

And your pain will be just a speck in your world.

It is supposed to feel like the end of the world right now. That, my beautiful dearest, is how you know that it was worth it. That is why it was one of the relationships that shook your core and after which you will never be the same. That is how you know that you are growing up and are experiencing shit rather than living safely in risk-free choices….

The world is supposed to feel as though it is ending and you are supposed to know only in the most dormant recesses of the backmost corner of your soul that it will not be like this forever.

You are supposed to feel acutely and lucidly that everything is over that your purpose for life is worthless and that not even cheesy pasta and Molly Ringwald movies are going to make you smile, and you are supposed to know opaquely and elusively and abstractly that everything is not over and that your purpose in life is so much huger than you can ever imagine and is still saturated with value and that you will eat pesto and read Stephen Dunn and live in Manhattan and have stacks of waffles at corner diners with girlfriends and spend inordinate amounts of money on bath products and sunbathe on the roof reading trashy novels and you will will will will will will will love again.

I did not think that I was going to be able to ever breathe without shaking again after J broke up with me, let alone successfully love and fuck again.

That is what you are supposed to think.

I cried hysterically for months.

I wept so much that I had stewardesses on planes ask me if I needed oxygen, I had waitresses refuse to serve me, I had strangers approach me with offers of help.

Then I stopped.

Then I started again and stopped again and started again and then stopped for good…

… I promise you will survive, and with more grace than you can now imagine and that you will have more grit and vision because of it.”

photo credit: Free Grunge Textures – www.freestock.ca via photopin cc

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