Choosing to Break Open

I thought of my last girlfriend as the love of my life, my one great love. The relationship ended and I was devastated. I am still working to get over the deep wounds inflicted there. Life goes on whether my heart aches or not. Truly just living can break your heart. The beauty of a robin on the park bench is enough to bring a fracture to the fragile heart that has been busy trying to build walls.

I leaned so deep into the breaking, mining it for spiritual evolution. A little over a month ago I stopped leaning in and the walls started going up. I was TIRED of being broken open. I was TIRED of loving my ex-girlfriend, praying for her, and wishing her well even while wondering if she was in fact ever going to speak to me again. I didn’t stop caring; I just grew tired of how bad it hurt to lean in to a deep working such as making heartbreak your ally.

So the walls came up, all at once and out of nowhere. I built them through alcohol, food, and a sudden lack of any kind of spiritual practice. Meditation became history. I stopped doing my soul alignment. I stopped praying. I stopped reading the Big Book. I just stopped being the spiritual person I typically am and reverted back to the pattern of addiction.

I wanted the walls to stay up so my heart wouldn’t be broken anymore. The thing is, my heart IS still broken and I had just hidden it behind thick walls. There are no walls thick enough to stop the heart from hurting.

This new ache I have in my heart over my best friend moving away is teaching me something new about love. I am in absolute awe at the love I feel for this woman and the heart’s ability to be both full and in pieces all at once. My heart is so full with happiness for my friend. Her family, her partner and children, are truly my chosen family and the best family I have ever had. I feel like everything I thought before about love and what it felt like to feel that “love of your life” feeling, is changing with the realization of how much love I feel for them. The love of my life isn’t someone who would ever leave me in heart or spirit. The love of my life is this family, this chosen family I’ve been blessed with.

A phone call yesterday with my brother while he sat in the airport after flying to their new city for job interviews moved me to tears when I said, “We have to work really hard to stay in touch,” and he responded, “Just try to stop us lady.” I hung up feeling my heart so full that I had his friendship and love in my life and simultaneously broken with the idea of them being so far away. This man probably doesn’t realize the influence he’s really had on me, especially in the last year. His has become a life line, the person I reach out to when I need support with my step work and when I need to be told I can get back on track. He constantly talks about how much he loves his partner, my best friend. I call him my brother because he is the brother I wish I had. He is the kind of man I wish more men could be. The kind of man I respect and admire. He is the most gentle father I have ever seen, so giving and loving, and so fully present with his kids.

I’ll miss those kids too. I have never felt this close to anyone else’s children before. I will miss R. calling me Aunt Starr and giving me the best hugs ever. I will miss her fiery energy and spirited drive for justice. I’ll miss sword fighting with S. and hearing about the monster he is slaying in whatever game it is this week. I’ll write to them and hope that it keeps some of the bond I feel with them alive for all of us.

So yes my heart is still broken and keeps breaking, such is life. I am so proud of my friends for taking these bold steps into a new life for themselves. They inspire me and I’ve been taking some bold steps toward creating a new future for myself as well. Meanwhile, I will be present with my heart; so full of happiness for them and the times when I realize what loss I am facing with their move and my heart feels like it’s in pieces. And I’ll keep healing the pain of my break up. I’ll keep letting the sight of a robin move me to tears. I will keep leaning in to love, all the way in, even when it breaks my heart open. Because when the heart breaks open it doesn’t just let light in, it can let some of the light you didn’t know you had inside you shine out.


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