Here's a question:
Can we fall in love with a thing while simultaneously processing past wounds? Can we feel the light and the dark together? Can we do both at the same time? Some say 'yes', while others say a definite, 'no'; I think it's a deeply personal choice, one that requires lots of self-awareness and the dedication to sitting in the emotions rather than sweeping them under the rug.
When our hearts break it can be overwhelmingly tempting to do whatever it takes to distract the self from the pain, that might look like a multitude of vices from drinking wine to getting super-busy, to shopping, anger, or perhaps replacing past love with new love. I've done them all; especially the wine vice and the man vice. Jumping too quickly into a new relationship can be a dangerous choice, all depending on the intentions behind the choice.
Intentions are everything.
And there is no road map, no "right or wrong manual"; we are all different, each circumstance is different - so what do we do, how do we know?I will say it again: Intentions.Are.Everything.
Are we jumping into new love because our hearts break so badly and new love offers us a reprieve from that pain because new love feels.fucking.good? Are we using a new love as a distraction to the pain we are in? Are we using that new love as a drug?
How do we know when we are ready for new love? How do we know if we are repeating past patterns or using humans for our own selfish needs to take the edge off of the sharp pains in the heart? How do we know if we are in a healthy place of letting go of the old while welcoming the new; is this even possible?
I think it is.
I can't speak for you, but I can share my own experiences.
My whole life I have jumped from relationship to relationship - man to man - always a love on the go and never taking the time to sit in the pain of a broken heart. I never gave myself time to digest the past love before diving in deep into something new. I have always used wine to take away the edge, and love to pump me full of the feel-good emotions, ultimately running away from the intense feelings of a bleeding broken heart.
I didn't know how to sit in the discomfort.
April 2017 came to me as a great gift and healing teacher. April came into my life as a fierce fire-breathing dragon and right when I least expected it, she blew fire - e v e r y w h e r e - and my life crumbled as I knew it. Like a landslide, it all slid out of my desperate grip, and there was nothing I could do except watch it fall. My marriage fell apart - I was 111 days sober - the haunting reality of lies and a life of smoke and mirrors ripped us apart. Truths emerged between April and August that have left me (to this day) utterly speechless, in complete shock. It was the single greatest betrayal I had ever experienced; the relationship I (thought I) knew, the one I placed full trust in imploded with enormous mite leaving me nearly lifeless, on my knees, sobbing and unsure of what to do or whether or not I would make it out alive.
And yet among this chaos, on my knees in the intense pain, it became painfully clear that this was a spot I had been before. This betrayal; this pain; this landslide - there I was again. Something in me knew that this time I needed to listen to the teachings of grief, this time I needed to find the courage to surrender; there was no way around this soul swamp, I was going to have to take my own advice, put my gumboots on, get messy and trudge through the depths of this very real, and very physical pain.
No man distractions.
No getting busy.
No scratching the painful itch.
This was it, I had a date with grief, and for the very first time in my life, I became wholeheartedly willing to give myself over to the cosmos and become teachable. I vocally vowed to grief, "Take me, I'm yous, I am here to learn your teachings"; I'll be honest with you - it hurt - it hurt emotionally, spiritually and physically. It literally felt - for months - like I had an actual knife stabbed through my heart. Mostly I was breathless, many days I was ready to call it quits, and more often than not I was overcome with unbelievable doubt that I would make it through.
The pain was unlike anything I had ever known.
But I knew I needed to be in it, I knew that this was my time to sit with the enormity of grief and to let her sweep over me - maybe I would live, maybe I would die - either way, I somehow knew I needed to face this.
So I did.
I sat with it. I went to countless 12 step meetings and I sat on the chair in coffee scented rooms filled with strangers who have walked similar, harder, and different paths than me, and I cried and cried and cried. I shared where I was at, and I cried. I listened to others share, and I cried. I watched their eyes as they watched me in pain, and their eyes reminded me that better days would come, I wasn't sure when, but I knew they would - if I just kept going. I did my 12 step work. I sat in the pain. I didn't react in anger, or engage in drama - I used every ounce of discipline I could muster to remind myself of 'acceptance' and not allow myself to wallow in self-pity and the land of "what-if's". It was what it was, he was gone, and I was now alone. That was my reality, I didn't have to like it, but I did have to find a way to accept it. I went to energy workers, therapy, and my ND. I journaled, I wrote words on social media that made people squirm, I accepted prayers from others, I reached out to humans who I loved. I ran. I ran so many stairs. And all through this process, I did not scratch the itch with rage, alcohol, drugs, or men. I intentionally set my vices aside.
