What Heartbreak’s Hard Knocks Taught Me
Those of you who personally know me, are aware that a few years ago I went through a really difficult and dark period in my life, perhaps the darkest to date; even darker than the loss of my father when I was only 25 years old with a newborn daughter, born just seven days before he suffered a fatal heart attack. It took years for me to find peace with the fact that he never got to see my daughter (his granddaughter) before he died. I finally found a place to put that disappointment.
In 2009, I was faced with another life changing dilemma. I was given the fortune (which at the time seemed like the absolute worst misfortune anyone could have) of losing my wife and family in the abyss of a divorce. Up until this point in my life I had never had to withstand a storm of such great magnitude. I am here to tell you that if you are perhaps facing similar circumstances, you have all the strength, and then some, within you to persevere.
As I was moving through all of this, I shared several pieces of that “miserable” time in my life with a few select people, but ironically I shared it with new acquaintances whom would eventually become endeared friends of mine, instead of with my own family or people I had known and communicated with for most of my life. What was that all about? Even my best friend of more than 30 years was not aware of what I was dealing with until after my wife and I had been separated for more than a year. I had led him to believe all was well in paradise, when in fact, there was serious trouble there. When he asked me why I hid it from him for so long, I really didn’t have an answer for him. I have reflected on his question many times since, and I have concluded that at that time I simply was not willing to “take off the mask” and allow people to see what could have been perceived as failure. I had now failed not once, but twice, at successfully maintaining a marriage, and I was sorely ashamed. I mean, here was a guy who was still married to his high school sweetheart, and here I am churning through my second one, with six kids yielded from the two. In my egoic mind, it simply was not a good look; and ego is always concerned with what it is wearing. It is the most vain son-of-a bitch known to man! Even though I knew my friend loved me, I still feared being judged by him in some way, so I concealed it. I have since discovered that it was only my ego that was seeking to protect itself by disallowing my true Self to extract the lessons being shone inside of this perceived tragedy, and that the true Me was not ashamed and had nothing at all to hide. I was buried in the fearful thought of losing the life I had worked so hard to create for my family and for myself because I had allowed that creation to define who I AM. Like many of you, I was afraid of what others might think of or say secretly about me. Most won’t admit this, and that’s fine; we all have our thresholds for suffering. For those who know me and didn’t get a magnified view of any of this as it was happening, please don’t take it personally. I was only acting as most humans do.
My second marriage was the most beautiful disaster I could have experienced. It was the jolt I needed to awaken me to a greater part of myself living within; it was the catalyst and remains the beacon of light that is constantly leading me toward my higher Self. In this article I will share a few of the lessons I learned from my bout with what we label as “heartbreak”. I hope to empower and inspire anyone dealing with this to push through it zestfully, facing every part of it head on. I am not saying getting past heartbreak is easy, but you can stop causing and perpetuating some of your suffering on your own. There is beauty in everything around you…and I want you to focus your energy on recognizing that.
The 7 Lessons of heartbreak:
1. When in a relationship, the life we create is not our own. When we choose to marry or enter into a serious commitment with another human being, be it personal of business, you are in essence forfeiting your right to create as an individual; your reality becomes a co-creation with that person or persons you’re now intimately engaged with. Though I would not have had it any other way, I failed to realise the significance of this at the time I “popped the question”. I probably would have done it anyway, but truly knowing the depth of what I was getting involved in could have made a difference in how well I handled its demise. Perhaps some of the pain could have been mitigated in some way. It’s OK if we choose to go into these relationships, but we should be aware of the co-creative agreement we are entering into not only with each other, but with the Universal laws at large. Everything we experience in our lives is something we are creating from the inside out. Nothing is created without us creating it through our thoughts, feelings, emotions – our hearts in essence. This is why it is so important to consciously link up with people who are on the same vibrational frequency as you are; people that you want to create with. If not, expect that there will be much mis-creation to follow. The tricky part of this is that what we agree to create initially may not remain consistent through the course of the relationship. So what do you do when one person’s vision changes about what they agreed to create with you in the beginning? As you can see, there is some risk here. And it is vital to make sure you are as closely aligned as possible with regards to what you desire to create together.
When my ex and I met, the connection we shared was so strong, so amazing, and unlike any I had ever felt with any woman before her. It was as if we already knew each other; it was obvious that we were kindred spirits. I now know we have shared past lives together, so the connection makes sense. I have learned to recognize this non-physical connection with others, but not necessarily on a romantic level. It is a familiarity that is not easily explained. What the two us wanted together in life aligned so neatly at the time we met. Our bond and our kinship were undeniable! We both agreed we wanted additional kids, and that as long as it felt right between us we would have them if we could financially support them. As it is with most people who enter marriage, there was no doubt that we would be together for the rest of our lives. So what we now share together, which may appear to be fragments of a life we once co-authored as husband and wife/mother and father, is actually a work of art matted against the canvas of our choosing some twelve years ago. So before you enter your next relationship, be cognizant of the fact that the sculpture you co-create may some day be perched high above for both of you to see. So make sure to create something you will both be proud of. We did.
