the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
This is the place I am in. Summer flew by in my new home so beautifully. That transition was seamless. Portland, Maine suits me in way that feels simultaneously like coming home and starting over again. Growing up, I always wanted to move and be the new kid. I’ve always been a “me first!” kind of gal (hello Aries sun!) and haven’t ever had trouble making friends. This time, I return to the salt water, which is healing me right this moment, but I am also new here and that is exciting, in a trembling, fluttery sort of way.
I thought the transition I would be facing once I got here would eventually be marriage, property-buying, and planning logical parts of my future with my partner. I think maybe most people that know me, would have agreed. It just seemed like the next step from the outside looking in. But, in true wild woman fashion, that’s not what happened.
Have you ever had a wake-up call so deep in your bones, that all of a sudden, you took a breath and exhaled and realized you’ve been holding it for a year? As if you pulled back a curtain to some forgotten dusty place in yourself, and were shocked to find that part of you was hidden in there? This was my experience last month. This realization meant that my relationship was over. By no means was it a knee-jerk reaction, but once I saw every step leading to this decision, I couldn’t un-see it. The part of myself that I spied behind the curtain was my inner life, and it wasn’t matching my outer life at all.
Your outer life is easy to define. Your job, your friends, what you do– the literal actionable qualities you embody on daily basis. What is the inner life? I see it as the goings-on under the surface. The place where you contemplate the questions you don’t speak out loud, where your inner guidance comes through. The place where you ask, “Should I stay?” And should you? These two lives should not be too far off from one-another, as far as I’m concerned.
My inner life was consumed with supporting a person I loved (and still love in many ways) so deeply, that I believed it was my purpose and duty as a partner to be there no matter what; that just because I said I wanted this forever, I would diligently hold the weight and space for emotional growth all the time. It was work I wanted to do because I thought at some point there would be room for me. In the time frame where I needed that room, it wasn’t there. I have to believe that is okay too. It is okay to try your hardest, give of yourself everything you have, and at some point realize, this isn’t it and it won’t be it. You are no less of a partner or person because you couldn’t make it work. I am no less of a partner or person because I couldn’t make it work. The relationship we had, the growth we did make, is not erased or negated because we are no longer partners.
I’d also like to celebrate my former partner for being loving, gracious, understanding, mature and thoughtful through this transmutation of our relationship into friendship. He told me that I gave him a gift through our relationship and even through the process ending it. I’m watching him blossom into his best person and although sometimes I am sad that I have to miss it, and someone else will slip more easily into the space I occupied, I am so happy for him that it often doesn’t matter. This is me trying to cultivate love without attachment.
I subscribe to the idea that we don’t own our partners or lovers (or anyone for that matter) and the only things we have control over are our reactions to the actions of others. When I feel jealousy or sadness or any of those seemingly yucky feelings that happen with a breakup (or you know, in your life for whatever reason), I ask myself “Will I die of jealousy? No. Of rejection? No. Of disappointment? Negative.” And we won’t. I won’t. My practice of loving non-attachment encourages me to ask these questions over and over. There is a word in sanskrit: svadhyaya. It means ‘self study’. This is the lifelong study of myself. Engagement with those feelings without becoming attached to them is key.
Now, I approach the age of 30. For some people, a breakup at this juncture is debilitating. Luckily for me, this is the most myself I’ve ever felt. It is the most embodied, the most sexy, the most mastered, the most everything (Of course, there are hard insecure days, but I solo dance party the sh*t out of those and I generally feel better). It all just feels so big and so good- even the parts where I feel like caterpillar soup inside my cocoon. I am reveling in my ability to stay my own course, to have true aim, and to soften my edges and find strength in that. The awareness I have at this point for the space I require and the partnership I desire is at an all time high. My body feels amazing and my heart is tender but hopeful. My clarity tells me that my inner life just leveled up. Question: Do you ever see the sun rise and your heart could just burst because you love your life and you’re so grateful and you just know that there is something really good coming your way? I thought so. Me too.