Did you ever meet your Mr Big: the love of your life ? your Soul Mate? Did something within you rise up and insist, ?This is the one, this is forever or this is divine destiny.? Poems and love songs express it all with, ?You were meant for me and I was born to love you.?
Love and death are the two life experiences which really compel us to look at life and the nature of reality. The loss of love, such as a divorce, the end of long term relationship or even an unrequited love can be as devastating as a death. We try to be rational and look for answers from an intellectual viewpoint, but we rarely, if ever, find satisfaction or resolution. At best, we may decide that, ?It?s just the way things go, get over it and move on.? Through some force of mental discipline we suck it down and convince ourselves that we have accepted and recovered from our loss.
There is nothing quite like a funeral to bring up the big questions, and we find ourselves processing our thoughts from a place outside the intellectual framework. A subtle and intangible sensing seems to come into play, and we may find ourselves wondering, ?Could it be some kind of primal instinct, a spiritual communication or something along the lines of mystical or psychic phenomena??
People say that when you?re dead, you?re dead; the afterlife theory is just wishful thinking or the inability to accept what is. And yet, even if we say this, and even if we truly believe this, there is still that X Factor. Pragmatic as we think we are, we do find ourselves having telepathic conversations with the dead. We still sense them around us, a kind of energetic awareness of their being present.
When we have been deeply connected to another person we feel intrically woven into them. We try to express this sense with statements like, ?He was a part of me? or ?He completed me?. In death or divorce, it is common to feel like you have lost a part of yourself.
In death, we take time to grieve, and in effect, this is a period of physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually detaching from these bonds. In a way, it is very similar to withdrawing from an addiction. In the initial stages of grief, we may feel like we are going insane. It?s as if every nerve within us becomes raw and every sense is searching the air for a word or touch or sight of our loved one. Every thought translates to ?Come Back!? Physically, our energy becomes totally depleted, and we find ourselves in a foetal position, obsessed with conversations in our head, with someone we don?t really believe is gone. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, we do in fact believe that we are capable of maintaining this relationship in an indefinable realm.
Something within us is certain that the spirit or soul lives on, and that we can maintain our connection through some unexplainable force of mind.
With death, we do come to terms with the fact that we need to move on, as we accept that in this life, at least, the person will not inhabit a physical form again. With a physical death, we are usually supported by friends and family and even society in general will make allowances and lend support to a person if they know that they are grieving.
Many people also go through a stage in which they feel a great deal of anger, and feel totally abandoned, and in a way, they feel betrayed. With time, this sorts itself out, and we will accept that they did not die on purpose, they did not maliciously betray us nor did they choose to abandon us. With death, we are able to continue loving the person and also are able to accept that they have gone.
When a loving relationship ends in divorce or separation, it is experienced in the same way, with the same degree of grief, as a death. In many ways it is more devastating, as there is no closure and no matter how final it may appear, there is always that faint belief that they may come back. There is a possibility that something may change, because where there is life, there is hope.
Friends and family will probably be supportive and sympathetic, but there are no cards, no flowers, and no time out to recover. We are not encouraged to talk about him, and if anything, we are shut down, and advised to dismiss or deny our memories or sentimentalities. Well meaning friends will try to accelerate your disconnection by reminding you about what a cad he was. With death, it is healing to talk about what a great guy he was and everyone recounts stories of good times. We all refer to the fine characteristics of the deceased and not a harsh word will be uttered. We try to keep the dead alive and may place photos near our beds, wear sentimental jewellery, and perhaps, hold on to pieces of clothing that he wore. We might even raise a glass to him on his birthday and Christmas.
Often, it is quite the opposite with divorce; we are advised to wipe him out. ?You were too good for him?, they like to say, and ?There are plenty more fish in the sea, he was selfish, weak, inconsiderate and controlling.? ?He was a cheat and a liar, and you are well rid of him.? And it?s all true, and you know it. But, you hear yourself say, and you reach for a weak argument or defence. There is no justification and you know it, and you can?t say what you really think, because even in the silence of your mind, you know it sounds pathetic. It?s there though and it escapes without censor, and then the words hang there, like slow motion alphabet spelling out, ?But - I love him?.
