"It takes courage...to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the full pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives." - Marianne Williamson
Lately, my mornings have begun like this. At the first sign of light, my body becomes restless, twitching ever so slightly as it slowly comes out of a deep and intense dream filled sleep. I can already tell by the lighting that it's early, probably between six and six-thirty in the morning. The downside of being a lark in a world full of owls is that no matter what time you go to bed, your body wakes with the rising of the sun.
I shift ever so slightly in bed until I become conscious that I am, once again, awake. I lay there momentarily until I have a good grasp on how I feel. My dreams have been filled with interesting story lines lately, ones I can only imagine Freud would have a heyday with. The monsters are playing tricks with me again. Monsters that can only be stirred by heartache and loss and leaving.
I open one eye, then the other, blinking uncontrollably as I patiently wait for them to adjust to the dim morning light. I move my body in a more direct and aware manner now, noticing how I feel. Sore and achy seems to be the norm lately, all for good reason though. Then it hits me, that undeniable feeling of heaviness that smacks me in the middle of my chest. And I remember.
Two weeks have gone by and it's slowly starting to fade and I find myself in an interesting position. A mix of holding on and letting go. The never ending battle between the head, and the heart.
I want to roll back over and go back to sleep, I long for the reprieve from the battle within. An eight hour break from feeling...anything. When you are a person who has finally allowed yourself to feel everything deeply, sleep becomes a welcome escape every now and then. Not that I condone numbing or escaping, I fully believe in facing your feelings head on. However, sometimes the reprieve is needed, even for just a day or two.
In my morning fuzz, I remember the excitement of yesterday, how good I felt, how free and full of possibility. How my friend and I were talking and laughing about life's little mysteries on our bike ride. How when one door closes, it means others are waiting to open in its place. And then, in the matter of twelve hours, you can wake with that sinking feeling in your chest again, grasping for what's familiar once more.
We want to hold on to the potential, especially when it's someone who we could see and feel something real with. When it's someone who gives you that feeling that only comes once ever so often. The chemistry.
We want to hold on to the little moments, the treasured inside jokes, the sweet somethings they do just to show they care, the mornings filled with laughter and stolen glances of admiration. You long once again for the "good morning sunshine" texts and wonder why you didn't completely cherish and appreciate them in the moment.
As human beings, it's hard to let go of something that feels good, something our heart wants. We are in a constant tug-of-war with our resistance to change. We waver every day, between multiple feelings and extremes. We hold on to the known because we are terrified of what the unknown may bring. Even when it very well could be better for you. I am no stranger to this truth.
I shake my thoughts off and push back the covers forgetting that my four-legged companion was curled up, deep in his own dream world, at the end of my bed. Startled awake, he gives me a dirty look, one he's perfected perfectly. So much so that it feels like a tiny danger right through my heart. He jumps off the bed, running to the closed bedroom door and begins to scratch gently. A signal to me that he wants out. I really do not think people give cats enough credit for their keen ability to train humans.
I sit up in bed and stare back at him, my dearest companion of ten years, as his quiet pawing at the door has now become a frantic mix of body slamming and deep, guttural cries. All with the occasional pause and glance back towards me to make sure I've taken notice and I'm in pursuit of doing something about it.
"Jeeze Oliver.." I say as I throw my legs over the side of the bed scratching my tangled mix of overly processed, dry curly hair. "Calm down. People are going to think I torture you or something. You are so stinking dramatic." I say as calming as I can, as if my tone just may ease his fears of being trapped in our bedroom. He glances back at me as if to say, "Look lady, if you don't let me out RIGHT NOW, I will destroy you and everything in this room!" And then I swear he bared his teeth and growled at me.
Ten years. Ten years of perfected attitude. Ten years of knowing just how to get me to do what he wants.
I stepped onto the faded brown carpet that lined my bedroom floor. "Oliver, one of these days I really hope you appreciate what you have. You could be a mangy street cat who's left to his own devices. Try that on for fun." I say with my sassiest tone as I open the door. He barrels out, running as fast as he can into the sliding glass door. I stare on in mild disbelief. "Payback." I mutter as I walk to the sliding glass door and give him the very thing he longs for; freedom. This irony is not lost on me as I reflect on my recent breakup.
I watched as he sprints out the door, panicked and needing air, only to stop six feet away and sit on the stones that adorn the backyard patio. With his back to me, I can tell his eyes are closed as he feels the light breeze against his fur and the warm morning rays of sunlight beginning to poke through the trees that line our backyard, and I can tell he has found his peace. He finally feels free.
And it hit me; we are more alike then I've ever realized.
The anxiety that was bubbling in my chest from the moment I woke needed to be released, it needed to be free.
I quickly changed out of the night shirt I had wore to bed, throw on my purple leggings and a black and white tank top I find in my closet and deem clean enough to wear out in public. I throw on my green 'Be Hippy' hat, standard attire for most of my outings if I'm honest, and slip into my favorite black flip flops and head out the door, grabbing my keys and ten dollars on my way out.
I drive to my favorite coffee shop and grabbed my black cup of inspiration and head down to walk the beach.
Over the last few years one of my daily practices has be trying to listen to what I need and want more and convince myself of other things less. I mean, that is pretty much self-love 101, right? What does your heart want Amanda? What do you NEED right now Amanda? How are you feeling in this moment Amanda? All questions I try to infuse moment to moment, situation to situation and experience to experience.
