November 28, 2017

From Heartbreak to Gratitude: A Letter to my First Love.

“Lovers don’t just meet somewhere, they’re in each other all along” ~ Rumi 


To my first love:

Growing up on a farm in Wales, I often longed to be elsewhere. It was beautiful, yes—green hills, gushing streams, and misty valleys. Yet I longed for the vibrancy, energy, and potential of the wider world.

The first opportunity I got, and every opportunity thereafter, I was on a plane or a train out of that misty valley. But I always returned, and you were always there—until you weren’t.

It was over. Maybe we didn’t realize it at the time, but this time it was for good.

It’s been a while since we’ve spoken. It’s been even longer since we’ve seen each other. But the longing still arrives like crashing waves on a rocky shore. Over time, the distance between each wave has stretched further, the space between has grown larger, but still they come. Even after all these years, it can can still catch me at the most unexpected times.

Sometimes, I feel your presence and smell your fragrance in the breeze. It takes me a moment to catch my breath. I cling to your smell, touch, voice, warmth. I long for the space I occupied in your heart and mind. You’re so intertwined with home that sometimes I’m not sure what I’m really longing for. That mysterious Welsh word hiraeth comes to mind: longing, nostalgia, grief for the lost or departed, home-sick.

Years have passed, and I’ve slowly come to realize the truth. The truth is our love—it never went away. My pain comes from the delusion that I’ve lost something—but love can never be lost. All the love I’ve ever known is within me now. It still exists; it lives in my cells, my soul, my heart, my mind. It’s in the breeze, in the clouds, and in the rain. And even though my pride was wounded and you let me go, I’ve arrived at a point where I feel nothing but gratitude.

I’m grateful.

Grateful to you for all of it. Because it led me to here—and here is magical. For the longest time I thought you were pushing me away, but I now realize you were actually propelling me forward, leading me to here. To this moment. And finally I can say that this moment feels really, really good.

I thought you were my soulmate, but perhaps you were just meant to be my guide—sent from the beyond, nudging me forward toward a new life, a new country, a new earth.

I’m married now, and it’s a love that I could never have dreamed of. One that’s made me healthy, happy, healed, and whole. My love for you gave way to a love for life beyond what I ever could have imagined.

But you knew that already, didn’t you? That’s why you wanted me to go.

I thought my safe harbor, my sanctuary, was in your arms, but it was actually 5,000 miles away—not in the arms of another, but in my own heart, my own stillness. I am my own savior, but I had to travel half-way across the world to realize this. To find myself, to be a me, not an us. I never belonged to you, and I still do not belong to another. I am a free spirit, capable of loving and shining my light on the whole world. I love you, and that is real and exists. I love you just as I love the trees, the stars, the rocks, the oceans, and the birds.


For anyone sitting with the pain of heartbreak: Trust that whatever is coming your way is serving your highest good and let go. Clinging, grasping, getting attached to a label or idea is the root of suffering.

Take some time to wander down that garden path; you will surely find your lover’s breeze there. All will be well—it already is.



Author: Isa Nakielny
Image: Mitya Ku/Flickr
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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