You see the disappointment in their eyes and feel the humiliation well up inside you, and you remind yourself again how desperate and insignificant you really are. You make a mental note to yourself, ?don?t say that out loud ever again, don?t even allow yourself to think it again - keep telling yourself, it?s over, until you believe it?.
So, plan B: I hate him, I never want to see him again, I don?t know what I ever saw in him, he is scum, and I will never, never take him back.
Plan C: Enter the actress: New hairdo, new clothes, weight loss and party, party, party. ?Who? Oh yeah, I used to have a scene with him, big mistake, what a loser?.
At some point, we manage to split our life into two realities. Our external face presents well, and for all appearance, we seem to have gotten over it. We rarely, if ever, mention him, and when we do - it's in cool tones. We are back in the game and might have begun dating again or become involved in some new hobby or interest, and, all in all, we may appear to be doing well and moving on. Our second life ? our secret life, plays itself out within our imagination. At home, alone and private, our love is as real and as powerful as ever. Perhaps it?s even better than it ever was, alone in bed and silent - he comes.
Within the imagination, I can see you so clearly; hear you, with an honesty that our egos would never have allowed us to speak, touch you without inhibition into places deep within you. In my imagination, I know you at your core and I know your history and your future. In my imagination we communicate in a different realm, our original source, a place where you and I are one and the same. Love is love here, not an agenda and not an event. It is a language, and it is a state of being, it is who we really are, and it is a Universe within itself. This is my soul and your soul - merged, and it is more real to me than life.
In my physical reality, I struggle and judge you. Your behaviour confuses me and my logical mind insists that you will destroy me. You threaten my sense of safety by annihilating my self-esteem; you treat me as unworthy and unlovable, and expose my weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
I wonder about your emotional baggage, and justify your aloofness, detachment and cruelty, and I convince myself that you are ?The One?, but you are too afraid or damaged to love me. On this level, I strive to leave you, and I am mentally, emotionally and physically detaching from you. It is quite possible that sometime, not too far away, I will be over you, I may accept that you are not meant for me, this time around.
Most of the time I am on top of this, and I have now mastered the art of crying inside and smiling outside. I have a list of ?our stuff,? like our songs, our movies and places. I see you in places where you used to be and I hear words you once said. Songs on the radio bring you alive again and put us back in that moment. I have heard myself say to myself, ?I would crawl on cut glass to get to you, lie naked in the snow for you, and I would sell my soul to the devil, if he would just bring you back again, the way you were, when you loved me.?
Great minds have pondered the nature of love and many were arrogant enough to pose an answer. I too, have dissected and inspected the fragments and postulated theories. I too, have concluded that it is a simple state of insanity, a chemical anomaly or a primal instinct for procreation. I have wondered about magnetism and sub-conscious parental associations. I have judged it as a form of narcissism or an attraction to my own potential. I have played with the idea that love is nothing more than a learning experience, and that people come into our lives to teach us and then leave when the lesson is completed. I have also wondered about past life theories and accepted that intense love is an unresolved past life. It may be any, all, or none of these, and knowing for sure would probably make very little difference.
At its most difficult, love is an addiction, an obsession and a soul destroying experience. When love dies or love is not requited, it is quite possibly more painful and longer lasting than losing someone through death ? in a way, it really is a death.
Some people say that with physical death, the soul of the person leaves the body. It is explained as an energy rising out and merging into the atmosphere. When love dies, we experience a similar sensation, a great loss of energy. We physically experience a loss of vitality and become exhausted and weak for quite a long time. Mentally, we become muddled and need to use a great amount of energy to remain focused. This energetic concept is rarely, if ever, considered when we are trying to get through heartbreak.
