I am not shy of love stories in this life.
I’m a Libra—ruled by Venus—and the search for my deepest heart connection has been a lifelong mission. I’ve experienced deep love. And with it, loss.
Breakups are inevitable. Sadly for some, me included, they can be crippling.
Breakups shine light on the parts of ourselves we have been trying to keep hidden—from the world, and from ourselves. Our shame, guilt, lies, and fears are usually pushed down into the depths of our consciousness, and they suddenly become front and centre. We can no longer ignore the pain we have been feeling during the relationship, we can no longer ignore the ugly parts of ourselves, and the person we have mentally and emotionally invested in (become attached to) is gone.
This triggers my abandonment fear, and I know I’m not alone in this.
I’m finding ways to cope better this time with my breakup. I feel stronger than in the past—less desperate, less neurotic, and more hopeful. These are good things. So, I’m sharing them with you with the hope it’s helpful knowledge passed from one human to another.
This is a global issue after all—how we relate to one another as human beings. The art of relationship, with self and other, is worth talking about.
When we go through these challenging periods, we have got to take responsibility for our own part in the ending of the play. I often find the angry phase the most painful, knowing that not only does hanging on to anger hurt me, when witnessing my rage unfold, it serves to push my lover further away. So I am focusing now on forgiveness, peace, and self-love.
It’s a breakthrough, not a breakdown.
I have learnt, through retrospection, practice, and observing the example of others, that we should use this time to create a sacred healing space for inner transformation. There is power in our darkness. It calls for light to be shone upon it in order to heal.
When our hearts are most tender, like now during my breakthrough period, we can dive into our darkness in two ways: 1. floundering, scared, and alone, or 2. strong, connected, and armed with tools for dealing with and transcending our pain.
Men and women must be allowed this time to heal.
Our hearts, minds, and souls all play roles in our relationships. They need time to disentwine, to reconnect with individuality, and to process and integrate the changes to our new state of existence. It’s vital that we shed our tears, release and understand our anger, and really feel our pain. Otherwise, the same pattern repeats. Different setting, different girl/guy, and same you equals the same problems.
Here is what’s keeping me going:
1. Be alone. Allow yourself this time to do nothing. Really, this is the hardest task of all for those of us who are programmed to do, do, do. This is your time. Embrace it.
2. Meditate. This is the hardest on the list for me to practice right now, but it’s the most important. My hourly meditation practice fell apart when my boyfriend and I broke up. First, I am forgiving myself for that, understanding that my mind is busy and the pain is still so raw, it is scary to sit down with that for an hour. I am allowing myself this time to be erratic, spontaneous, and free with my practice, meditating when I feel like it for five or ten or two minutes. No pressure, no expectations. Find what works for you.
3. Practice self-love. Now is the time for you. What makes us feel special, nourished, and loved? For me, it’s hot baths taken ritualistically: candles, music, Epsom salts in abundance, and essential oils. Coconut oil massaged into my skin, slowly. Head massage—either in the bath or any time of day when my head is exploding. I give myself all this and more, with loving intention. Cooking. You gotta eat! I know my eating habits get erratic at these times and my old patterns of over and under eating creep back. Thoughts of self-harm get louder. I need to be on guard as my own protector now, and channel to myself any love I feel is lacking now that my partner is gone. Eat well. Nourish your body. Love thyself. No one else can do that for you. Cooking is a ritual and a beautiful, meditative practice that always brings me calm during a storm.
4. Connect with nature. Mother Earth vibrates the energy of creation, unconditional love, and compassion. Hug a tree. Take your shoes and socks off. Walk in the grass. Breathe in that air. That is your life force. That is you. I feel tempted to stay inside during the breakup aftermath. I must remind myself to go for walks, like a mother gently reminds a child to brush his/her teeth or pee before bed.
5. Talk to your inner child. And do it kindly. We store everything in our cells. All memory, all trauma. We have all experienced trauma at some point in our lives, no matter how lovely our childhood memories are. It’s a requisite for the human condition. Talk to the parts of you that feel hurt, abandoned, or angry. Let the voice come out if it wishes to be spoken. Hear that voice, internally or spoken, and honour what it has to say. Tell your inner child you hear them, and that everything is okay.
6. Get organised. Science, and yoga before it, have proven that single-pointed focus is vital for mental health and happiness. While in the past, it’s been tempting to stay in bed all day and escape pain, at this time in my life (thank God), I feel able and up for doing things. I’m getting organized…finally! I’m planning my summer, and giving myself time to see friends, to work and make money, to volunteer, to travel (always), and to participate in new ways with the world. I know my higher purpose and feel passionate—and I choose now to direct my excess energy toward positive outcomes for the future happiness of the world and myself. This is my new mantra.
7. Get creative. Draw, paint, take pictures, or sew. Do something with your hands. It’s so healing.
8. Connect with other humans. Alone time is essential. But so is connection! Allow people in. In the past, after breakups, I’ve had to come to terms with how much I’d abandoned friendships during my time in a partnership. I gave everything to that one person and stopped sharing time, energy, and my true self with friends. Now I need them! Good friends will always be there—and I’m stunned sometimes at how much support is out there when you’re open to receive it. Through the support of friends and healers, I’m talking, releasing negative thoughts and emotions, and focusing my awareness on others’ lives, which is important to maintain perspective and an open heart.
9. Move your body. If depression is your default breakup mode, try to do something to move your body, even if it’s in your room at home. Put music on and dance—with your eyes open or closed—like no one is watching you. Magic.
10. Mantra and affirmation. During another breakup, I had trouble getting into the shower. I was so low I just wanted to stay in bed all day, and so showering—my first act of the day—became a fear, something I avoided. But, I had work to do of course. So, I started using the mantra: “I am not afraid of water,” and soon enough I started enjoying showers again, making my shower a daily Goddess ritual, and visualizing myself radiant under a tropical waterfall.
11. Accept where you are. Believe in where you are going. I live by the widely used Indian expression, “Sab kuch milega.” Everything is possible. If you can weather the storm, keeping your inner and outer space protected, you will emerge again more radiant than ever. I know it to be so.
Forgiveness, acceptance, self-love: these things are key.
Author: Olivia Wood
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy & Social Editor: Nicole Cameron