I know I’ve used this before, but I couldn’t resist. It’s perfect. For today and everyday. No photoshopping – just a big heart in the sky right over Bolinas. How’s that for a sign on a magical night?
We really are a resilient bunch, are we not? With broken hearts we wonder when we’ll love again. With mended hearts we seek love. With happy hearts we are in love. Then, with broken hearts we wonder when we’ll love again. Unless you’re in the camp that says, We’re never loving again! All while discussing if one can heal enough to love again.
Love seems to be our raison d’être. I believe it is. But not in the way I expected.
This much we know for sure: Relationships implode often, not as often as a batter failing to get on base but close. If we folded in those that should implode but don’t because of inertia we may have a tie. I am a late bloomer, but I balance that out by not making the same mistake twice. Unless it involves leaving my purse somewhere or re-engaging with my former spouse when it’s become clear that the outcome is more of the same. It’s my fault, I’m defensive, I need to get a legitimate job. I am done engaging. I wish I could say the same thing about leaving my purse behind.
But as for love, I’ll never fall into it the same way again.
In the first year post Pocket Call I thought I was fit to be in a relationship. When Mr. Jackpot came on the scene I marveled at my fortune; thrown to the curb by my spouse and rescued by a great guy. Gosh, this whole divorce thing is pretty exciting!
Not. At all.
I recall telling my Mom, I’m not applying a time frame to the healing process. I’m going to plow ahead and when and if I ever meet a man that captures my interest I will explore. Nothing wrong with exploration, right? This whole idea of not dating until 1 year has elapsed from the time one’s divorce is final is a little ridiculous. J-Lo, Madonna and Kim Kardashian can’t be wrong, right? I mean, J-Lo and Madonna can’t be wrong, right? Okay. Madonna has to be right, right?
We have the freedom to pursue love at any time. With anyone. But as Razzle loves to say, Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
That deserves repeating: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
The Magician and I talked relationships in the broad sense at the Coast Cafe after our day on the sands at Limantour. On one level it was simply where the conversation went between two single adults who find the topic interesting. On the other level his soul was sending a message to him and to me (I could see it in the eyes – pay attention to the eyes!): Please don’t blow off the lessons we just laid out for you after your relationship came to an end. Take the time to incorporate them and you’ll find it was worth the wait. If you don’t, expect the same result. But please, do. Because we’re getting bored.
He understands the need to not leap into love again too soon. That the process of falling in love with yourself takes precedence. That relationships are used far too often as distractions, band aids, a failed remedy for a lack of self-love. It’s our go-to. The attention of another will make it all better. Yea, no.
The attention of another will continue to highlight all that needs attention within ourselves until we have tended to our needs and healed our own wounds. It took this blog to get me to accept and then embrace, and ultimately celebrate that concept. But it’s a hard lesson to learn. We are conditioned to get love, to seek a mate, to feel butterflies. To get married, make babies. The first home we purchase goes through more inspections than the spouse we choose to marry. And what good is an inspection if the Ego is shape shifting to make sure it wins at all costs?
Falling in love with another is a process fraught with pitfalls, the likelihood of everlasting love about as likely as summiting Mt. Everest. Literally.
But don’t despair. I’ve found the kryptonite for heartbreak. It also happens to be a love potion.
Somehow, amidst the complete chaos and emotional upheaval that flooded my world when I learned of my former spouse’s double life, I heard the message that the single most important thing I needed to do at that moment was to fall in love with myself. I had just moved across the country and knew no one, basically. So maybe that’s why, on the night of the Pocket Call, I knew that I had to be in the best emotional and psychological health of my life in order to remain sound (alive and without a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one hand and a bottle of tequila in the other) and to be there for The Dudes. I knew that minute-to-minute I had only myself to rely upon. I knew that night that we were in it together. And that she wasn’t ever going to let me down. In those early days of mayhem I looked into the mirror and into the eyes of my one true love. Me. It turned out to be the best realization I’ve ever had. Not because it helped me to weather the intensity of discovering his affair and the process of our divorce, but because it helped me to celebrate life in spite of his infidelity and our divorce.
I saw her that night; I remember my eyes looked different, and I didn’t feel alone. But it took months to really fall in love with myself. In all my life I’ve never had a more potent love affair.
Love, as a result, has bloomed like algae. (I can’t get too sappy!) I find I’m getting it everywhere. From Nature. From people – strangers, fresh acquaintances, friends, family. From time. Space. From little events that could go all wrong but go all right. From the signs that are everywhere to guide me. Everywhere.
It seems that by loving myself I’ve made myself more lovable.
Loving yourself leads to making other really good choices. Like choosing to let the spirit of a past love fully leave your cells so that you don’t pour their spirit right into the body of another, an image painted for me by The Magician. Or choosing to not engage in demonizing those that have betrayed you, no matter how good it feels in the moment, because negative thoughts are negative thoughts. Even if they are thrown as arrows at the one who broke your heart, the arrows will leave wounds on your hands, making it hard to hold anyone’s heart, even your own. Loving yourself is the first step to creating boundaries that you can support. Boundaries that will not box you in out of fear but free you up to explore a new frontier. Loving yourself helps you feel what you need, not think it. Loving yourself makes making good (but hard) choices so much easier.
Loving yourself makes others feel at ease around you. This creates never-ending opportunities for magical encounters. Encounters that replace anxiety and angst with wonder and curiosity. Encounters that inspire and rejuvenate instead of being exhausting or leaving you depleted. Encounters that don’t have required steps but just flow. Encounters that lead you so perfectly along your journey you may believe it’s all by design. And it is. You create perfection when you are full of love. Loving yourself takes power away from your Ego and transforms it into unconditional love. For all mankind.
Speaking of men. Lovely, wonderful, delicious, men.
Without question, I cannot truly and deeply love a man unless I love myself. If I don’t love myself and believe I am in love with a man (or woman, or alien), I am pretending. Pretending is exhausting. I’d argue the most exhausting thing to do. If I don’t love myself but think I love a man and then find out that he doesn’t love me, I will spend the time between him and my next victim trying to find out what is wrong with me instead of loving myself, thereby making myself less lovable. And whipping up a firestorm of angst and pity and brokenness within me. Can you feel the exhaustion?
All of this vanishes when you love yourself first.
You know that rhyme – First comes love, then comes marriage…?
It should be rewritten: First comes self-love, then comes true love, then comes a long series of conversation about vulnerability and loyalty and values and unconditional love for the world, and if you exhaust all these most important topics and more, then comes some form of everlasting love.
On this day when the world thinks a little bit more about love, my wish is for you to find everlasting love within yourself. You don’t have to look hard, or wear the right outfit or paint your nails or botox your mouth. You are lovable as you are, as long as you love yourself first.
Happy Valentine’s Day,