“You don’t measure love in time. You measure love in transformation. Sometimes the longest connections yield very little growth, while the briefest of encounters changes everything. The heart doesn’t wear a watch- it’s timeless. It doesn’t care how long you know someone. It doesn’t care if you had a 40 year anniversary if there is no juice in the connection. What the heart cares about is resonance. Resonance that opens it, resonance that enlivens it, resonance that calls it home. And when it finds it, the transformation begins…” - Jeff Brown
In early December of last year, I fell in love. Wildly, deeply, passionately. We met at the registration desk for an 11 day workshop in Cali we would both be attending. I remember walking in and seeing this tall handsome man, smiling but then quickly looking down (an oddly timid move for me). He introduced himself as Joe, and I promptly and excitedly told him I was Becky JO! Sparks were flying :).
A few days later I was meditating before class, and felt a physical warmth wash over me. I turned and wasn’t surprised to see he had sat down right behind me. We smiled a knowing smile. We were drawing cards that morning in order to discover who our partner would be for that night’s homework session. I knew it would be him. I felt nervous and shy around him and I loved it, my rare sign of those fabulous Butterflies. Turns out he had also sensed we would get paired up :).
Our matching cards were drawn, and we locked eyes and smiled... fate revealing herself. We sat cross legged facing each other, instructed to hold hands and eyes, but not to speak. For those next 4 minutes, sparks transformed into a seed; love was planted.
By the time our course was over, that love seed was already grown and beginning to bloom. Emotionally, intellectually, spiritually... but not yet passionately. Our wise course instructors had advised our group to refrain from sex. It was an intimate course, so connections would surely be made, but if it was real it could wait. We were good students :).
We had both driven (he from SoCal and I from Portland), so without any set day to be back home, took an extra solo trip to the coast together. We went running and dove in the ocean. He boosted me up into trees. We had singing waiters, free upgrades and unsolicited desserts given to us... the magical karma was unending. Then he informed me that he too did his own (less gregarious) version of “Spread Happy” events. He even whipped out an envelope of $500 that he had brought in case an opportunity presented itself to help someone out. We geeked out on this fate, never having felt it so beautifully fall upon us. There was no doubt about our connection from then on. Two single hands can do a lot, but together? So much more. We both said I love you on our 11th day together. It didn’t feel fast, it felt profound and true and unlike anything we’d ever experienced, and we spoke openly about it often.
I called my mom (my favorite person on earth) and told her I’d met the male version of her, and boy was I in ‘trouble’ ;). He invited me to come and spend christmas and meet his family. No sense waiting, we both already knew.
He picked me up from the airport in a costume! Hello?!?!?! I was smitten. His mom had been waiting 43 years for him to bring a ‘special someone’ home, so I was welcomed with open arms. :). I was incredibly proud that he chose me, as it was clear he had options, and all the while he was thrilled that I chose him. We helped his family with chores, took his nephews swimming in the ocean, settled our fun-spirited smack talking over a game of 1-on-1 basketball at the local YMCA (he whooped me, graciously :).
From Cali, we flew up together to the PNW. The passion set free had exceeded all expectations, and we even joined the Mile High Club on the way, our two adventurous spirits soared. Was he for real? Sweet and kindhearted, but with that wild and courageous side? It felt like a dreamworld.
We spent days preparing, then taught a class together for a Portland group on the subject of Self-Love on Jan 2. It was an easy topic for us, our early conversations often based in this understanding: To really be happy in a relationship, you have to be happy alone. We were sharing our happiness, not needing it from one another. Both of us were very independent, well traveling, financially stable, able communicators, dedicated to growth … and the beauty of finding another who understood these beauties resonated deep within us.
It was a fairy tale romance. Both of us fixated on making a difference in the world, learning and growing, and communicating about everything. We shared fears and hopes and desires, and daily spoke about being truthful always, even if it was hard. We cried together and spend countless hours telling each other all the things we loved about one another, talking about how incredible this love was.
He’d stare in my eyes and say I was the best thing to ever happen to him, whisper that he’d waited his whole life to meet me, and that I inspired him so much. One day I was reinforcing the fact that if anything happened and things didn’t work out, I’d be okay. He melted me by saying he wanted to love me as long as I would allow him too. We talked about how we wanted to do amazing things in the world, and we’d brainstorm how we could do them together. We’d change the world :).
With our two unconventional lifestyles, we were able to easily adjust and accommodate this newfound love. Except for the 5 days between our first trip and me flying to cali for christmas, we were just together, a word we emphasized often. He stayed here in the PNW, living in the RV next to mine (my mom’s, she was gone for all of January). Our ‘Dating’ got exponentially advanced to talks of future, of family, of business ideas, of life together. Buying a house or getting an apartment or building here on my land. We talked of sharing bank accounts, utilizing each other’s strength to make our whole greater. There was nothing off limits in discussion.