2. Living a lie never produces happiness. Always live your truth. People lie. And we lie for various reasons. I know I lied about who I was. Not in the traditional sense of lying though. Like I didn’t say things I didn’t mean or tell untruths. But I was still in the process of figuring out who I was, so how could I be completely honest? We must be willing to be honest with ourselves, and face our demons alone before bringing someone else in as a co-creator with us. Two main problems we often face here are: 1) we don’t take the time to know our True Self first; and 2) most of us who think we know who we are, only know in part. Particularly as men, we lie because we don’t want to jeopardize our chances of “winning her”, as if she is some sort of prize to be had. So we lay on the bullshit real thick. Women do the same also to land her prince in shining armor. It takes many of us a complete lifetime to find our own truth; some find it on their death beds, others never do. The ego performs its job well in keeping who-we-really-are hidden right in plain sight. Though some years younger than myself, my ex wife far surpassed me in terms of maturity and wisdom. She taught me numerous lessons better than anyone ever had before; most of which she isn’t even aware of. It’s nothing our parents can teach us, our school or Sunday school teachers either, but only life experience itself. Someone else can describe to you an experience they had until they turn blue in the face, but until we experience it personally, it just doesn’t carry the same meaning.
She always strove to live her truth in whatever moment or phase she was in her life. Her ability to live her truth, would ultimately and inadvertently force me into living my own truth. What a wonderful gift she gave to me in this. When she realized that the life she was creating with me was no longer authentic and true to the woman she felt she was, she began to detach from it. No, it wasn’t as easy for me to swallow then, as it is to write about it today. At the time I couldn’t identify with it because I wasn’t willing to be honest with myself and admit that our marriage had been struggling for a while and we had somehow misplaced the magic we had once shared; I was in denial. Sometimes we just gotta leave shit broken; we can’t fix everything. In the end, I could only respect her for setting us both free to pursue our own individual happiness. Sometimes the band-aids and patches we put on things not only cover up the damage, but it conceals the lessons often hidden inside of those wounds.
3. I learned that I didn’t really Love and value myself the way I should have. This was a really tough one for me to face. I had always felt pretty good about myself, according to the achievements I made in my life. I was extremely popular through high school and college, I was a bright student, and always well-liked and respected by my peers. But what did any of that really mean? Who was I? Why did it matter if others liked me, or respected what I did or what I had accomplished? Well it mattered because those were the things that I allowed to create my value and my worth. This is a large reason why we work so hard to accumulate material things, luxuries, even higher degrees of education. None of those things last, so it was like building a house on sand. I realised through this experience that my worth had to be built on something much greater than what my ego yielded me. I needed to build my Self-worth upon a much more solid foundation than that.
So I began a deep dive within myself to discover what it was that made me special, what made me worthy, what made me valuable and deserving of Love. Why didn’t I love myself, and what was it about me to love and be in love with? I would come to discover that nothing I could DO could make me worthy. It is simply the fact that I AM that makes me worthy. I AM a part of something much greater than anything I can imagine in my physical mind; and so are you! When we fully realise this, we see our worthiness in a non-egoic light, from an infinite and eternal perspective. When we realise that we are Love, we can no longer ignore the Love and beauty around and inside of us. The love inside of you is so vast and cannot be contained. Once you know this love, you only desire to give it away, regardless of whether you are receiving anything in return for it.
4. Never allow any one or any thing to define who I AM. This was the lesson I alluded to in the foreword of this article. I mistakenly allowed the concept of “the American Dream” to cloud my conscious thinking and living. I bought fully into the ideal, and would soon learn that what I wanted was no different than what everyone else around me wanted. But they were all failing in contrast to what most consider to be successful. So why on Earth would I want that? I am who I am apart from any of those things, people, or the relationships I create with them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t quite know who you are yet, but do at least know that much. I molded myself into the man I thought my partner wanted me to be, moving farther away from who I was. Trying to please others by changing who we are and not growing/changing at our own pace, is never a good thing. True love accepts the person you are, and it doesn’t seek to change you. True love allows you to see the needed or desired changes and then is patient enough to let those changes manifest in their own time. It doesn’t stop loving you or respecting you when you don’t make the changes others want you to, and in the timing they want you to.
