We are turned to ash.
We are rich with the putrification of what we once were.
And the shadow rains down upon us
We suffer all but death in the hell of our own fears
My fear is not death. My fear is absence.
The future will reveal that adults do far more damage to children by what they don’t do than by the things they do. Many of us wander the world, wondering what happened to us to make us the way we are. We can see no outstanding proof for why we suffer the way we do. This is because the reason we suffer the way we do is not in the memories we have. It is in the memories that we don’t have. It is in the white space. The name of this white space is absence. It is not the presence of beatings that tortures us as children, as much as it is the absence of hugs. It is not the presence of food and water and shelter that impacts us the most, as much as it is the absence of intimacy, consistency, belonging and understanding.
Since I was a child, I have been tormented by absence and like any fear; it has followed me like a shadow wherever I go. I have made most of my decisions in life to try and escape the absence… only to find myself facing even more absence than before. It has found me again this month and I have found it. Only this time, I have let myself fall into the absence. I have faced the pain at its root, the deepest roots yet. I have dared it to kill me and it has killed me. A layer of my ego has died. This dark night of the soul that I have been in has been the worst one I have ever entered. I have had to shoulder current pain and past pain that has accumulated for thirty years. Like most people who enter into a dark night of the soul, I was convinced I had lost everything. “This is where it ends” I thought. Some kinds of emotional pain are bad enough that even living through it is unthinkable. The devastation is great enough that it seems like there is no rebuilding to be done… only loss.
Relationships are the meat of our expansion here on earth. They are the shadow as well as the light. Our greatest joys and our greatest pains spring forth from them. You did not come to this earth to play it safe. You did not come to this earth to make relationship decisions based on how other people or society think a relationship should look or should go. With every relationship, you are amending your desires, altering your perspective and changing your mind. This is the beauty of it. You cannot enter any relationship without becoming more of who you really are. And so, it is never a mistake to take risks in the name of love, even if there is pain involved. You did not come to this life to avoid pain. Most people approach relationships with the attitude that a partner should be chosen specifically so one can minimize the risk of pain. This is a very different than to say that a partner should be chosen specifically so that one can maximize the potential of joy.
Sometimes, the things you thought you wanted, or thought you would be ok with, change as time goes on. Relationships always shine a light on what it is that you truly want and truly don’t want. And in the presence of that clarity, decisions must be made. I have spoken often about the fact that you cannot un-want something that you want. And you cannot force yourself to want what you do not want. And if two people find themselves in a position where their desires (and therefore their expansion) takes them in different directions, they try to find ways to accommodate each other’s wants and needs so that they may evolve and expand together. And if that cannot happen, the law of attraction will pull them apart.
This has been the cause of the absence in my own life lately. This has been the ‘cause’ of this recent dark night of the soul. After considerable attempts to expand in the same direction together, expansion has called my husband and I in different directions. And we have separated. He returned home only a few weeks ago. Regardless of universal perspective, which does not recognize loss, it has been nothing short of a devastation.
As you all know, my husband values privacy immensely. And so, out of respect for him, this entry will not contain every detail of why this separation has occurred. But because it is important to me that those of you who were personally impacted by the beauty of the story of us and how we came together and the potential of how we could have ended up, I will tell you what he has agreed to make public.
As many of you already know, when it came to the topic of openness vs. privacy, my husband and myself held conflicting values and we both held them very dear. A while back, I publicly said that if two people absolutely can’t agree on something that is wanted, it will pull them in opposite directions and if it is a core value, they will break up. This is ultimately what has happened. My life is public. This is the bottom line with fame. No matter how private I became about my personal life, my life is still in the public eye. And for someone who genuinely does not want a life in the public eye, being with someone who is famous, is a constant source of grievance. But there is another dimension. I have not decided to be private with my private life. I have decided to lead an authenticity movement. And I have as much conviction about this decision as any revolutionary does to the ideal that they espouse. This openness or shall I say transparency that I have dedicated my life to, is not just a lifestyle choice for me. It is a purpose. And so, it became a source of continual conflict between he and I; one that eventually caused us to question our future together. Part of the openness that is my life, is intentional community. To a person like myself, who thrives in an atmosphere of openness, intentional community is everything. It is even a big part of my purpose here on earth. My greatest source of happiness, is my intentional community. To a person like my husband, who values privacy, intentional community is a constant source of displeasure. Sometimes, a person must try out a way of living to decide that it is not for them.