“Let there be no doubt: all love connections are not created equal. Some have a mystical quality from the first meeting. Pure and simple. Apparent from the first out-breath. Unmistakably sacred. God rising on the wings of their love. This is how the timely and the timeless become indistinguishable—when love meets God deep in the heart’s inner temple.
Does this sound insane? If it does, that’s okay. Great love is the most exquisite kind of madness, an asylum of delight. Enter its gates and divinity rises into view. Like all synchronistic delights, it’s only madness until it happens to you.” -Jeff Brown
Previously, I’d thought one day I might adopt, but had been less and less inclined about actually having children. Enter Joe. We talked of how having a child together one day, joining our genes and ideals into a new person, seemed almost essential. I told him I would want twins, and he sweetly agreed we could do that :). With him 10 years my senior, we talked about waiting just one year to try.
He loved my mom too, even before she returned, understanding how integral and important she was in my life. Upon her arrival, he moved into The Bloom Wagon with me. At 6’-3” he had to sleep slanted to fit on his side’s mini RV bed, but he was adamant it was perfect :). He’d cook often for both Deb and I, and then they would go walking daily. She fell in love with him as well. He even loaned her 14k to pay off her truck. When she and I would talk privately, we’d get giddy and say, ‘is-he-for-real?’
His generosity was unparalleled. He’d been in the peace corp. He’d opened numerous restaurants to be entirely run my immigrants so he could pay them great wages and help them create a beautiful life. He once moved in with a previously homeless blind man he’d just met, for 4 months, so he could teach him to get around his new space. It felt like my personal struggles with the Bloom Woods that previous summer all made sense if it was to meet this incredible human being.
During his 20‘s, he had contracted brain malaria while living in Africa, and was given only a 1% chance of survival. He did :). He was a miracle man.
He had a sweet curiosity to know everything about me, a childlike wonder about my body, and a way of understanding me unlike anyone I’d ever met. He could see things in me I hadn’t even pondered, and could talk about them in an eloquent, caring fashion that I admired and looked forward to greatly. He loved doing things for and taking care of me, and I surprised myself by adoring this over the top attention. I relinquished completely to the love and reveled in it.
In early-mid February, he finally needed to take a short trip back to Cali to take care of a few things. While he was gone, I noticed shifts in my body that I never had experienced. I took 4 tests, just to be sure:
We were pregnant.
I was taken by sweet surprise. Even though logically we hadn’t been very safe, a big part of me thought I was infertile. Based on a silly something an Indian guru once told me, but more because of 20 years of sexual activity with lax at best protection. Stupid, I know. In a way it felt like confirmation of our sacred unity. We’d already talked about starting a family just the next year, we already knew we loved each other, wanted a future together. The secret bubbled within me, waiting until he got back a few days later to tell him. A tiny piece of me was still nervous to share, but when I did, he squeezed me and whispered, “I’m so happy” with an authenticity that seeped into every cell of my being. It disintegrated any nervousness and I easily slipped into celebration of the miracle :).
It was an incredible period of time. Possibly the most joyous in my life, because although unplanned, it was exciting and solidified our already powerful connection. We began shifting all our plans to accommodate this new news of a baby on the way. We saw a midwife (I wanted a waterbirth) and he played along with my hopes that it be twins, always mentioning ‘them’ when referencing my tummy :).
I was already beginning to have odd cravings and was getting extra emotional. One day I cried because he served me and Deb food but didn’t make enough for himself to eat. I was so tired and felt like I wasn’t really contributing and that he was having to do everything. He sat me down, and thru tears told me that my body was doing all the physical work, that he felt great by getting to contribute in this way. He wanted me to know that he would do anything for me and that ‘we’ is not just a word but an actuality, that we work together and there is no competition about who contributes more, but we just work together.
These recollections aren’t just a memory, but from written recordings. From the first week together, I was sure there would be a movie made from our love story one day. It was magic and I knew it, so everyday I was journaling the things we did, what we were saying to each other, the feelings shared.
I still think there could be a movie about this story, although certainly not the ending I or anyone watching it would ever imagine. Spoiler alert!
On February 19th, we made love, and after realized there was blood. A lot of it. I rushed to the bathroom, and the realization of what was happening hit me. I’d no previous knowledge, but quite clearly knew it was a miscarriage. I wept over the toilet for hours while he sat behind me rubbing my back and coo’ed sweet nothings. I hadn’t wanted to get pregnant, but the phenomena of motherhood had swept me off my feet. I couldn’t bear the thought of ‘them’ going down and being in our RV sewer tank, so with total gentleness, he scooped all the tissue out and we planned to do a ceremony the next day.
