Some people you are going to love forever. Maybe it’s all people, I don’t know I’m not very experienced. I just know that the men I’ve loved still live in my heart every day whether I acknowledge them or not.
I just awoke from a dream. It was a dream of my first husband, sobbing, desperate, needing to cut me out. And the pain he was feeling was that near death, eat you alive pain I too felt when I left, and still know at times like this, even 10 years on. You see I never stopped loving him. He was a good man. The best you could ask for. And me leaving meant nothing about him, yet of course he must have believed it did. If you love another human as wholeheartedly and purely as he did, and then she left, of course you are going to draw conclusions and surmise it’s about you. Well the whole truth is, it wasn’t about him. To this day I don’t really understand why I left. I could say it’s so I could have Pearl and Freya and give to the world the way I do, but that’s me telling stories. The best understanding I can grasp is that it was an act of fierce grace. One of those unexplainable inner urgings that are so strong you don’t really get a choice. They burn you up from the inside, and following their whims is your only option. It was like I was on auto pilot. And I knew I was destroying my life, yet I had to follow through. The only blessing at the time was I was so ignorant I felt like I was doing him a favour. I believed that me leaving was his best chance at a peaceful life. A life where he could live out his contented hearts wishes, simply, everyday. Maybe that same wildness that drives people to suicide also drove me to leave, I don’t know to this day. It never made sense. It was the only way I knew how to give him the freedom he deserved. And it broke me open so deeply that the ravines of those wounds still surface today.
People don’t talk about these kinds of things. Or at least the people I know don’t. I kind of got passed this neat little basket of what love is and isn’t from society – culture – the world. It was the kind of package that says you love one person, and should you ever break up, they collect all their belongings and move completely out of your heart. And then you both move on and find new people to take up lodgings. And this didn’t happen. 10 years on, I’ve been separated from him a little longer than we were together, and when I think of his heart and my love for him my eyes leak just the same as they did all those years ago. This man was a good man, a man of integrity and honesty and kindness. Even to this very moment his wisdom continues to mould and shape my life, his love keeps on giving, whether he knows it or not. I learnt to serve my children by reflecting on the unending patience and love he offered me. He is the human who taught me not everyone is ready for the whole truth and “sometimes you have to feed people sandwiches, not a whole smorgasbord”. This man was different to all the others I had ever met, and the very moment I saw him I remember thinking “one day I want to marry a man like that”. The thing is, I was scared of myself. Gee I was scared of the world, and I’d not learnt to sit in my fear the way he had. I couldn’t even see that he had those gifts. I’d come from a long line of women whose deepest safety resource was to run or in the least shut down, so unconsciously, that’s what I did. It wasn’t a choice, it was a thundering force within my basic makeup that left me with no other option. In no way do I hold those women responsible for my choices, no doubt that same knowledge was passed to them from their great grandmothers and they too felt choiceless. It was instinctual. That force propelled me into some of the darkest chapters of my life by wrapping itself in cheap gift wrap with the words adventure sprawled all over. And adventure hides brokenness, at least for a while. But God when that son of a gun brokenness comes raining down on you, you best be prepared to lay down and take the dues owed to you. And for an unknown amount of future chapters you shall know the richness of its ways. I spent almost 3 years laying on various kitchen floors, in numerous parts of the world, sobbing, begging the earth to swallow me, all the while questioning my sanity. I was self consumed with shame and guilt and remorse and grief. Deep deep grief. A grief that shaved my bones continually because for some unknown reason I’d given up everything I’d ever dreamed of. All because of something inside me pushing me to action. A restlessness that never let me rest, even when I was happy. If anyone read this they could say it was depression or mental illness, maybe it was both? Although the ache was so deep it felt like it came from the belly of the earth so maybe it was something more than that? Who knows. What is known is that the ache propelled me to choices that impacted the lives of many people I love deeply, to this day. And the effects of my choices are my responsibility to carry, until I take my last breath. And for what it’s worth, I plan to hold each of those people with unending honour until that moment comes…
So getting back to love, and for simplicities sake, let’s stick with romantic love for now. You know the girlfriend and boyfriend type. The best way I can explain what it is like for me is this. My heart is kind of like a big house, filled with rooms. And as I love, more rooms get added. They all have different sizes and contents and decorations. Some are tiny, like the ‘Marty Wright’ room, the boy I loved when I was four because he snuck me chewing gum, he was my hero. There are even rooms for the people I love that I didn’t actually ever get to meet. I for sure had a ‘Ben Harper’ room, a’Johnny Depp’ room (how many houses has he lived in?) ‘some guy off tv’ who had blonde hair and blue eyes room (his poster was on my bedroom wall for years whose name escapes me now), ‘that guy’ I had a crush on in highschool who at the time I would have given my left kidney to speak to that I’m now glad I never dated… The list really does go on…. But the thing is, they all still live in my heart. They have each moulded and shaped me and grown me into who I am today. I know for some it’s a shuddering thought, an ‘oh my god I’m not even willing to entertain that idea for half a breath longer that I might have (…insert…) lodging in my heart’ , but stay with me here. The thing is, you don’t have to decide what you think right now, just be curious a while longer….
