Since my breakup, my heart feels like it lives directly under the thinnest layer of skin, overly sensitive to every thought, loud sound or even touch. Some days I go to bed feeling this way, and I wake up feeling this way only to repeat the cycle again. I have come to realize that “this way” I am feeling is vulnerable. I feel wide open, the way that we strive to be in love and relationships, but I am not in the happy phase where being wide open and vulnerable means feeling more love and getting greater intimacy. I am in a different phase where being open and vulnerable means, “this hurts like hell.”
However painful, I think it is better to be vulnerable than the only alternative I can come up with, which is to close up, protect myself from feeling anything, to be mad at him so I can mask this feeling, to give up on love, to pack up everything I own and try to run back to him. Yes, I think feeling this way is definitely better than that. Vulnerable is not a feeling I am accustomed to, not because I am insensitive, but because when I have the chance to feel vulnerable I usually choose to just be “strong” instead. The irony is that being in this relationship is what showed me how to be vulnerable, and it was not an easy process.
I broke through barriers that had taken me years, possibly even lifetimes, to put up, and I worked hard to see those barriers crumble. I cried, I spoke my truth, I forgave, I asked forgiveness, I listened… I did the harder things that love asks of us. I may have to deal with the loss of a love, but how can I hold onto the growth and great opening this love has brought into my life? How can I be strong enough to be vulnerable and really feel this pain so I can truly move through it?
When pain comes into our lives we can either try to ignore it, which usually allows us to push it into our subconscious and eventually affect us on a deeper level than we realize; we can bask in it, which often leads to depression; or we can trust that our struggle is a side effect of deep rooted patterns that we finally have the ability to let go of. I know for a fact that I definitely have some patterns I would LOVE to get rid of, but how do I get from here to feeling empowered?
When I was born, my parents turned to their Guru for my name. She named me Durga, a figure from Hindu traditions, and I have always felt like this name was meant to tell me something about my path. Who is Mother Durga, in a nutshell? Durga is a fierce warrior Goddess who cuts through negativity with compassion. She has six arms, in which she carriers many weapons, including a chakra-balancing disk, reminding us that many of our battles are with our own energy, or inner demons. Ancient stories tell us that there was once a demon that wanted to take over the heavens. This demon, named Mahish, had been granted a very special gift: the ability to live through any attack by the male Gods. Mahish represents our own negative energies that often threaten our “heavens,” or happiness. She easily took down Mahish, swiftly cutting off his head, and returned balance to the heavens.
Durga was not created in a time of peace; she was created when she was needed, when the old way of doing things wasn’t working. When we go through a breakup or any kind of deep transition, we are faced with the fact that something we put our blood, sweat and tears into isn’t working. We have just grown out of the old way of doing things, or perhaps it never worked to begin with, so there is this empty feeling. There is suddenly a void, a space in our lives that needs to be filled – but we can’t fill it just yet. First we must mourn for our loss.
As I can say from experience, this part sucks! As we mourn the loss of something that used to mean everything to us, we are finally allowed (or even forced) to really look at it. The truth is, if it didn’t work out, there is something to look at – and if we want to grow or change, we will actually have to look at it, and it will probably be painful. As I go through this process, I am realizing that all the things I did to make my relationship work, I now have to do for myself in order to make my relationship with myself work. I have to be honest with myself about why things ended up this way, I have to listen to my truth even when it’s “ugly”, I have to forgive myself for not being perfect… but it’s not all bad; this is what it means to grow up.
As we begin to see why and how things started to unravel and how we ended up a total mess, we are finally able to grow. In the grand scheme of things, when we finally put as much effort into the relationship we have with ourselves as we do with other people, we are finally able to stop searching for something outside of ourselves. We are finally able to see ourselves as powerful, interesting, dynamic beings. We are finally able to find peace – a kind of peace we glimpse in Shivasana after an amazing yoga class, a kind of peace that doesn’t change with the wind. This kind of peace, the kind we get from an inner knowing, is to me our connection to a higher power. Somehow knowing this is empowering, and I feel vulnerable and strong at the time because I know that this also serves a purpose. I know that next time I am ready for love I will understand my needs and wants better, and I will know myself enough to give myself what I want and avoid falling into the same patterns I was in before this relationship. So maybe this hurts like hell, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing; because like the creation of Mother Durga, amazing things are manifested when we face our demons in new creative ways, and that is true no matter who we are.
Love & Gratitude
Check out this related post: 5 Tips For Surviving a Break Up Like a Modern Day Yogi.
Check out Durgaya’s favorite post: Hanuman Asana