When Darren and I completed our relationship, I believed I needed to not see or speak to him for at least 6 months to heal. A year would have been better. But at least 6 months.
I’d come to this conclusion based on what had worked in previous breakups where I didn’t speak to, email, text, or see the person for about a year and then, in that time-heals sort of way, it was miraculously ok seeing them again.
But that’s not what happened this time.
This time we didn’t see or speak to each other for two months. But during that time we emailed about once a week to discuss logistical things, which also included varying levels of updates about our individual healing processes. Then, at two+ months the man who runs a spiritual organization that both Darren and I are both apart of gave me his view about the distance/space I was choosing, which was that it was egoic and fear-based. He went onto say that I needed to stop avoiding Darren, face him, move through the emotions, know that I was supported in the process, and choose harmony over fear.
When he said this I instantly felt triggered and burst into tears. I was afraid of giving up the tiny island of ok-ness I had been cultivating and falling back into the spinning waters of sadness and grief… which was, of course, the fearful belief underneath my belief that I needed 6-12 months of space.
But, I respect this man. He’s my teacher. If he said I should do this, I may as well try. I could always put my wall back up if seeing Darren was the horrible, emotionally triggering event I imagined it would be.
The next day, as I’m driving to the East Bay to see a girl friend, I take a deep breath and call Darren. It was surreal to hear his voice after two months, as well as familiar and warm. I asked if he’d like to get tea later that week and as we were deciding when, and as I’m crossing the Bay Bridge irreversibly going to the East Bay, my girl friend texts canceling our plans that night. So I tell him I’m 10 minutes from his house, would he like to get together… now?
Let’s recap for a moment that in 36 hours I went from “The only way I will heal and avoid falling apart is if I don’t see him for at least 6 months” to “Would you like to get together in 10 minutes?” That’s… a jump. But I was very unexpectedly enjoying seeing where this experiment in doing things differently would take us.
Walking down the path to his house I viscerally realized I trusted myself in a way I wouldn’t previously have imagined. I knew, without a doubt, that I was not going to say or do anything I regretted because I was with myself, and from that place of being centered, I was able to be genuinely open to this experience and it was going to go well.
And it did. It was healing. It was real. It was honoring.
And I didn’t fall apart, which was my big fear, during or after our interaction. In fact, the strongest emotion I felt was a giant sense of relief that I was no longer who I believed myself to be – emotionally fragile, self-abandoning, and needing a lot of armoring in the form of stories, distance, rules, boundaries, etc. to be safe.
I was truly ok. Amazing.
TAKE DOWN YOUR ARMORING
Have you considered that your beliefs – the rules, conclusions, stories, opinions, narratives, and boxes you frame your life with – are all things you created in the past?
That the operating beliefs you perceive your current reality with are actually relics of who you were 10, 20, 30+ years ago?
And, perhaps most interestingly, that you consciously and unconsciously created most of your beliefs as a means of protection?
This fascinates me!
When we go out the door in the morning, we armor ourselves up with any number of beliefs about who we are, who we should be, who others are, how to respond when x, y, or z happens, how the day will unfold, how we should look or behave to get what we want, etc.
We think these beliefs will map out our lives and that this understanding will keep us safe. We hold onto our beliefs very tightly and this creates a lot of stress, but we keep doing it anyhow because on a deep, primal level we’re sure our beliefs will keep us safe. But what are we so desperately trying to keep ourselves safe from?
My guess is vulnerability.
All of us have had moments of opening ourselves up and then being hurt. But since few of us were shown how to BE with emotions, mostly we internalized these hurts and came to the conclusion that being vulnerable is threatening and to be avoided at all costs. We then went into protection mode and created beliefs intended to keep us safer in the future.
We made up stories like: If I don’t show people who I am they can’t hurt me. The more I control my life, the safer and happier I will be. If I am who others want me to be, I will be accepted. If I want less, then I won’t feel the disappointment of not getting what I want.
We hold onto these beliefs and many more like them to feel safe – to protect against vulnerability and potential hurt. But in reality, they act like anchors keeping us in the past, living out our old protective stories, and blocking our ability to see, receive, and interact with life – in all it’s beauty, wonder, and wild mystery – as it truly is right now.
It’s VULNERABLE to genuinely open to this moment, here and now, without a preconceived notion to hold onto.
But for all of us that want growth, expansion, connection, and aliveness – and this is unquestionably you if you’re reading this – that’s what we’re being asked to do.
From center. With trust. One moment at a time.