*Warning: Adult language ahead!*
My heart was shattered by your words, yet I am still here.
I am not leaving. I considered it, as my wounds bled out.
I cried. I screamed.
I wanted to run far away, to close myself off; instead I paused, and took that moment to breathe.
I took a breath. I observed.
I saw something in that moment of breath. I saw space between me—my soul—and the pain of my feelings and thoughts. I realized that they were not my identity, and they would eventually ebb like the flow of the tide back to sea.
At the time, it felt like I was drowning in a sea of pain, like I would never get my head above water. But I didn’t give up. I let the pain wash over me, I tumbled like I was caught in a riptide, I went into the darkness.
Then it happened. My head broke the water, and I was able to take a breath. A deep one.
And then I realized all I needed to do was put my feet down and stand up; the ground was still there beneath me. The drowning was just an illusion.
That breath set me free. Now I lie here on the beach of my soul, letting emotions and thoughts flow around and over me, just like the ocean on the sand, coming and going. In and out. High and low.
And I see.
Just like I cannot grasp the water in my hands, I have realized the futility in trying to cling on to my thoughts and emotions as my identity. I let them all just go. And I observe.
I keep breathing.
What a freedom I have found here. A freedom of choice each day. One truth remains constant when we stop attaching to our thoughts and emotions: pure divine love. It is the one constant that we have. Just like the blue sky is always there just beyond the storm clouds, so is our divine love—just underneath whatever chaos of thoughts and emotions we have swirling around inside us.
Once upon a time, I identified so strongly with my thoughts and feelings that I could not see that I wasn’t them and they were not me. I clung to and was defined by them. I held grudges and nursed my anger deep inside, waiting, always with my guard up, for the next person to hurt me. Only they could never truly hurt me, because I wasn’t vulnerable enough to be hurt. This was an illusion I was creating to make excuses to stay in my comfortable, little cave.
It was bullshit.
I see through that now. In embracing my humanness, in practicing opening up to the world and becoming raw and vulnerable, I have found that I am not alone. That others relate. And they appreciate knowing they are not alone either.
All the stories that I used to tell myself—about how people would judge me and think me weak if I got real—were all a lie created by my mind. It has never happened.
I have also learned that the worst thing I imagined happening wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be in my head, when it actually happened. Yes, the person I love most hurt me deeply, cut me, shattered me with words. It hurt; yes indeed, it hurt tremendously. Almost suffocatingly, but you know what? I got through it. And I opened my heart enough to forgive.
I was given the chance to truly stand in the moment and observe what was actually happening—not what my head was telling me was happening. I was able to see, not through the dirty filter of years of resentments and wounds that haven’t healed, but through the clear eyes of one who has cleansed and healed her soul, forgiven others and herself, and lives in the moment.
I got the chance to truly practice divine love and compassion. Understanding and tolerance. Forgiveness. And we came out on the other side brighter, shinier and stronger.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to run. I wanted to say, “fuck this, fuck him” and “who needs this?”
But in that riptide I paused just long enough for that breath, and in that breath I was able to see that my heart wanted to forgive, that his own suffering was the root of his hurtful words—that they actually had nothing to do with me. I was able to see that we are all human, and we all make mistakes, and sometimes we say shitty things.
I was able to pause in my egotistical righteous judgement and say, “People have forgiven me for much more horrible things than this, who am I to condemn this person whom I love so deeply and who loves me so deeply in return, for his mistakes?”
I was able to un-attach my heart from my mind and stop the flood of selfish, egotistical, how dare you say that to me, me, me thoughts, and see that those thoughts were not me. That I had a choice between them and my divinely loving heart, which wanted to love and forgive.
I didn’t have to be my thoughts and my ego any longer, because at the end of the day none of it matters. Our “self” is an illusion. Our fear is an illusion. Our security is an illusion.
Nothing matters but this moment. This is all we have.
So I stayed. Took a breath. And I forgave.
Our breath creates a powerful space inside, where magic can happen if we let it.
I have found a source of divine love within my soul that is bigger than any thought, belief or ego that I can create.
That love is my choice today.
In the breath, may you find yours too.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Toby Israel