Loss of love feels like the loss of the soul.
With great determination and commitment, we endeavour to block our thoughts and physically remove ourselves from our lover. We might burn photos and pursue new relationships. In practical terms, we do all that we can to control our physical, emotional and intellectual attachment, but the hardest ties to cut are the energy cords which connect us. An energy cord may be a hard concept to accept, and it doesn?t really matter if you accept the term or the concept at all. What you will relate to is the feelings or effect of an energy cord. It?s like the umbilical cord which connects a mother and child.
When we are very close, sexually or emotionally, with someone our energies are exchanged. We think the act of sex is as close as we can get to another person, but may not have ever considered that sex and love are both two very powerful energies.
In the initial ?in love? stage, you may recall thinking something along the lines of ?He lights me up like a Christmas tree?. You may remember the electricity between you, or a slight trembling whenever he was near you. Being in love produces a sense of lightness, a luminescence or radiance. When someone is in love, you can see a physical difference in how they look, brighter eyes and glowing skin. Often they look many years younger, walk taller and appear energized. This energetic connection is undeniable when expressed sexually, you feel as if you are breathing your lover into yourself. Every cell in your body feels more alive and sex seems to be less about body parts, and more about the exchange of some mystical or spiritual essence. In trying to get through heartbreak, we dismiss, deny or trivialize those feelings.
When we accept that a relationship is over, we use a great deal of mental determination to shut ourselves off from our feelings. The hardest part, and the least recognized part, is in cutting or recalling those energies which still connect us. The most apparent cord is that of telepathy, and even if you deny that telepathy exists you will still experience it: talking to your ex in your head, feeling pulled into a silent conversation, an eerie stretching of yourself into thoughts that are not quite formed or defined. Some people find themselves becoming sexually aroused with no real reason or stimulation. Dreams and images play out as your lovers face drifts past.
Cords are like energetic anchors, which hold you together. Sexually, a cord can have your body craving and aching for your ex, even though you may have no emotional desire at all. A heart cord may hold you deeply connected by love, even though you hate him or what he has done. No wonder people feel they will go insane; it?s like an electrical short circuit. The mind is filled with thoughts of hate, revenge and disgust, but the heart and body calls out in the night.
Some people may be very aware of it and others may just have a sense of it, but it is like your soul leaves you and goes in search of your lover.
Heartbreak takes our lives hostage; we find it hard to sleep, we can?t eat or we over eat and we become physically exhausted and emotionally drained. Mentally we become obsessive and irrational, and our behaviour can be erratic and dangerous. In extreme cases we may want to kill or die, and in fact, many people have died from a broken heart.
Loving someone requires exposing our most sensitive and vulnerable self. We allow ourselves to give the best of ourselves ? the fragile, secret, private parts of ourselves. We expose and offer the most valuable part of ourselves. To have this rejected is to have ourselves deemed unworthy and unlovable. Often, we convince ourselves that the pain of heartbreak is about the loss of our lover, but the reality is that we are in pain because someone declared that, ?Our love was not valuable?. At a core level we are love, and our ability to love and be loved is who and what we really are. To be dismissed on this level is interpreted as, ?I am nothing, I do not exist and most painfully, I am not worthy of love.?
We may not make this connection right away, we may not want to look at it at all. If it comes down to this, then there is one glaring reality, and that is that we must believe this is true. Could it be that it is not our lovers rejection of us that destroys us, but our own belief that we are unlovable ? unworthy ? nothing?
At first we may want to focus on the behaviour and feel victimized by a betrayal or lies. We may go through many stages like anger, revenge, guilt, violence, depression or jealousy or we might feel unattractive, sexually inadequate, boring or stupid. For many people it comes down to insisting that the lover must come back. If he comes back, everything can be reversed, it can be a big mistake and you can be put back together again.