So as we love new people, rooms keep being added, maybe no one ever moves out, our hearts capacity to love simply has to grow bigger as we move more people in. And this is where our current society/cultural views confuse things. This modern disposable world likes to believe you can throw out old loves like you do your outdated iPhone. It’s done. Something better comes along, trade it in. And I’m not for a moment saying don’t trade something in for another version, I’m simply inviting you to consider maybe it’s possible that your heart keeps track of those past versions of love (old lovers) even when your mind does not, and that these past lovers have a much greater impact on our current life than we may dare to entertain. Let me give you an example. I was at a weekend workshop recently where we each had the opportunity to witness or take part in a wedding ceremony. It was not the average ceremony yet it felt more accurate than any I had seen. In this instance it was a bride and groom ( it would be equally as relevant with two brides or two grooms or any other make up) and they stood facing each other. Other people were then called to step into the circle and represent various people and line up behind the bride and groom. Firstly people were called to represent their parents/ stepparents, then representatives were called for their siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, all finally all their past lovers….. And they all stood behind the bride and groom, so you had quite a lot of people facing each other. All of a sudden, a simple two person marriage ceremony got a lot more complex. And taking that person in marriage actually meant taking on a whole lot more than we may have acknowledged. Maybe we are a sum of all our ancestors who have come before us, all who have sacrificed for us and loved us and all those we have loved. And if you are serious about loving with your whole heart, inviting yourself to a curiosity about such things may be an interesting place to begin. I myself didn’t know such things at 21 when I married the first great love of my life. I was unconsciously ignorant to my past and bound by things I would not begin to see or understand for many years to come. The only thing I did know, and still do, is that I love that man, that he is everything good and whole and real in this world, and the room he has in my heart is as clean and shiny today as it was that first day I glanced him across the dance floor at debut practice. And I’m forever thankful he lives there, even when my tender heart leaks out my eyes and I miss him. You know my children know this man, not in real life as circumstances have prevented me from seeing him for many years, but they know him in the stories of love and joy and sadness that I share with them. That’s my gift to them, to know the truth of loving so fully it keeps breaking your idea of love open again and again. Maybe as they grow and love and build rooms for people in their hearts, they won’t have to carry the shame of still loving those people, even after they have left their lives. Just because it’s not yet common place in the world to be taught ‘of course you can still love them’, ‘No, it doesn’t take away from your current love’, I’m determined to have that be on offer as an understanding for my children. To my way of living love doesn’t exist to invoke shame or regret, but rather exists to grow our hearts unendingly until our last breath, and maybe even more after that. I want my girls to know the richness of love and for them to have the courage to explore the possibility that each experience of loving will live in them forever, in some way, whether or not they remember or acknowledge it.
From where I’m sitting the world is desperate for more love and regardless of our budget I’m certain we can all afford to splash that stuff around lavishly everywhere. It’s not going to hurt, or maybe it will, either way it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
And who knows, if we hold each other precious and sacred and acknowledge the whole sum of who we are, maybe we would realise we are not so different after all? Maybe our inner wars would cease and the world may look different?
Now as a disclaimer, my heart has not known simple. Not ever. It’s a richly woven tapestry of complexities that are apparent even from my earliest memories. So please feel no obligation to see the world as I do. God forbid that would ever happen. This is simply a raw uncensored sharing from my deepest heart. That’s what I do. So please be gentle with me, for all my courage I’m still a fragile human being. Kindness is important, sharing is scary, yet my vulnerability is the light that guides my way.
(These words are shared with the deepest gratitude and acknowledgement to my incredible husband Rob who supports me to be raw and real and unleash these uncensored sharings on the world. It is my infinite blessing to have married a man who holds precious the many roads my heart travelled to find my way to his. These well trodden roads are the reason that we share the love we do today. And it’s true that he too has many past lovers living in his heart, all of whom offered him gifts and beauty and polishing. I’m off to meet another of them later in the month. Their past loving kindness form part of the divine I treasure in him today. Bless you and thank you Roberto xoxo)