Pretending someone is dead when you know where they live. It's 5am and that part of your brain that wakes you up when you are tired and need sleep is telling you to drive to their house and make sure they're still breathing.
They are still breathing, stay in bed and breath. S L O W, D E E P, nourishing breaths. Think of your breath as a ham sandwich or a rich meaty stew, or a macrobiotic bowl if that's more your speed, whatever it is that is nourishing to you. Drink it in like holy water. This breath is holy, it keeps you alive and if you do it with presence, it keeps you sane.
Sanity is the goal. Even when it feels insane that someone could in one lifetime say the things you have been waiting, praying, longing to hear for several lifetimes, and then, with what appears like relative ease, disappear silently from your life. Sometimes pretending he doesn't exist anymore is the only thing that makes that feel ok, the only thing that makes it make sense. Or there's always the possibility that he fell down a mountain and is trapped under a rock? (Yes, I have managed in moments to convince myself of this). Perhaps that is why he hasn't responded to your open hearted and deeply vulnerable text? You must go find him and save him!.. No, Bethany, stay. Stay and save yourself.
He does exist and in your better moments, when you are laughing with your friends and manage to forget that you feel abandoned by love, and realize you can never be abandoned by love. (Love is always there loving, it's just that sometimes we abandon love in our doubting). You realize how glad you are that he still exists, even if you don't get the proof of his smiling eyes on your face. You delight in knowing he walks the earth and smiles at new faces and maybe is even smashing his smiling face up against the smiling face of another. And in your best moments, you hope that he is. Because loving someone is hoping that they're getting their smiling face smashed up against the smiling face of another. And you do love him. But more than that, you love yourself. And you hope for your own smiling face smash. And you're not an asshole. You're not a hypocrite. You are a really loving person who is just learning how to smile despite this heightened awareness of the tenderness of your heart.
You wonder if that tenderness is a turn off. You wonder if men will always run away. And then you remember that meat stew breath and you start spooning it in. You spoon yourself in breath. You are the little spoon to your big spoon breathing. You put your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your heart. You become your own holding. You close your eyes and say, "I love you. I know it hurts, but I also know it won't hurt for much longer and you're doing so well despite your pain. And I also know that this pain will be mirrored with pleasure when pleasure is ready to offer her glory. In the meantime, accept that sometimes you wake up and want to drive to his house just to remember how it feels to be held." No, Bethany, stay. Stay and hold yourself. And then get up and write.
Write. Take walks. Drink tea. Do yoga. Read books. Watch movies. Talk ad nauseam with your more patient friends. Look at the sky. Stare at the wall. Place your feet firmly on the ground. Buy that fifteen dollar chunk of malachite because it is beautiful and green and looks ancient and sturdy and the woman in the shop in Ojai said it will protect you and you believe her. Do all the things that feel right. Your mind is a motherfucker right now trying to tear shit up. You have to rely on that vigilant ally beating in your chest, sending you morse code of the truth. Here's what is true:
You are lovable. You are not too much. You did the best you could with what you had. You are always learning, growing, getting better. You deserve all the things you hope for yourself. No one is to blame for what didn't work. Just because someone who once wanted to smash their smiling face against your smiling face no longer wishes to and might wish to smash it against a new one doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your face. You are not meant to convince someone to love you. You are meant to be who you are centered in your own love, welcoming of someone if they'd like to join that party. If at any point the party dies and it is time for you to go home to your own respective homes and fall asleep alone, know that you are never really alone. You alone are everything, everything you need is living in that cave full of jewels known as your heart. Please be a loving miner.
Please find your way back to these truths, no matter how many times a day your monkey mind lures you to stray. Return, dear one, to the truth. Choose wisely the people and places you surround yourself with. Make sure they help you return as well. Guard vigilantly the honest home of your heart. Perhaps even take a class from an herbalist named Rachel and learn about some heart opening and boundary strengthening plants you can take to aid in this task (rose, rosemary, wolfberry, ocotillo bark, yarrow, lemon balm)...
The heart is the organ of perception. It senses and produces electromagnetic waves and therefore picks up information before the brain is able to start doing its thing. In order to keep the heart open to receive all this vital information, it is crucial that we establish and maintain protective boundaries. Boundaries are permeable and not to be confused with barriers which are fixed and impenetrable. Boundaries are the place we create where we give ourselves the choice between saying, yes or no. It is the threshold we maintain for the experience we are going to have, or not have. We are the gatekeepers of our space. We have a choice of what we let in. What we let go. What we lovingly are able to tell "no". Aaaaand, what we can lovingly tell YES.
Every man I have every loved knocked at that gate. They are not to blame for what I allowed to enter. But look at me now, see me coming into my power. Know that if you knock, I will make sure first that there is space for you in my sacred tower. I am losing interest in crowding out the truth of my heart with the broken wings and neglected needs of another. I am not calloused, I am wisely tender. I will only give what remains of my own feeding. I will do this because I am learning how to love. I know that love does not flow from an empty body. I must not neglect my own hunger. My fullness is my gift, to myself, and to everyone I invite to join me at the table. I do not regret any of the love I have given, I only regret the love I failed to give myself. I am learning how to not regret. I am learning when to walk away and when to stay, open up, and say, "Please, come in". I am the gatekeeper.