We laid together for a long time, intertwined on my mini twin RV bed. We talked about knowing that everything happens for a reason, that it’s probably a blessing in disguise since we weren’t really ready, but it’s very hard to not get sad. I felt relief in thinking that we had created an amazing angel to roam the earth, lifting spirits and brushing love where it was needed.
The next week was rough, I was exhausted and not really improving, still bleeding minimally, but daily. Joe was quiet and contemplative, but loving and generous as always. I started going stir crazy, we had to get out of the RV. Being physically and emotionally drained was foreign and uncomfortable to me.
We went out to eat for a short respite, and we watched the horrendous and disheartening ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ movie that night. It instigated a wonderful conversation, beginning with my ‘stuckness’. I’d been uncertain of the Bloom Woods vision for quite a while now, the summer being rough on me. I hadn’t wanting to give up the dream, but also ‘something’ stopping me from moving forward. Towards the end of summer into fall, I didn’t want to design, I was wasting time, getting distracted. His presence had let me forget I was in the midst of my own personal struggle, but now it was pouring back down upon me: What did I actually want for my life?
Then we start talking about our earlier ideas, about how we both LOVE to spread happiness. That we’d both had prior dreams that we could somehow make a living off of doing good deeds. What if we stopped coming up with ways to ‘make money’ and just put everything on the line and just went for it!? We had enough savings between us to get started, and over time we could see it grow into a viable ‘career.’ How amazing if, when people asked what we “DO”, we could answer, “We do good in the world.” We were giddy about it.
A few days later I dropped him off at the airport. He was going on a roadtrip he’d been wanting to do since before we met. I felt mixed emotions about him leaving, a bit surprised he wanted to go alone, but he had reassured me all was well, and I even had some relief to be able to heal and not endure my own shame battle of feeling useless all day. He talking about reading and studying up all while he was gone (we both love personal growth books) and wanting to fill me in on everything he’d be learning.
There was as much love in our airport goodbye as there had been all along. I had no reason to be alarmed.
Little did I know that was our final moment of the dreamy love I’d come to cherish.
It seemed okay for a few days, we were texting and chatting often. We assumed, based on internet research, that it’d be another week before I felt totally back to normal.
Then, my bleeding got more significant. I started passing mega masses of tissue again. All the while, his contact got fewer and farther between.
Making my smoothie in the morning was exhausting. Taking a shower was exhausting. Everything was exhausting. I was scared of moving around because I was getting so light headed. I didn’t want to stray too far from a bathroom because I never knew when the bleeding would overwhelm my kotex pads.
Thank goodness my mom lived next door. I stayed with her a few nights as I started passing more and more bloody tissue. We thought maybe the miscarriage wasn’t finished, but surely it must be after that.... and then it would happen again… and again.
One night I was so weak and tired, and scared. I called my mom quietly sobbing, asked her to take me to urgent care in Vancouver. It was an hour drive at 3am, but I knew something wasn’t right. I was bleeding all over the table and the nurse told us it was normal and sent us home. I passed another mass in the bathroom before leaving. Both of us were shocked, but not having any prior experience with this, thought… I guess we believe them right??
Around this time, Joe sent me a message, that he was sorry he hadn’t felt like talking. That he loves me so much and he knows I’m having a hard time and that I deserve to get some attention. His trip had gotten put off because he needed a root canal, and he wasn’t feeling so great. He had an appointment in just a few days to get it fixed, so I was torn between just asking him to come back, but knowing he’d be in pain with his tooth.
Later, when I asked him to come back after the dentist, he said he had another random appointment in a few days. His communication had went from eloquent to inarticulate and that’s when I really knew something wasn’t right. I had a suspicion he was in a bad way and was able to lean into compassion. One night we FaceTimed, and he was laying in a dark room. I prompted and prodded him to stand up and cheer. I asked him to please go talk to someone. He said he would. When we said our goodbye’s, he said he didn’t know why he was so nervous to talk to me, that is was great. It felt good, but I started balling as soon as we hung up. What’s happening? My self preservation came back and I still couldn’t understand. How is this amazing human who made me feel as if he would do anything for me… now being reserved, ashamed and absent when I’m in the worst way of my life? I stopped hearing from him altogether the next two days. It was torturous, to be both physically impaired and emotionally unhinged at the same time.
Tuesday morning, March 8, I woke up bleeding and it didn’t stop. I could barely move. I sat on the toilet for an hour and finally was too tired to even hold myself upright, so laid on a towel to get horizontal and see if that would help, but it didn’t. I lay there crying and scared. I called the doctor, knowing this couldn’t be okay. The nurse could feel my urgency and squeezed me in for 2pm that day. It was around 9:30am at this point.