And then one day along the journey I decided I wanted to try dating. And so I did. I didn't know if it was too soon, but something in me felt ready. I scrolled through my intentions behind the desire to date - was I numbing, distracting, or escaping? I really was not fully sure, to be honest; I stepped back into the world of dating slowly and with more awareness than ever. I stepped back in vowing to listen to heart first, vowing to remain self-loyal. I would meet a man and instantly my hand would grasp my heart and I would find myself checking in - 'Kori, does this feel right? Is it a racy high? Does this human honor what you know you deserve?'. I learned to use my internal compass, something I had been practicing and learning for years. I went on one date with a man who seemed interesting, but explained to me how he could 'drink anyone under the table', and who had an IG profile filled with nothing but parties and booze; that was a no go - obviously. I met a man who was kind, and willing to dive deep emotionally - I need that kind of man - but he felt wrong for my heart, and so I bravely backed away voicing exactly where I was at.
Usually I meet a man - doesn't seem to matter who - dive deep, ignore my heart, intuition, and worth, and while being carried away on the high of love's euphoria, suddenly find myself - months later - hustling for approval and in a place of utter self betrayal, with men who treat me unkindly or perpetually lie to my face.
This time was different.
This time I was careful and trusting and unwilling to settle.
Eventually, dating pissed me off - too many dick pics and sexual innuendos, and party boys - and I walked away from the idea of meeting someone; it just did not feel right.
And then one unexpected day, it happened, the clouds parted and in the sunlight stood a man who felt kind and truthful. You can read a little more here. And for whatever reason, I decided to give it a playful chance. I was scared and overly aware of my desire to stay present to the grief my heart felt, and ensure that I did not use another man to ease the pain in my broken heart. My girlfriend reminded me to keep it light, and I chose to show up to this man in my full authenticity - hiding nothing.
I was clear about my spiritual beliefs, my past, and my addiction. I was forthcoming with my fears, and my desire to move through them. This time - for the 1st time - I was not looking to be saved, I was looking to be self-loyal no.matter.what. I was unwilling to compromise and unwilling to brush my pain aside in the name of something new. I was also unwilling to 'bond over pain' and over-dramatize the darkness I had experienced - I knew I needed to process it, but I also knew that my past did not define me, and I needed to also let go.
Over the past few months, I have experienced an interesting duality.
Its been grief heavy; the waves of sadness are fewer, but they are still there; so much crap still to work through. My beliefs around marriage have exploded, my ideas of what love is has been challenged. The betrayal stems much further than being walked out on by the man I thought loved me; it stems directly from the chain of total abandonment by a family I thought was my own family. I'm struck often with pain that takes my breath away, and anger that boils within my cells; there is simply still work to be done.
And yet, I am also learning what real loyalty feels like. I have found a human that is willing to sit with me, listen to me, support me. He did not come to save me or fix me, but he has shown up with a capacity to hold space for all of who I am. He does not try to silence my voice, or tell me to leave my past in the past - he allows me to be where I am at. It's healing.
I am processing both - new love and loss - at the same time.
Somedays I am fully in the light, dancing and twirling in an experience that has been a beautiful gift. Other days I am on my knees - in tears, cloaked in anger - shocked at the revelation of what 2017's fire-breathing dragon brought to my life. I have avoided scratching the itch - I know what my vices are - and I have stayed faithful to sitting with my feelings and allowing myself to process the waves of whatever shows up - for however long it takes.
I am grounded.
I am connected deeply to self.
I know what my heart needs, becasue I am listening to it and honouring it.
I am sober, and clear in my thinking.
I am in connection with divinity through my constant dialogue and prayer.
For the 1st time in my life, the self is coming before a man, booze is out of the picture, and I am learning how to stay fiercely self-loyal.
For the 1st time in my life, I am learning what real love is.