I have been blessed by many loves. I’ve heard that we get Three Great Loves; I have had Seven. Not seven lovers (that number is my special secret) – no, seven True, Real, Capital-L, Loves.
“Yoga for Closure,” my workshop on letting go of past relationships, is quickly approaching. In preparing for it, as in preparing for any mentoring, inspirational, or leadership role, I turn inward and dig deep. What in my experience and at the level of my soul do I have to offer?
I have had the opportunity to let go of many relationships – romantic and otherwise. Having been blessed with many Loves, I have some wisdom and experience to offer in terms of moving on and letting go. I’ve said goodbye six times, and fallen in love seven.
If I were to write a relationship resume, it might look something like this.
My first love. The summer my mom died, when I was a just-blooming girl, he taught me . . . almost everything. I longed for him, long after ending it. We lived a thousand miles apart; he was a beautiful soul living in a hard world. High school drop-out. Musician. Tattooed, insightful, probing.
My mistake? Taking away his choice in the matter – ending it to “spare us the pain.”
What I learned: Age doesn’t determine capacity.
My second first love; my first live-in love. Huge brown eyes, the ability to see into my soul, and the potential to create a new world. A heart-stopping love; a heart-breaking love, born of mutually-recognized pain, baptized in tortured mistakes. He inspired my words and haunted my dreams for a very, very long time.
“Tornadic, | And with the violence of Pompeii | And Katrina’s sneaking, sudden horror | The two fate-tossed, star-crossed, completely lost | Forever victimized, had-each-other-so-hypnotized | Lovers’ dance of destruction | Was difficult to watch.”
My mistakes (too many to count)? Cheating on him. On-again & off-again –ing for far too long. Drowning my pain in substances. Falling in love with his potential; ignoring our reality.
What I learned: Love alone is not enough to make it work. Also, step back and look at people for who they are, rather than who I think they could be.
The one with whom I cheated. We were each other’s medicine, and self-medicated as lustily as we loved. Completely broken, shattered people, we were – and our relationship was equally so. Addicted – to each other, to substances, to pain. When I sought to be healthy and whole, he couldn’t.
My mistakes? Codependency. Self-destructive behavior. Enabling him. Blaming him. Alienating myself from my support system.
What I learned: A relationship is only as healthy, happy, and whole as its members. I can’t fix anyone else; I can only change myself.
We were matches: a perfect fit – we looked great together; and, we lit each other’s fire – like throwing a match into a pile of fuel-soaked wood. We had a lot of fun, and there were times I thought he was everything I wanted; I know he thought I was his One. But we were explosive, and troubled, and in the end I realized I couldn’t trust what we’d built or where we’d go. I became someone else with him, and it took me a long time to find my way back.
My mistake? Ignoring my intuition; letting it go on for too long, even after I knew in my heart it was over.
What I learned: Just because he is a great guy doesn’t mean he is great for me. Staying with the wrong person makes the pain far worse when it inevitably ends.
A strange, inexplicable feeling of recognition and magnetism – like we knew each other in a past life and were meant to be together. Except – he was married. Unable to ignore pull of gravity, we orbited as closely and deeply as we dared. Then, with gratitude and the ability to see beyond ourselves, beyond this one life, we closed the door.
My mistake? This one is complicated. I don’t regret anything, even though it was in a major moral black area. One should not romantically engage with a monogamously married person; however, one must also act upon one’s passion when it comes to call.
What I learned: Past lives are real, and relationships often overlap between them. Be grateful for the love that I’ve been fortunate enough to experience, and brave enough to let it go when it’s time to say goodbye.
Expect passion; settle for nothing less than extraordinary love.
On an island far, far away, he stepped off of a boat and into my life. We shared a dreamlike time together, and it filled and healed my heart. Pure joy, bliss, magic – suddenly, I could see myself drifting through the world living each moment in all of its delicious, precious, stunning simplicity. The words bursting from my heart stayed behind tightly-closed lips; and, afraid of holding his wings too tightly, I let him fly away with open hands. And then I mourned.
My mistake? Not telling him how I felt – not asking him to stay. Never telling him how sorely I missed him.
What I learned: Broken hearts heal. Seek to be joyful, and do not hold too tightly to love. Like a boomerang, love that is meant to be will always come back around.
My Perfect (for me) Person! A man whose soul meets mine wherever we are – in each moment. Unharnessed power, intelligence, moral fortitude. Loyalty, strength, humor, and creativity – he inspires me to be better, as I do for him. I’ve finally grown roots, found my forever-family, and settled into myself, anchored to this man. From marriage to raising a family, shared ventures and crazy travels, and a commitment to stumbling through the dark – holding hands when we can’t see – we choose. Again and again, we choose each other.
My mistakes: Placing my happiness in his hands, expecting him to do things the way I do them, and worrying about him.
What I learned: Lasting love is a choice
. . . inspired by mutual affinity, passion, and a shared desire to delight in the journey of another human’s being. Marriage is hard work, and honest communication is the glue that holds it together.
There we have it. Seven Loves. I’ve learned and done so much more than I could put into a single post – even one of eleven-hundred words (thanks for sticking with it!).
To any of the Seven who have read this, may you see how much you mean to me. Current tense. Because once you’re in my heart, you are there to stay. Thank you for giving me a full life, for teaching me about myself, and for sharing your heartspace with me. May you find your Perfect (for you) Person, too, if you haven’t already, and may your future be filled with as much joy as you gave to me!