I was so raw and emotional, and couldn’t believe that I was not hearing anything from Joe. What the heck was going on with him? I’d had enough of worrying when I desperately needed to take care of myself. I FaceTime’d him, no answer, and FaceTime’d him right back. He answered and I just cried, asked him if he would at least text because I don’t want to worry about him emotionally, needing all my strength to heal physically. He says he will, and it’s generally a nice convo.
I’m crying and laying on the bed and feeling blood pouring out of me. Back to toilet again. This time, I start feeling really woozy. My head is so lightheaded. I… i…. i……..
Deb says I lost consciousness and fell forward as a dead weight on her shoulder. She said I sneezed and snot came out. I opened my eyes, but I wasn’t there. I made no effort to do anything about the snot. She said I was so pale even my lips were white, and then fear took over. She reached for her phone to call 911. I fell off the toilet.
Sometime shortly after I got some awareness. I knew something wasn’t right because I could hear her speaking on the phone, voice full of panic. I realized I was on the floor, my pants not even on. I’m laying there, it dawning on me that I could actually be bleeding to death. I heard her saying that she can’t get me up and our driveway is hard, and I decide I will not die. I muster up the strength to sit up and mumble ‘I can get to the car’. I don’t know how I did it really, but I like to think it was my grandpa, my guardian angel, lifting me up!
I stumbled to the car with my pants sagging low. Deb grabbed some things and we hear the sirens. It took only a few minutes to get to the end of the driveway and the ambulance arrived shortly after.
Zombie time: out of the car, onto the stretcher, into the ambulance. I’m conscious enough to be friendly, ask the names of my savers :). My blood pressure is super low and dropping, and they try to start two IVs. They can only get one because my veins are so tight and small.
I see 11:11 on the clock and announce it! There’s a wonderful wave of positivity that passes thru me... I’m going to be fine :).
My pressure is still dropping so they keep trying for that second IV in me. So many punctures! I tell them I can feel myself bleeding out, but there’s not much they can do now, so we leave it. They don’t have blood in the ambulance, only fluid. The sirens are blaring and we are cruising.
I then see 11:23, and now I know for sure I’ll be okay. It’s scary, and I’m feeble, but my understanding was steadfast: I’m not dying today:). I start poking fun about my condition. I even ask Bryan the EMT to take my picture… my dying wish. He was not amused ;).
As we approach the hospital, the urgency in their voices is apparent. They are saying some things like that it has to be a ‘fast in, no papers’ or whatever else might normally slow down the intake process.
Bed rolling in, lots of doctors and nurses. They cut my shirt off (my fav shirt!!) and my pants are completely saturated, trashed. They are drawing blood (what? don’t you have enough?!). Lots of questions and explaining. Mom shows up!!! yay! I cry! What if she hadn’t been there?? My angel!!!!! I have to pee and they give me a bed pan. I feel a HUGE clot come out of me! Oh my god… I see the nurse give a ‘whoa’ look to the doc.
She does an exam on me and says some POC (products of conception) were still inside, the miscarriage incomplete :(. Later I find out the fetus had still been trying to survive (my pregancy hormones 3x what they had been at my first appt), growing the placenta but then my body continuing to reject it. They’ll be doing an emergency surgery to ‘fix’ it. I start to cry and the sweet pregnant doctor comes over and very gently says that I should still be able to have children in the future, this doesn’t mean the end. I start wailing. I’m not sure why, maybe just that I can’t really believe what’s happening :(.
I see 12:23 on the clock then. Ahh, these gifts from god, I can’t help but smile. Thank you for reminding me it will all work out :).
A lot more happens from there, but for succinctness sake: The surgery. Horrid pain as the anesthesia wore off. Blood Transfusions. Throat agony from the tubes down my throat. 15+ needle puncture sights in my arms/hands. Family love and some fun, then a sleepless night. The inability to get myself to the bathroom. Family visiting, me barely talking or engaging. Nightmares. Sleeping pills for the second night. Tears and fears and raw emotion and exhaustion as I’ve never experienced it.
As a high energy person, I appreciate my blood tenfold now :). Normal hemoglobin level is 12-15. Mine is almost 15. Critical is considered 7.5. I got down to 5, and after three different blood transfusions they released me at a level of 8 with an estimate of two months until I’d feel back to normal. Ugghhh!!! It took all of that.
The most beautiful part of my hospital stay was all the love and support from my family. My sister came both days, she is an expert at taking care of things, and we were in good spirits as she plucked my chin hairs for me and cut up my food and even fed me :). My dad came the entire second day, missing work, and my stepmom too drove all the way down in the evening to visit. Though I could hardly engage, their presence was powerful and I felt so much appreciation for it. Of course my mom who absolutely saved my life was by my side the whole time. So much love all around me...
