It’s hard to see it at the time, Atalwin Pilon writes, but heartbreak eventually brings its own gifts.
“If you don’t fight the sadness it will transform into tenderness.” I wrote that on the Basic Goodness Facebook page. I let these one-liners come up out of my awareness. I will sit down, close my eyes and look into myself to see what is going on right now. I have to concentrate pretty hard, listen very, very closely to distill the words out of the experience. But my Higher Self never disappoints me, I can’t remember if I ever got an “answer” that I judged unworthy for publishing. Often I’m surprised how deep and profound it sounds. Although the messages almost always have a universal quality, they are often aimed at me personally, too. And my stomach tells me that this is the case today.
Am I fighting sadness? Yes. I must say I feel tormented. I have been walking away from some deep sadness for quite a few days, and it’s becoming unbearable. I really, truly seem unable to face the fact that my relationship has stranded. I feel abandoned, alone, and rejected; I feel a failure. I hate myself for not being more enlightened, not being more accepting, not being able to let her go. I really don’t know what to do. I feel desperate.
Something broke open when I wrote the previous paragraph. A flood of tears came out, and the sobbing was uncontrollable, like an utterly devastated 6-year-old. The words that came up were “please don’t leave me here.” The image was of a small child who was being abandoned, left all alone on an endless plane of eternal blackness. I could still see my mother-girlfriend in the distance. She was about to shut the door behind her, submitting me to complete darkness. The feeling was of complete terror, utterly helpless and hopeless. I was being condemned without understanding why.
I stumbled to my meditation cushion and sat there for a while until the desperation softened. I realize that this deep-rooted fear of abandonment is at the core of my issues around relationships. Instead of simply loving her, I’m also busy with protecting myself from getting hurt and manipulating her into non-hurtful behavior against me. I do this out of fear of reliving the pain that still exists inside me, deeply hidden most of the time. I must have felt this abandonment in early childhood, and I have been trying to avoid it ever since. It explains a lot. By trying to cover up the wound, I’ve actually kept it open. It was ruling me, causing jealousy, judging, conditioning, and—right now—clinging.
We all have these wounds. Avoiding them causes suffering; facing them is painful; admitting them shameful. But once we acknowledge our “stuff,” we can start to heal. For me, healing my wounds is the most important thing in my life. I don’t want a relationship based on fear, not with myself and not with my girlfriend. I want my love to be based in freedom. I hope somebody wants to be with me because she loves me for who I am instead of staying with me in the hopes of being saved.
The gift of experiencing hidden sadness is the compassion that it brings up. Let’s face it: being in relationship is tough. It’s just hard. We are constantly pushing away and hurting our beloved by unconsciously protecting our hidden wounds. And our beloved is doing the same to us. But seeing myself helps me to forgive myself. There was a little boy inside of me, terrified of being abandoned again. I will take care of him, love him. Similarly, once I can see her, I can love the terrified little girl in my woman too. It’s not hard at all. My sadness has transformed into tenderness. With tenderness, I can embrace everything.
After having gone through this loop today I would like to add that I wish the end of suffering upon all sentient beings, especially to those who don’t have the time to heal their old emotional wounds simply because their very existence is threatened by violence and/or disaster as we speak. You are in my prayers.
Originally appeared at BasicGoodness.com.