“It started in the spring, on the dock. Facing each other, eyes timidly flickering up to meet one another’s before gazing back down at our laps. Sharing bits and pieces of our lives, as our laughter echoed across the still water of the lake. The setting sun dancing on its surface as the flowers began to bloom.
It ended the following summer, it was dark that night. A letter read. A mind unchanged. Overflowing tears from eyes that begged to be met by the ones that once flickered up to meet mine in anticipation and love. The pain was palpable as I swore I felt my heart break in my chest.”
Falling in love is a beautiful thing. The anticipation, the first kiss, late night phone calls, butterflies, hand holding. Love is intoxicating. The over-the-moon, shoot for the stars; give your heart to someone else kind of love.
The breakdown can be debilitating.
I’ve always given a lot of love, energy and affection to the people I care about and unapologetically so. I never thought twice about it. Until one fateful day I had my heart broken. And I mean really broken. Like out of left field, world crumbling, dumb-founded, gut wrenching, painful heartbreak. The packed up boxes, empty side of the bed, re-reading every single love letter kind of heartbreak.
It made me question my heart. It made me question how willingly I gave my love to others. It made me question who I was. I never truly understood the pain of losing a love until this breakup. I had been in other relationships, much longer ones in fact but this one tugged at my heartstrings. He dove inside and awoke a part of me that I didn’t know existed. I shared the authentic, raw me and when he chose to not have that as part of his life anymore, I was crushed.
As a generally positive and optimistic person I had trouble comprehending the sadness I was feeling.
Would I feel like this forever?
Why did my heart hurt so much?
Am I loveable?
I wanted to run back and revoke all those moments I shared. I felt like I was naked and everyone was snickering. I had bared my soul to another and was left open and wounded. I vowed to protect my heart. To hold it close to me and not let someone have that part of me again.
Until I realized I can’t. John Legend said it loud and clear, we were made to love. Touché John, touché.
I stumbled across this quote a few weeks ago and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. If I knew my heart would break, would I have loved him anyway? Yes. A resounding yes. A friend of mine told me a story about a man who waits his whole life for his love, through distance, through a marriage and in the end, she rejects him. He is absolutely crushed until he recognizes his devotion; his ability to love so wholeheartedly is a gift.
We live in a culture that celebrates success, joy and love but shy’s away from feelings of loneliness and sorrow. We feel guilty for our sadness, desperate to find happiness again. Instead of sitting with our sadness and accepting it we see it as a burden.
A recent article in Yoga Journal explained
“…as the Buddha said, impermanence is the nature of the human condition. This is a truth we know in our minds but tend to resist in our hearts. Change happens all around us, all the time, yet we long for the predictable, the consistent. We want the reassurance that comes from things remaining the same. We find ourselves shocked when people die, even though death is the most predictable part of life.”
The idea that “nothing gold can stay” also works the opposite way. Your sadness is fleeting, as is your happiness. Life is a series of ups and downs, high’s and low’s, good and bad, happiness and sadness.
The monks seem to have found a solution to this. Tibetan Buddhist monks practice intensive mental awareness through mindfulness meditation. The monk’s emotions and other mental events are recognized, but not reacted to. Their objective is to separate themselves from their emotions, to be able to acknowledge them and let them go.
Now props to the monks but that is just not me.
I feel big time. The highs and the lows. I feel them.
And for that,
I AM GRATEFUL.
I learned so much about myself through loving wholeheartedly. I learned to let go earlier. I learned what I can live with and what I cannot. To be honest and true to myself. I learned that everything that happened, happened as it should. To have no regrets. To live big. I learned that I love surprises, and love notes and my back tickled. I learned that it is delicious to mix wasabi with your soy sauce. I learned how to snowboard. I learned the perfect way to cut a grapefruit and that it is much better with some sugar sprinkled on top. I learned the best way to dance to deep house music and how to maximize space while packing your suitcase. I learned how to imitate the British accent perfectly, where to get the best coffee in town and how to shoot a free throw.
Most importantly, I learned to let go and just love.
Does my heart still hurt? Sure.
But where I used to curse my heart for feeling so deeply, now, I thank myself. I think you have to experience the lows to really appreciate the highs. I am grateful for impermanence. The fact that my life is constantly changing is exciting and so fulfilling. The fact that none of us know what tomorrow brings is absolutely inspiring. There is adventure around every corner and the opportunity to truly live life to the fullest.
The risk is part of what makes you alive. There is so much beauty in vulnerability. Discovering who you really are and sharing that with someone else is incredibly liberating, soul satisfying and what life is all about. I will always love, love.
To those who have had a piece of my heart, take it. As my good friend Eoin Finn says “love is the ultimate renewable resource.” I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to give and receive love, however impermanent it may have been.
Had I known my heart would break, I would have absolutely loved you anyway.