...but none from Joe :(
I was in total disbelief about what was going on. Where was this incredible man, who just a few weeks prior was celebrating our having a child together? Who had countless times professed his undying love? Who had spoke passionately about our plans for our future lives together? ...and now completely absent in both physical and emotional presence? It made no sense, and I was torturing myself with trying to figure it out, hormones in my body taking over my normal ability to cope.
We spoke my second night there, but it was incoherent. I even told him he sounded like Donald Trump, talking a bunch of nonsense but nothing making sense... what was going on? I’d had enough, just tell me!
The next morning I had an email from Joe. He admitted that he has depression. That he was aware of the gravity of my situation, but that he couldn’t even get out of bed. He can’t feel anything, not even love. He said he felt like a witness but not a participant in his own life, feeling only a strange heaviness, numb to reality, 100x worse than anything he’d ever experienced in his life, normally in touch with his emotions, and now with none.
I was horrified that he was going through such unfathomable difficulty, I was deeply hurt that he couldn’t feel any love for me…but I was also relieved, that at least a reason for his behavior existed. One that I could seemably forgive and we could work through.
But that would not be the case. Over the next few days and weeks, he shared with me that he had taken the pregnancy news pleasurably because he loved me, but deep down knew it wasn’t the path he was meant to be on. When the miscarriage happened, he said his relief was strong, which brought on an intense guilt. He left for ‘his trip’ to clear his head, but as I got worse, his guilt became a flood, causing him to believe he was even causing all my suffering, that he was a bad person. The guilt took him farther down than he’d ever gone, drowning in the blackness.
He also shared that he didn’t believe he could ever have an intimacy so close with anyone. Throughout his life he had hoped for love, thinking he just hadn’t met the right person, but no, instead, he realized I was the perfect person for him... yet through me revealed his freedom was the most important thing to him.
I was torn between devastation and compassion. I just couldn’t believe it. We’d had nothing but bliss. How could he go from 100% to zero just like that? Maybe this was the depression talking. Was he just feeling too ashamed? Maybe I just needed to love him thru this. Could I love him through this?!? I felt so hurt and abandoned, but knew I was strong… could I be strong now? Maybe he was totally scared and I could show him it was okay. Did we not countless times talk about being open and honest with each other? I wanted to be a safe place for him. Not to mention if anyone would be open to an untraditional relationship with freedom as the priority, it would be me.
He’d said he would try to explain, but left me hanging for what seemed like forever. I was going back and forth on the biggest bi-polar ride of my life, where I’d feel totally fine and optimistic and my miss-positivity-self that knows everything happens for a reason… and then the crying sobbing mess that felt shattered and lost.
Finally he send another email, speaking totally level-headed again, but persistent that he lead a loveless life. What the? Author Brene Brown says, “our brains are wired for story” and sure as shit I was looking for something, ANYTHING, to help me understand. I even began suspecting he was some criminal Dexter with a big secret and realized he wouldn’t be able to hide it from me. My brain was on fire to find the solutions to this madness.
In late March he flew up and we met for 24 hours in person to talk, I was pretty freaked to be honest. The whole thing was so crazy, we met in the lobby of an airport hotel and I even had asked the hotel clerk to keep an eye on us because I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The lovely, wonderful man I had known was there. His apologizes were sincere and heartfelt. His love was apparent. Even the fact that he had offered to come talk to me in person was a testament to his character. He gave me permission to share this story publicly, again an demonstration of his giving nature, and ability to understand mine.
We talked a TON about the importance of being able to ask for what you want. That boundaries aren’t just a nice concept, but an essential part of being whole and happy. They go both ways, saying no when it’s called for, but also being able to ask for what is needed. People that are ‘givers’ can slip into this mode of giving to the point of not even knowing how to make requests. Or not even being able to be around others and still maintain the self. Often it’s just easier to do what you want by yourself, with no worry of compromise or disappointment or judgement. Joe took it to the point of believing he couldn’t ever have a loving relationship because that meant loss of self & freedom.
What did he actually want? Why would he not just ask? An unconventional relationship? I mean good god man, I'm personally opposed to paper marriage, I’ve dabbled in polyamory, I like to snuggle but then prefer to sleep in separate beds, I’m even designing a single family house (that I’ll eventually release with research) that is actually TWO smaller houses because I think it’s detrimental to merge lives. Seriously... who else would be so open to non convention??
It ended up being a being a lovely and promising reunion, with feel good feelings and hope on both ends. I left feeling proud of my ability to not be led by an ego that intermittently wanted to scream ‘fuck off, I am way too awesome for this.’ In my heart I knew, he is awesome too. It seemed too coincidental that both of us went through the hardest times of our lives at exactly the same time and each had nothing to give the other.
“It is better to lose your pride for the one you love, than lose the one you love to your pride.”
