In recent posts I have openly portrayed relationship challenges, mostly spiritual in nature, as they have appeared in my life. Here’s the latest.
My beloved and I did face that fork in the road and we did, indeed, decide to walk separate paths. (See Relationship IQ) It was coming for a while and closure feels good. We stayed long enough to express the enormous gratitude we have for one another and for the process and path that we walked together. Seeking personal transformation when we came together, we faced enormous personal fears and challenges. When we reached the top of those mountains we were complete, both as individuals within the relationship and as a couple. Some day I hope to write about this in more depth and detail and to chronicle a wide perspective on the healing miracle of love and relationship in my life. Until then, I have some observations, a witnessing of my current spiritual path. I’d like to tell you how I am doing now.
The past many months and weeks have been a continual process of letting go. At first I let go of the newness of our union, the giddy coming together and the freshness of each new thing we discovered about one another. Next I let go of the things we discovered together, as more of our experiences became patterns and routines. Lastly, I have had to let go of the idea of being together permanently, the hopes, dreams, fantasies of making a life together. I have had to release the belief that we could be anything other than what we are now. This last thing — the idea that anything or anybody can ever be different from what they are at this moment — this is the thing that must die a permanent, gruesome and memorable death if I am ever to be truly happy.
I have thought a lot about impermanence. Like life itself, romantic relationship is precious because it is fleeting. As I grieve the loss of this life, the life of “us,” not yet ready to begin anticipating a new life ahead, I see that the only problem is habit. As soon as the relationship becomes a habit, it is dead. As soon as relationship leaves the stage of newness it is already declining. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to get a new relationship. It means that it is time to wake up to whatever is new.
I spent part of last week waking up to my life, noticing the grief inherent in each moment that held associations with my former beloved. Monday was the last dinner we will ever eat together. Tuesday is the first day that I will not speak to him. Wednesday is the first time I will not hear about his yoga class. Friday is the day I will tell my son that we are no longer together. This is the first weekend that we will not hang out together, sleep in late together, make lazy love in the afternoon. There will be no “family Sunday dinner,” tonight.
Each morning as I awoke, alone in my own bed, I reviewed my habits of mind: thinking first about him when I awoke, planning out time together, reviewing teh many wonderful times we have had together. Eventually I experienced the involuntary nature of these thoughts. I began to ask myself, “if I were not thinking of the past with him, what would I think about?” I began to play with allowing my mind to wander to other things — the sunny morning sky and fragrant Daphne right outside my bedroom window; my growling stomach eager for breakfast oatmeal, the quiet space containing my life as I sit at my computer to write.
There is no need to be violent, wrench the memories and reminders of our life together from my consciousness. But neither is there the need to dwell, to enable and ingratiate sentimental thoughts when they arise. So I will continue to ponder the fact that habit — being asleep — suffocates every relationship. Waking to the present, even when it is painful, remains the greatest gift of Love.