“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
~ Anais Nin
* * *
We suppress it. Look for any possible means to avoid it. Some people choose drugs and alcohol, others throw themselves into love, while still others are addicted to chasing after it as a completely different type of escape.
I did everything I could to avoid feeling the pain of losing that relationship—threw myself into writing, created the entire illusion of a life, including temporary relationships that would dull it for a time. Sure, they were all very nice, and the life I’ve created is less of an illusion now, but the truth is I needed to feel the full unbridled emotions of loss in order to move forward.
We all need to mourn. For many, they never get the chance to say goodbye. The long slow transition from lovers to friends hadn’t allowed me the closure I needed to let go of the first to fully embrace the second. I do blame him for part of that. My repeated attempts to say, “This is the end of the romance we had” were met with opposition because in some ways he was never ready to let go either. But, and this may sound harsh, his selfishness in not allowing that final moment, that final kiss prolonged what should have been a faster transition.
There would have been pain either way, but at least there would have been closure too.
After lying in a puddle on the kitchen floor, trembling and sobbing, the white-hot stabbing pain in my chest became a dull ache. It’s not over completely, one day of mourning isn’t likely to bring finality to anything, but it’s a start—one that was a long time coming to bear.
Happiness and bliss are wonderful, and I’d like to say that we grow more from love than anything else, but we’re human. So I’m not going to lie to you. Pain, loss, grief, anxiety, fear—they’re all a part of the cycle of growth and life. We must dig deep to find the tools to deal with them, instead of burying everything in an endless cavern for fear we won’t survive. We’re stronger than that, and built to withstand the successions of death and growth that face us. It’s a fact of our existence that everything eventually ends.
We are then confronted with another fact—The Next Step.
Where do we go after challenging our demons? Up?
Do we wake to another sunrise, drag out of bed, and then fall down into slumber to start again? Yes… and no.
Well, after a bout of compression (down cycle) we then move into expansion… or at least we’re supposed to. Some people get caught in a Bi-polaresque growth/death scenario because they have yet to fully deal with the pain. It’s rapid and destructive and tends to pull people back repeatedly. As long as we’re imprisoned there, we’ll never reach the expansion (up cycle) part of the journey.
Now, I’m not saying that up cycles are all giggles and laughs, but what’s important is the emotional and spiritual growth that happens because of the new tools we learn. Better ways to tackle anxiety, facing a loss instead of hiding from it, accepting failure as a part learning a better way to do something, creating long-lasting relationships built on a basis of love and trust, living in a daily state of happiness because you’ve seen the darkest days and know that the sun will eventually rise. All of these build a foundation. In them, we find that life can be as remarkable or ordinary as we choose to make it.
Ordinary is fine. However, most people choose it not because they desire a generally calm state of being, but because they’re afraid of facing pain, loss, grief, anxiety, and fear. Hiding ourselves from the world won’t stop any of those things from finding us, and can actually contribute to extended compression cycles in which no growth occurs.
Remarkable takes less work than most people think, but requires greater risk—risk of heartache, of loss, of failure, of everything not turning out in a precisely calculated way. But some of the best things, the greatest blessings in my life happened by sheer accident. I didn’t seek them out, but was open enough to let them in when they appeared.
That’s the way the universe works, it’s random and beautiful and calculated and spontaneous all at the same time. We may not know what lies in wait around the next corner, but after facing the darkness and coming out alive… what do really have to fear and what can we gain by risking it all?