Truth be told, I’d rather have an unconventional relationship too. Our whirlwind of a courtship was powerful, but it was also whip cream on top of the self defacing shit pie that I’d been swimming in. What was I meant to do on this earth? I have all this potential and opportunity… yet I’d been spending my time comparing myself to others, shaming myself for taking so long, feeling frustrated and tired of trying to figure it out, pushing forward while feeling dragged back. Meeting Joe felt like the answer I’d been wishing for: A sign or a signal that would tell me what direction to go. It felt sooooo good and right to float in the love and romance and especially to have someone else make decisions for a while. Our dreams were so similar and we were so perfect….
We scheduled our first attempt to meet in LA just a few weeks later, early April. He had bought my ticket and we were only an hour apart, but it never happened. I flipped out and after a sleepless night, even told him I wanted to punch him in the face. Oh man, that’s the one part of the story that I regret.
“Anger is a river. It wants to be released into the vaster ocean. It wants to move naturally. When we repress it with premature forgiveness, block it with false positivity, repress it in the name of pseudo-peace, we just dam(n) our natural flow. The river then turns inward, against the self, or explodes outwardly, against innocents. Better we express it when it is in our awareness- not in a way that is destructive to humanity- but in a way that is authentic and that restores the integrity of our being. Anger isn’t the enemy. Misplaced anger is. Let the river flow” - Jeff Brown
If I was leading from the beauty of the heart before, now I was dragged by the ugly beast of the ego. Joe insinuated he was fine, was no longer depressed, and in fact he did seem totally levelheaded and again eloquent. Can it be fixed like that? He went to a counselor only once, and hadn’t shared what was going on even with his family. If he’s not depressed, in fact he’s fine, was he ever?... then was this all just a scam? An excuse? Is he just… dumping me?? The embarrassment of feeling completely dumped after I had publicly announced that I had met my soulmate was visceral. It was more than embarrassment, it was shame. And then that I had been so kind with him? What the hell did I miss? Could it have been just lust on his part? No way! Maybe there were signs and I had ignored them? Maybe he didn’t really love me? How could I have been such a fool, to be completely and totally blindsided like this? What did I do wrong? Did he stop loving me earlier but didn’t have the guts to tell me? Was there signs I didn’t catch? Was I too much effort? Too crazy? Too emotional? Too this or that or anything? What did I do wrong? Was I not enough?? Maybe I wasn’t worthy?
I recognized I was in a shit spiral and started to pull back out. This isn’t about me, it was about him. I was feeling really good until a month later I heard from him. He’d went off to Mexico and bought a hostel, was asking me to pay back the $ he loaned my mom. When I told him it really hurt that he’d only contacted me for the $ he said he was sorry in his good-natured way, but then continued to say that he was ‘repeled’ by the thought of us. Repeled?! That’s the word you chose to use?
Ego said: FUUUUUCKKKKKK YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!
Heart said: Oh Joe, are are running from an internal issue? Avoiding me and whatever you are scared of doesn’t fix a hole in your heart. Don’t let fear drive your life!!!
“It is the unseen loads that weigh us down the most: the repressed wounds, the perpetual anxieties, the relational disappointments. It is all too easy to lose sight of what burdens us, not even realizing that hardship has become our habitual way of being. Even if we don’t want to reveal our burdens to others, we must reveal them to ourselves. We must bring them into our own light. We must unpack them piece by piece, memory by memory, until the load lessens and we can breathe again. It is the accumulation of toxic matter that destroys us. When we stop unpacking, we start decaying. Empty, empty, empty…” - Jeff Brown
It got worse for me then. We didn’t speak, but I was torturing myself thinking I could somehow help whatever he was running from, but also not wanting anything to do with him at that point. He had said it felt good to be finding his peace inward instead of looking outward. I knew he had no ill-will, I was just pissed that it felt like he was fine and I was the one suffering. If felt like it was over again, and this time I didn’t have his depression as an excuse to alleviate my pain of rejection. It was just me then, dealing with all the shit that this chaos had uncovered: my ego, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough. My extreme discomfort with not having an answer or a solution. My fall into comparison. The recognition of judgement. The inability to fix it. Fix him. Fix me. All the sudden I was in a scary shadow forest, my own.
I found out that I didn’t know who I was if I couldn’t DO. In the beginning, I couldn’t get up, and didn’t want to. My mom would drive me around to get me out of the house, but I had no energy or desire to get out of the car, let alone take a walk. Who was I without my enthusiasm and energy and ability to climb mountains and trees and instigate the masses??? In a way I was jealous that Joe had just ran, because that’s what I wanted to do too. It was and is still a powerful recognition, to be shown my life without my physical prowess. As I trudged thru my recovery period, stuck in my RV regaining my blood life energy, I faced the brutal beauty of actually feeling the feelings, all of them: pain, grief, anger, blame, abandonment, disappointment, shame, fear. It sucked, and continues to suck, but as we know, time is a healer. I’ve found so much light in letting them surface rather than just running around and doing more awesome stuff, earning more credentials to unconsciously bury the hurts deeper.