He and I also had conflicting attachment styles, which for a partnership guarantees that for one person to feel good, the other must feel threatened. This conflict between values and attachment styles was large enough to create enough contrast in the relationship that despite attempts to make it work; both he and I gave rise to desires large enough that the universe has pulled us in opposite directions. We were no longer a vibrational match to each other. And the trouble is, when the universe pulls you away from something in order to bring you to something else you want, there is this in-between space, this purgatory where you are neither here nor there. It feels very much like a ship wreck. With no land in sight, you are in the frigid and tumultuous waters, sort of gasping for air and feeling the loss of the ship that sank out from underneath you to your core. The universe will remind you to keep expecting land and keep focused on the idea of land and land will eventually appear. But when you are in the midst of the transition between a loss and a gain, keeping focused on land is the hardest thing in the world to do. Sometimes it is hard enough that you sink beneath the water’s surface and you drown. But when you drown emotionally, you end up sinking through the bottom of the ocean so to speak and somehow, you are delivered to land. But to do so, you must endure a death.
My husband and I will remain friends. We have parted with broken hearts but as comrades with the intention of staying as such for life. No one can ultimately know where this life will lead us both. No one can ultimately know how the picture of this relationship will look to us both in hindsight. What is known is that infinite possibilities lie ahead of us, for our individual lives and also for the connection between us. We are both in the back seat of our lives for a time, allowing ourselves to be led in the direction of each of our individual highest goods. The universe celebrates relationships that cause us to consciously grow with as much fervor as it celebrates relationships that offer consistent sanctuary. As is obvious by the synchronicities that grace both kinds of union. And it is my hope that what feels like tragedy today, will one day feel like a blessing for us both… And all of us. For now, it is ok to feel grief. I have learned the very most about grief in the times I have spent in hospitals, watching people lose each other. For this reason, I’m going to end this blog with something I wrote while I was visiting one. Let us see that we are capable of holding contradictory states… of loss and of promise. Let us see that tragedy always opens a window when it closes the door on something that you loved.
What did we possess yesterday?
What will we lose today?
When the world is shattered like a window,
no glass remains between you and the sunflower which was always there.
No illusions, no barriers.
Just the opportunity to turn towards it.
For in the smallest of things, therein lies the greatest of things.
There is a grace to be found in those moments.
A grace that is lost to us when we are in the midst of grief
instead of outside looking in.
When the shock and denial and groundlessness that is grief,
makes the world around us stand still.
The stopping point before life flows down a completely different road.
If we resist the current of where life is now taking us,
if we try to change what we can not change because it has already been written in time,
We are drowning
We are shutting life out.
Just as we shut out the sunflower with the glass of our lives.
It is only when we let go and surrender to the current,
that we have a chance of taking in air.
Today, in these astringent halls above the city,
These windows keep grief in and hold life out.
With a kind of cold devotion, the machines that keep lungs breathing in and out,
tell of our inability to see death clear enough to not fear it or resist it.
Despair is in the minds and movements of people, holding each others grief tightly…
Trying to survive the unknown together.
Every trivial thing erased by the emptiness of loss…
By the earthquake of a moment of change.
A moment ago, someone was here.
Now it is an empty room.
The bed re-made a new.
The machines no longer pushing air in and out are rolled away.
The silence of death lasts only hours before another story of grief comes to fill its place… For another family nearby.
But not for those the silence leaves behind. For them, the silence lasts forever.
And life does not go on.
Instead, what is lost to them, is their own lives as well.
They go along with the ones we love you see.
When the world is shattered by grief they leave us.
And we only learn to live again when we let go of their life and our life along with it.
And instead, go towards the sunflower…
That was always, always there.