Musing on the breakup from the beach

Breakups are hard.

Part of me is here, and happy to be here; part of me reaches toward the reality I just left, aches for the comfortable and the familiar. There was a stability in that structure; I built myself on top of it for four years; now I must rebuild from the ground, of my own accord.

What exactly do I miss when I miss him? Am I truly missing the person, or is it my idea of the person? What is in this attachment? In our spiritual, highest selves, it is enough to love another without being physically with them. So, what is the lack I perceive in myself now that this person doesn’t fill the role of my lover, my supporter, my friend?

Coming to the beach brought up a lot. It reminded me of driving to Fripp Island with Mathew, which made me feel sad and lonely. And then of course there’s the ocean, and this sea of January clouds, which speak to me of both expansiveness and emptiness. I’ve felt both on this trip. There is peace in meeting the ocean face to face; it invites the ocean inside of you to make itself known, and that feels powerful. But then sometimes the ocean inside is a void, and it is still our job to hold the void within us, to breathe with it and live with it and grow with it. It must be transforming me, in one of those invisible processes that makes itself known to you over time, when months down the road you realized things have pivoted and are different, in ways you didn’t see coming. It might just be gentle.

Pain is a teacher and a healer. The day after the breakup was one of the most painful days of my life. That doesn’t really mean anything right now, other than this kind of change will make a big mark on me. There isn’t pain now, except for maybe a soft echo: a long, slow howl that will stay with me eternally, weaving itself into the song of my life.

I broke a 10-day fast yesterday. It’s been surprisingly uneventful transitioning back into eating, almost like nothing happened. That makes me angry a little bit, to be honest. The first 5 or 6 days were spiritually and emotionally profound days, which probably had more to do with the breakup than with the fast, to be fair. I guess it felt like I was learning things so quickly, processing and feeling so incredibly much… I think part of me was hoping I could extend that process out, that I could squeeze some perfect insight out of it and turn that into some perfect radical action to change my life in some profound way… but, as usual, I have much less control over the flow than I want to have, and life has its own agenda and motives. Actual reality started sliding back into place this week against my will, and the raw intensity of the breakup, which brought so much of my life under immediate scrutiny, has been fading from my experience. It makes me ache inside. To realize – oh, yes, it is as simple as me coming back to myself, my alone self. Maybe there was there a small window of opportunity there for me to act radically, and maybe I missed it… or maybe this isn’t a movie, and it doesn’t happen with a bang and fireworks.

Maybe I’ve just been doing the thing that people say is too easy to do, the grasping onto the sadness of a breakup because it makes you feel something, anything. I think this is a truism that just shows how emotionally starved we are as a culture.

Of course, normalcy is necessary, but I ache for those spiritually intense moments. As if a piece of me that usually lies dormant comes to perfect attention, now and then. I suppose this could just be authentic present-mindedness, that absolute alertness that I wish to feel more often, to utilize more consciously; I suppose it is the feeling of the Self, that presence I am touching and cultivating within my mindfulness practices. It is also the feeling of magic, though. There are moments in life where everything rips open and you sense the fakeness of the usual facade. The breakup was like that – hard, but magical. And to be honest, with reality settling again, I miss the magic. More than I miss him, I miss the magic.

I guess that’s what faith is. Maybe we only get little glimpses of spiritual truth. Faith is the conviction that what you saw was real. It is the choice to live with your own Truth, as it has been shown to you; to be true to it, until you are shown something different.

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