Is that what Joe is doing? Maybe. Is that wrong? To call that wrong would be to say that I have been wrong, when all my life I know I’ve only done the very best I could with what and who I’ve been each moment along the way. I know I’ve hurt people. I didn’t mean to or want to, but I have. There have been twice as many men that have loved me than men that I have loved. And I’ll hurt people still. I have too many ‘friendships’ that don’t serve me anymore, but I hold on for history sake. Wow.
The only person we can be better than is the person we were yesterday.
I forgive Joe. That doesn’t mean I condone his behavior or deny the hurt. It means I release myself from the prison of blame, and release him from thinking he was a bad person. He did his best. His efforts were obvious. His love was obvious. His kindness was obvious. His pain was obvious. He’s human, and I’m human, and we are all filled with fear and can deal with issues the only way we know how. His method sucked. I’m not going to sugarcoat that. Running sucks. What if that’s all he knew and there’s no amount of love I could have given to change that? He told me that when he didn’t come to me when I was in the hospital, it was the first time in his life that he didn’t do what he knew he was ‘supposed to do’ and that it was one of the most freeing feelings he’d ever had. Has he spent his life behind the bars of ‘supposed to’?
Wow. You know what? If all of this was to be the bearer of that lesson for Joe, I’m proud of that. His heart is so loving and there’s no doubt in my mind he is out in the world doing good deeds. He can and has made a powerful contribution in this world, and I believe as he learns to truly love and honor himself, his impact will grow exponentially. There’s nothing better we can do for this world that to feel good, I really believe that. The more love we have for ourselves, the more we have to give away.
My bestie Christopher pointed out that if God himself was passing out life cards, and one came up that said, “the hard path that opens me up the most and allows me to live the most authentic life possible” I’d be jumping up and down with my hands up saying, “Me, me, me, me, me, please, me over here!”
He’s so right. There is 5000x more good I got and will continue to get from this whole experience than what was bad. Truthfully, it’s only my ego that still wants to blame. My life is beautiful and I have so much love and goodness and gratitude. It’s only when I fall into comparison, feeling like I’m not far enough along that I want to blame Joe for this ‘setback’.
It hasn’t been a setback, it’s been a rainstorm. I live in Portland, OR, I’m not afraid of the rain. Rainy days mean staying inside and creating. Rain makes things grow and thrive. You can’t have rainbows without the rain.
I don’t have any great answers or advice to share. Believe me, I REALLY wanted to. It’s taken me 6 months to write this blog. I started this a week after I left the hospital. Originally it took a long time because I was still in the thick of the pain, but the last 3 months I’d been delaying because I hadn’t yet “figured out the big lesson.’ That’s my pattern. If hard stuff happens, I find the positive and share what I’ve experienced. Most things that happen to me fly straight off my back and I’m able to find the silver lining quickly. This? Has been the hardest obstacle of my life, and I’m over putting a deadline for when I’ll get it figured out and be healed by. I may never have an answer I can comprehend, and there will always be a scar. That’s okay. Scars are cool :).
What I know is that I needed his love, and I needed this loss. His Love came when I was confused and unwittingly trying to run from my own internal strife by drinking and sexing up my life. I couldn’t technically run, so I was just numbing. The Loss has helped me uncover my own deeply buried hurts. It’s helped me be more compassionate and understanding for loss and grief and hardship. I found an empathy I’d never understood, a new way to relate to others about how hard life could feel. It’s helped me be more comfortable with uncertainty, or at least grasp that I really can’t hold out for an answer. It’s especially helped me realize I want to be truly vulnerable, and share my pains as much as I share my joys.
My bestie Christopher came out all the way from Miami to support me when I launched my first Oregon tour. I realized I wasn’t ready. He’s my best friend and I was petrified of disappointing him, that the tour would suck and he’d see I was not good enough to be his best friend. He’d leave me too. It was an absolutely absurd thought that made me realized I couldn’t offer an InnerAttainment Adventure tour again until I felt good about myself and the value I bring. I’m rejuvenating my self love from a place of heart and soul, not of accomplishments, because I do know I have so much to offer even without my resume or jumping bean energy.
Most days I feel awesome and like I’m back, but occasionally still have a day where I’m a total mess, so I’m taking it slow. No need to rush. Tours in my head are brewing, but right now all I want to do is write. 3 days a week that’s all I do. It’s how I heal and process and find my truth and refill my cup so I can come back and be able to spread the love that I so want to spread, far and wide. While I hibernate into my self-care, it’s how I feel like I still contribute to the world, that maybe somebody reads this or whatever post I make, and it helps them thru their own situation.