However, this doesn't mean it does't come without painful experiences or feelings. Not everything we need is what we want, at least on a conscious level, and not every decision makes you feel great in the moment or for the weeks that follow. However, learning to listen to yourself and trust what your intuition is telling you will always lead you to the truth.
As I walked along the beach I observed the heaviness in my chest and feel the longing to understand. "I am willing to see things differently." I mumbled to myself. "I am willing to see things differently.
The truth is, any time something comes to an end, whether that is a romantic relationships, an opportunity we thought we really wanted, a job, a friendship or so forth, there is an undeniable pain and feeling of loss that comes with it. A sadness, a disappointment, a longing for what was and what could have potentially been. But a long time I go I was told by a wise person to never date potential. Always trust and work with what is right in front of your face.
Some can stuff their feelings down. I know this because I use to be incredibly skillful at stuffing myself. So good in fact that I thought I was dealing with whatever was happening but the truth was, I was stuffing.
You numb yourself perfectly to the point where you feel...nothing. No feelings come or go. No real happiness and no real sadness. In an attempt to not feel the lows, congratulations, you now feel nothing at all.
It will however, always resurfaces in some way, at some point, in some form, usually as some complicated mix of anxiety, anger and sadness and you will be left feeling more then if you would have just dealt with it in the first place.
You have to deal with life head on or all those issues with continue to resurface until you do. Please believe me when I say this. You will continue to be met with the same situation, the same person, the same scenario over and over until you get to the root of why you are attracting that in the first place. This has been the greatest lesson this past year for me.
You end a relationship with someone for a reason. Compatibility. Life goals and values. Bad timing. Betrayal. Lack of respect and communication. And sometimes something ends out of fear. Fear of being hurt, fear of the unknown, fear of growth, fear of change, fear of being challenged into a new way of existing, fear of old wounds resurfacing. Fear of never being enough for someone.
And sometimes you don't even want the breakup but you know you have to and it takes everything in you to cut the ties and slowly, but surely, move on. Because you realize that deep within you, you want more for yourself. You deserve better. You deserve to stay true to what you know exist but needs time to manifest.
And so, once again, you are left feeling the feels. Deeply. It's taken me a long time to allow myself to really feel an ending, no matter what that ending is. How long the relationship lasted is irrelevant to what the relationship brought you. You can experience something more deep and meaningful with someone in three months then someone you've been with for two years. It's about chemistry. It's about connection. It's about friendship. And when that is gone, it hurts. Deeply.
When they are no longer in your life, mourning is an important part of moving on. I would advice against trying to avoid this process. I would advice against trying to fill that void too quickly with things that bring you momentary happiness or excitement. Feel. The. Feels. All of them. That isn't to say wallow in your pain. Please, surround yourself with love and laughter and happiness. Find gratitude and appreciation for those pure moments of joy. But don't try to cover up those quiet moments when you are alone, feeling the feels.
When I was going through my divorce I was told by many people that the best way to get over someone was to "get under someone else." I know most were joking. However, I know it's a common practice. Why feel the pain when you can feel the pleasure with someone else? Multiple times in one night. Come to think of it, you actually get a lot of really interesting advice when you are going through a divorce but that one piece has never sat right with me nor will it ever be a way I work through a break up. I need to feel the feels.
As I walked the beach and repeated "I am willing to see things differently," I felt the heaviness in my chest begin to lift as something profound and vital to my evolution as a person hit me. This isn't necessarily an ending, this is an awakening. It's a loss and a gain.
As my mom always says, people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, and when something is so short-lived, it's usually for a reason, a lesson, a quick smack up side the head to say "Amanda, seriously. LISTEN ALREADY, will you?"
I was being gifted an opportunity. I was being cracked open so I could see where I still need to heal, to grow, to learn and to "see things differently." Ultimately, I was given an opportunity to shift perspective, to do things differently, to acknowledge damaging patterns, to understand my pain, my triggers, my fears and myself even better, and to continue to figure out how to forgive myself and ultimately, love and trust myself deeper. And that my friends, that is a truly a gift.
Losing someone is never easy. Actually, it sucks. Plain and simple. I feel like I've lost an extremely close friend. I feel like I've lost something that meant a lot to me. I feel like I've lost something that had all the potential to be magical. A confidant, a closeness, a person I turned to. An attraction, a chemistry, a deep something. You spend all this time with a person and then wham! In one day they are gone, no communication, no response to a momentary weakness when you send them a "I miss you" late night text. Nothing. And you are left spinning. Feeling completely abandoned. But I promise you, it's all FOR you. It's all for your growth...and theirs.
Over a year ago I got 'wild and free' tattooed on the inside of my left bicep and six months ago I got "eudaimonia" on my rib cage, both as a daily reminder to always listen to myself, always strive to step up and live from a genuine place and always ask myself what it is I truly want. Mostly, I use it as a compass for my life. Are the decisions I make leading me towards feeling free or further away? Are certain situations in my life leaving me feeling like a trapped cat in a room where it feels like the walls are closing in on me, or do they contribute to feeling the wind on my skin and a sense of overall freedom? Are they based on true love for myself or a feeling of lack and neediness?
So yes, breakups and loss are painful. It's not always what you really want. However, trust that if you are truly listening to yourself, life will start to unfold FOR you. If you are willing to see things differently, you will.