This message is for those who are working through a long term relationship ending either with a partner or maybe a relative or long time friend. It comes from my own lived experience both directly and in witnessing and helping others…
When a relationship ends there are likely still parts of us that loved a past part of them. While that past part of them may no longer exist, the energetics of that part of the relationship and that part in us, may still exist and often requires some processing. For example the younger version of ourselves likely felt very different about the younger version of our ex partner/friend than we likely do now and as we process it all those memories tend to flood back in and bring up grief (sometimes considerable grief).
The more years there are, the more memories there are. A song in the supermarket may trigger a pleasant memory and we are reminded of what was but we don’t have now… because things have changed… we’ve changed… they’ve changed… We don’t have to make anything right or wrong. Just simply hold an awareness that we’re grieving for what was. There is a part of us that still feels in love (and can’t just ‘unlove’). Welcoming this in and making it okay, along with an awareness and strong boundaries around what is now in the present is key to healing these parts of ourselves.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
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While it has been worth it to come to where I am now, it does not mean that there hasn’t been times of pain. Aching, sobbing, heartfelt pain. Occasionally it still comes now. A reminder that I am human. I allow myself to feel it, to wash over me, to process it and it naturally moves. On the other side is peace.
The poem below describes my last few years and was written while working with arts therapy on myself. I am sharing it as a reminder that it does take courage to grow, it does hurt, their will inevitably be pain… but when one can work with it, it does move… and there is the most brilliant light at the end of the tunnel. This is the human journey, and even in its times of apparent ‘ugliness’ it is somehow beautiful because it all ultimately brings us to rediscover our wondrous authentic and full self… we experience what it is truly and fully like to be human on this planet… the painful lows and the exuberantly joyful ups interspersed with the peace in between… and not this numbed out shell that so many people on this earth become trapped in (including where I once was).
A growing fracture
Becomes a divide
A valley too big to bridge
That fills with lava
Boiling, raging, hot and damaging
For both of us
It burns, does its damage
Leaving a brittle, fragile landscape
A barren nothingness
That demands escape… space, distance
So tears can begin
And pour in for what once was
For a past of hopes and dreams
But painfully remembered
Until they can be released
Let go of
With me from this divide
A fresh slate
Awaits my writing
And exciting new beginnings unfold
Following the passing of a much loved Uncle and his choice to NOT have a funeral (or any sort of remembrance service), I am reminded of the role ritual plays in our human experience. While I totally respect his choice, I found myself feeling a little peeved that I wouldn’t be able to celebrate his life with my relatives. Humans have had rituals from the beginning of time around all sorts of things. Some are somewhat dubious but others such as weddings and funerals serve a purpose by helping us get together and both feel and begin to process the relevant emotions. They also mark beginnings and endings. Rituals may also be used to open and close gatherings, even small ones. In therapy I often use some sort of ritual to open and close sessions. These are usually simple and short ‘presence’ based exercises with the opening one often designed to help relax the client and the closing one to help ready the client for going out into the world again after what can be quite a deep and sometimes emotional experience.
Oh and I celebrated my Uncle’s life by journaling, writing a letter to him in the afterlife (which will remain in my journal) and sharing some of my memories of him with a cousin whom I’m very close too… in this way I created my own ritual, and it helped with my grieving process.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
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