Those 3 days that I write? I also limit or even completely refrain from social media. That’s been the best thing ever. I love myself so much when I’m not judging my 34 yr old progress against all the success stories that are available at our smart phone fingertips. Remove the comparing? I feel fabulous :).
I took a part time job giving sightseeing tours in Portland and the Columbia Gorge and it’s been amazing. Nothing but absolute love from every single passenger thus far. Of course, that’s outside approval again, but this time I’m focused on how can I make their experience the best I can, rather than, are they going to be impressed with me? Will I disappoint them? It’s a powerful switch.
I gave myself a deadline to post this by today, the 6 month anniversary of my brush with death. Not to have the ‘case solved’, but to be okay with it being left open. To really be vulnerable and be human and share the journey. This shit has sucked. It’s okay that I still occasionally freak the fuck out and don’t know what I’m doing. I might be doing that even without this traumatic phase. I’m still a worthy and worthwhile person. My path is perfect and the solid knowing that everything will be revealed to me in the perfect timing is what I go back to over and over to find my peace within.
This blog is pretty chaotic, but I’m tired of wanting it to be perfect. I just want to share it because it feels good for me to share. I’ve explained as best I can without writing an entire book, or editing it to death. It certainly lacks the depth and width of what only the two of us experienced, possibly entirely different from his view. This is my side of the story, and lord knows I’d be the first to sign up to hear his take on these last 9 months. My intention was to shine a light on what can happen when we bottle up our issues instead of addressing them. Not to bash him. Did I succeed? I do love him, forever.
Do I wish it would have gone down differently? Certainly. Do I wish he would have been able to share what was scaring him? Asked me for what he needed? Even if it was space and ultimately over as it is now? Absolutely.
Do I blame it all on him? No. I want to sometimes, but I can’t. We both went thru hell, but in all honestly, how awesome that it was preceded by 3 months of heaven?
Do I wish he would give me something I could have improved upon? Certainly. He was adamant that he loved me and I did nothing wrong. While I suppose I should love that, it drives me crazy. I don’t believe it. Can I? Still working on that. Self-love will conquer all.
Recently, when I was participating in a forgiveness process, I went back through and read all of our stories and looked at our photos and videos. It was enlightening. In one long recording from mid January, we were giddy talking about an idea of an altruistic business. We’d been talking about plans going forward, when he interjects and says:
“I’m not afraid to love you. It feels super good.”
When I heard that, I replayed it over and over and I let my anger melt. The wording… it was significant. Did that fear take over him? Maybe.
“Sometimes people walk away from love because it is so beautiful that it terrifies them. Sometimes they leave because the connection shines a bright light on their dark places and they are not ready to work them through. Sometimes they run away because they are not developmentally prepared to merge with another- they have more individuation work to do first. Sometimes they take off because love is not a priority in their lives- they have another path and purpose to walk first. Sometimes they end it because they prefer a relationship that is more practical than conscious, one that does not threaten the ways that they organize reality. Because so many of us carry shame, we have a tendency to personalize love's leavings, triggered by the rejection and feelings of abandonment. But this is not always true. Sometimes it has nothing to do with us. Sometimes the one who leaves is just not ready to hold it safe. Sometimes they know something we don't- they know their limits at that moment in time. Real love is no easy path- readiness is everything. May we grieve loss without personalizing it. May we learn to love ourselves in the absence of the lover.” - Jeff Brown
My love was real. Was his? Yes, I know it was. But even if it wasn’t, would it matter? I love love. Would I want to go back and take it slower? No way. Would I want to go back and not meet him? Not jump in? Save myself the sadness? Not a chance. It was a slice of heaven, and I wish only goodness for him, and that he find what he seeks.
It was beautiful. It still is. You can’t reach the roots with out digging deep in the dirt. Every love I’ve had has been a great teacher, and each and every time better and better, taking me deeper and deeper into myself. I’ll go thru agony time and time again if it can be wrapped in such joy to bring me toward more light. Love opens doors that I don’t think anything else can even remotely approach.
Love is an inspiring, invigorating, juicy madness. I pick love to learn my life lessons any day. Bring on the heartache :)
“Imagine the next step, where we don’t see relationship endings as defeats, but as victories and necessary openings—lessons on the path to wholeness. Imagine the next step, where we honor the courage it took to open to the possibility of love, where we see intimacy as a wondrous opportunity to deepen in cosmic stature. How can any failed relationship ever be a complete defeat? It took such courage to brave it all, to make love with the divine, to touch God through our vulnerable heart. This is not to say that we don’t grieve loss; it is only to remind us of the opportunity that lives at the heart of every farewell. A little scar tissue can go a long way on the path to presence.” -Jeff Brown