If we peel away the layers and keep asking ourselves where the pain is coming from, we will find that it is not the opinion of another person that causes the pain, it is within our acceptance of the opinion.
People have been coming and going throughout your life. You have probably been in love before and you have probably been hurt by love before. People leave, you leave, and sometimes it goes smoothly and easily and sometimes it?s painful or heartbreaking. Love comes in many ways and many degrees; it can subside and fade away or it can end abruptly and traumatically. People may have loved you more than you loved them, and you may have even been loved by someone who you didn?t even like very much.
I don?t know why it is that we can?t comprehend that:
?Love is not gathered it is self generated.?
People do not give you love, and they do not take love away from you. You choose the degree of flow between yourself and another. Someone else?s love will mean nothing to you unless you choose to accept it. Love is inspired to radiate from you, but you are the source of that love. It is an infinite supply and its circulation is governed by your choice to give or receive.
The other great misunderstanding is the belief in a ?One and only?. This is a man- made concept, not a natural law. Love is a natural state of being, if we peel away conditioning and fears and a lifetime of accumulated emotional baggage than we would be operating more freely from a place of love most of the time. The idea that love is only real or valid when it is a partnership relationship is very, very limited and downright damaging. We become tunnel visioned and grossly restricted in a belief that there is only one person or one love available to us. Not only do we expect all of our love to come from only one person, but we also expect that they must love us exclusively and forever.
We change, they change and life changes, but we still insist that love will never change. We insist on an impossible promise and self-destruct when the promise is broken. When friends move on we accept it because we did not have unrealistic expectations to begin with. Our children grow up and move on and we encourage it, we don?t take it as a betrayal nor do we interpret it as rejection of ourselves.
Divorce or separation is devastating for sure, and if it is initiated by a cruel act then it?s natural to feel a great range of negative emotions. If it comes suddenly or unexpectedly then it will be a shock and it will take time to come to terms with it and work through it. It is very confusing and difficult to accept when you are still there, still in love and still committed, but they are not.
Your life may be impacted right across the board, and you will grieve, and all of your emotions are valid and you will need time to work through them. You will need to do whatever you need to do to get through it. You will grieve and you will cry, you may be scared and angry, and you will probably go through many months of extreme emotional ranges. It will level out, and it will become manageabl,e and at some point it will just be a sad melancholy that floats past on occasion.
Sometimes though, it lasts forever. If you can?t let go or you won?t let go, it can overtake your life and leave you cold and bitter- it will destroy you. No-one does this to you, this is a choice and it is a decision to live a tragic life based on your inability to acknowledge your own beauty and value. The irony here of course is that your rage is still directed at your partner for treating you the way you now continue to treat yourself.
One person?s ability or inability to love you does not make you any more or any less than you are. Your value as a lovable and worthwhile person is not determined by the opinion of only one other person. Your supply of love, and your ability to love, is not in the control of another person. And your love was never meant to be restricted, to be exchanged with only one other person.
Overcoming heartbreak will require reclaiming your energy. As tempting as revenge is and as comforting as hate may appear, it all keeps your energy attached to someone else. You may need to begin by reclaiming your physical energy; eat well, breathe and move. If you are physically exhausted your mind and emotions are harder to control. The mind, body and spirit are all connected and one will rob the other if one is energy deplete.
Only love can replenish love, even if you feel you are faking it at first, it is most important to get back your flow. Be loving with yourself, treat yourself the way he should have treated you, and treat yourself the way you wanted to treat him
Acknowledge the love you share with family and friends, and allow that to expand. Try and stretch loving moments and experiences ? take compliments and kindnesses, imbibe beauty and extend pleasure. Recall your energy and bring it back into yourself. Love the lovable and love the worthy, and if you really do believe there is only one love and you are capable of loving that one person forever ? then make that one person yourself.
Copyright Sonya Green
Short note about the author
Sonya Green is the author of Reinventing Myself and a Personal Growth and Meditation course facilitator and Seminar speaker.