The houses, cars, cash in the bank, investments, kids in private schools. Though all of this was not completely wasteful, the expenses placed a strain on our lives that a simpler life would not have. But worse, I allowed these things to define me instead of realising that I was great, even without them. I hid behind these things, and proudly stuck out my chest, as it was a temporal representation of me as a man, a husband, father, and a provider. I regret none of it, however, for the lessons embedded in the experiences were so, so rich.
5. Respect the power of Love, and the free will that comes along with it. Love is REAL and POWERFUL! When humanity collectively reaches the point in its evolution that it understands the power of Love, our world will never be the same. Going along with the belief that there is a GOD (or a Higher Source) “out there”, and I do believe there is. Since the word GOD is such an overused and misunderstood term, I will use “Source” instead. Source, in all of its infinite everything, never ever, ever interferes with our free will as a creation. You see, when you really Love someone unconditionally, you freely allow them to choose the path they wish to travel. Source doesn’t come down from “heaven” and attempt to impede the paths we have chosen for ourselves. That is what the Universal Laws are in place for, and those, along with our inner Guidance Systems, are what aid us in the navigation of our human experience.
I caused myself more pain than I needed to because I was trying to keep her from exercising her own free will. If Source doesn’t do that to us, who was I to do it to her? I unconsciously judged her for making the decisions she did, and that was very shallow of me. My feelings were selfish and my “Love” for her was based upon how she treated me instead of how I felt about myself. When I finally decided to release her and it, I found myself meandering down the road to finding my own Peace. It was then that I also began to recognise my true capacity for Love, and the vastness thereof. But though I was becoming conscious of this, for many months there still existed an inner struggle with my ego to completely let go. What most of us interpret as Love, gives us a feeling of ownership of the one we are giving that Love to; this is a slave owner’s mentality. Not even your legal court documents or your commitment of vows before your GOD, gives you ownership of another human Being. We are all Free!
6. Cherish every moment in life – good, bad or indifferent. When we fail to give attention to the things that are important to us, or fail to realise what is important to us, we often experience feelings of regret and/or resentment. There are so many great and pleasurable moments in the time I was able to spend with this particular Soul mate of mine. So many jewels sprang forth from our coexistence. But there are probably just as many that I did not cherish the way I should have. Learning this, I now know that when my next romantic Soul mate encounter appears, I will cherish every single moment because it is impossible to re-live any single moment over again; we can only revisit it within the confines of our memory. Sometimes that just isn’t good enough. Each moment is unique, and must be cherished as such. The two of us rarely argued or even disagreed much until we started growing in separate directions. Our good experiences far outweighed our bad or indifferent ones.
Whenever you choose to co-create with another individual, embrace and appreciate all that you give and all of that which is given. Each encounter is to offer a different perspective. She helped me to see so many things in ways that I would not have on my own. This is one of the main reasons we are here as Souls occupying bodies…to interact and with and learn from each other by seeing different aspects of ourselves in others. If we all lived alone on separate planets, who or what would offer the contrast necessary to make what is grey become distinctly black and white? From this contrast, we harvest the growth needed for our Souls’ evolution.
7. Heartbreak is a product of the ego; it is an illusion that doesn’t really exist. Finally, in the midst of this great experience no one could tell me that heartbreak wasn’t a literal, physical ailment that caused physical pain in the heart and chest region of the body. I even wrote about it here. Surely, take time to acknowledge the feelings inside at the moment of impact, but the sustained pain and self-victimisation is purely a choice of the ego. There is not one single person on this planet you cannot live without. With Eight Billion plus (and counting) on this Earth, there is enormous potential for contrasting experiences for each of us. The feeling of heartbreak exists primarily in the mind. It is the feelings of “why am I not good enough” that perpetuate the pain. The memories are what hold us captive, and memories are stored in the mind and project what we feel in our bodies.
I have since learned that I was always good enough, and that I have great value to offer. My ego was hurt and broken. That which is infinite and eternal is not susceptible to feeling pain. The ego feels threatened with thoughts of no longer existing, your True Self knows better. The ego takes things personally, the True Self does not, for it knows the tricks of the mind – this is enlightenment. The only thing that is real is what is eternal, whatever can leave the physical plane with you. This eliminates all the material things we believe reality to be made of. The pain is not reality, no matter how real it feels. But if it didn’t feel real, would you believe it? Lessons are transmitted through our pains, losses, and disappointments; karma is also resolved through our pain and suffering, and so is clearer vision of life, purpose, and of the Self. Suffering is a matter of perception. You are never without Love; it is never absent from you. How can it be, when it is You?
Remember this: “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists; herein lies the Peace of GOD.” – ACIM Love is REAL, YOU are LOVE, therefore be encouraged in that nothing is ever a threat to your existence. Not A Thing…
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