February 16, 2022

Shailene Woodley & Aaron Rodgers’ break off their engagement. Here’s my “thoughts” about their break up.

[It’s none of our Business]

There is no Shame in Breaking up. There is no Shame in Breaking off an Engagement. You know what’s a bit Shameful? Feasting off of others’ drama for our own entertainment.

It’s easy to fall in love. Fireworks, fun, delight! It’s a beautiful experience. But it’s also one best coupled with breathing, or we fill that joy with too much weighty expectation.

It’s easy to visualize Happily Ever After, as I wrote recently of my engagement with Michelle.

It’s hard to do dishes, together, or go for a bike ride, together…to live together, every day, going deeper and deeper as we discover how we were raised differently, communicate differently (or very little at all), our love languages don’t speak with one another.

And so it’s important to remember the point of a relationship, from a Buddhist pov—it’s to sand off our sharp edges, to commit, to learn (that sounds nice, but it’s tough stuff), to wake up (Buddha means, simply, Awakened One).

And if we fail to connect or serve one another one too many times, if we just aren’t a fit, and we call it off—there’s no shame in that. As long as we learn. As long as we don’t make “other” the bad guy (unless, of course, it’s abusive—that’s beyond the pail of a workable relationship).

We need, as humans, as lovers, as a society, to remember that closing something properly is as important as opening something properly. That’s rarely done—we holler, we yell, we fight, we split, we make that Instagram or Facebook post, we get back on Tinder or Bumble or Hinge or whatever, we reach out to old friends and lovers. We’re back, baby!

But what’s most powerful…we’ve already left behind. What’s most powerful is to remember to pause, so that we may learn. In this speedy, speedy world, if we pause to breathe, we may learn, grow, and awaken. So that our next relationship, if and when we enter into one, has a more open path forward.

And when we pause, to learn—we may make friends with ourselves (maitri), all the more. The parts of ourselves we don’t like—and the parts of ourselves we’re arrogant about.

And, if possible, if we can remain friends—or friendly—with that ex-special person, who was so powerful in our life for a time, we may enrich our life and widen our hearts for all our years to come. For if our broken relationship was anything, really, then it must have held friendship at its warm core.

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