Permission to Write the Ending

Gaining closure. Easier said than done. Gaining closure from a relationship without the other person’s participation? Damn near impossible. Or so it seems. But this piece is intended to shed some light on how we, as sensitive beings with the sacred and painful gift of free will, can move towards closure without another person’s involvement.

Sound incomprehensible? Read on.

Now, first let me qualify “relationship.” By this I don’t just mean romantic partnerships. I mean any relationship had between human beings. Friendship, family, marriage, dating, work associations, childhood bonds, acquaintanceships, crushes, even toxic back-and-forth type connections. No matter how fleeting or lengthy an encounter was, ending relationships of any variety and duration can be tricky business.

I’ve written a lot here on this blog about relationships ending, moving on, making peace with endings. But what about the endings we didn’t plan for? We experience loss and the end of relationships for many different reasons. It’s not always a neat, mutual parting, tied with a bow. In fact, it rarely is.

What about when relationships end because of infidelity, rejection, sudden change of heart? What about death? Sometimes relationships end unexpectedly, irrevocably, and a conversation either isn’t offered or perhaps isn’t even physically possible. So what then? How do we process and move on?

Recently I’ve had two separate (and as polar opposite as can be, as far as breeds of partnerships go) relationships of different lengths and contexts, end. Actually, one has been over for quite some time, but I’m only now processing the ending of the friendship, and actually more through dreams and random thoughts than intentional thinking. The other ended abruptly and, heartbreakingly, On a physical level, it was a natural ending. On an emotional level, on a heart level, it was almost as if it ended without my consent.

I’ve reached out to one of these two people. Crickets. No response. Is there anything more frustrating in the world than one heart that yearns so deeply to thread together some semblance of completion to a ragged and jagged hemline, and another heart whose beating can’t even be heard from behind the wall that separates them? Than a friendship that spanned oceans and years and growing pains and celebrations, a friendship whose shooting star quickness constructed memories that now lie glossy in printed photo books but are fossils in real life? It’s strange. It’s haunting.

Even though I moved away from both of these relationships, I instigated the separation, even though I wouldn’t have written the endings the way they occurred (blast that pesky free will business), it really matters not. They ended. That’s the fact of the matter. And what am I left with?

EXACTLY WHAT I HAD WHEN I STARTED.

I am left with myself. My heart. My Spirit. My intellect. My yearning for human connection. The lessons I gained from these respective connections, tucked into the pockets of my soul, buttoned up beneath my heart and protected by its warm, pulsing beat.

So I guess the answer to how we find closure and peace around a situation whose ending we did assign our approval, all comes back to ourselves. Every relationship occurs as a learning opportunity. I believe everything is preordained. I believe we meet the people we meet, that we form friendships and fall in love and experience discord with certain people for very Divine reasons. I believe, as I’ve written before on “letting relationships end”, that not everything is meant to last forever. That sometimes we learn more from a six-week encounter than from a six-year encounter. Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes I think we learn more from a fiery, passionate, star-crossed love affair than we do a faultless romance that just cools down and tapers off. Not always, but sometimes. And man, do we have a lot to learn from the “sometimes’.”

My best answer to the question I myself posed at the start of this essay is this: all we ever have is ourselves. We have experiences with other human beings of the most amazing, glorious, wretched, wrecked, mind-blowing and heartbreaking sort so that we can better understand ourselves, our own hearts, and how to love more fiercely, fearlessly and furiously than we could have without them. When a relationship ends without our permission, it is a sacred reminder from the Universe to never hoard our love, to never mask our emotions and to never wait. It is a whisper from the cosmos to act now, to be authentic, to never play games. Someone can be taken from us or leave us at any point; someone can fall in love and then change their mind; someone can adore your friendship and then, simply, stop. We have control over our own thoughts, bodies, minds, actions and capacity to love. But that is all. We cannot control the world around us (no matter how often, and aggressively, we attempt to convince ourselves of the contrary) and the sooner we realize this, the more ownership we take over own lives.

So we cope. We offer ourselves what we’d offer the one we love most; solace, support, comfort. We can write a letter we’ll never send, fill it with words the other person will never read. We can weep and then laugh; we can spill the contents of our heart into a jar, bottle it up, and send it out to sea. We can let the beauty of our experience shatter us, we can really feel what it feels like to suffer a loss outside our control. We can empty ourselves of the confusion and pain and frustration by feeling it, by really being in it. Holding space for it, staying present with it, and letting it run through us – like the wild, threatening river that it is. That’s all we can do. Because life has a plan, and it doesn’t always match ours, but that doesn’t mean that anything that’s happened to us didn’t happen exactly as it was meant.

We can dream and think about and remember people we once knew all we want…we can attach whatever meaning to that longing sensation that we will, but it is always going to be our own projection. Which means we have the power to offer ourselves closure. Peace. Conclusion.

Everything we think and believe is a projection of our mind. Thus, our sweet, well-to-do hearts can rest in the power of the mind that thinks itself ruler. Because we can tune that station as we will. We can close the page, gently and with reverence, on a relationship whether or not it ended the way we “wanted” or “expected.” Because we have the insight, and the free will, to caption our own still shots. It doesn’t have to be “UNTIMELY ENDING.” Things that happen are always timely, no matter how difficult it may be to see in the moment. Someone not returning our calls or simply disappearing from our lives actually makes us way stronger than having all the answers. It provides us the opportunity to answer for ourselves, to write the ending for ourselves.

No matter the context, no matter the collateral, we master our own ships. We pen our own epics. We – every, single, time – have permission to write the ending.

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CLICK

As human beings we crave CONNECTION. We just want to CLICK. With people, places, ideas, experiences. We just want to relate. And we want it as often as possible.

When I realized this, it was a bit of a “well, duh” moment blended with “okay NOW everything makes sense.” I felt compelled to share. I felt compelled to tell you, yes you, to please not be so hard on yourself when you feel threatened by incompatibility (I’m talking to myself here, too). Don’t judge yourself when you’re triggered. It’s an organic response stemming from a place of Love. It’s not our differences, our perceived weaknesses or flaws, but our reaction to them that causes suffering.

The decision, often quite unconscious, to feel “less than,” is the chief causal factor associated to our suffering.

I’m always so intrigued by how these essays go for me, I must say. Sometimes I sit down and bang one out, soaring through the overhead sky of inspiration hanging on threads of notions and kicking my feet in the starry abyss. Other times, like in this case, I start an essay on April 3rd and return to it on April 18th. So much – and I mean so much – has transpired since I first sat down with this concept. This concept that I chewed on for an entire day before downloading it, here, on this blank canvas with a blinking cursor.

Since first resting my bottom on my electric blue exercise ball (because it turns out this is infinitely more fun than a desk chair – just ask my friends, they’ve seen the videos of me bouncing on it when the blinking cursor is giving me the fish eye and my inspiration well is parched and cracked as the bed of a drought), I have decided to pick up my life and place it on a parallel path. Moving. Jobs, house, counties. I made the decision and boom: the Universe conspired. Everything aligned. But that’s a different essay entirely…although it’s totally embedded the webbing of this theme: CONNECTION. Because that’s what’s making this farewell so bittersweet. The realization of how deeply I’ve connected to this community, these past 5 years. Sometimes it takes leaving something to see how profoundly affected one has been by it in the first place…

Which leads me back to my initial point. We just want connection. It’s what we seek naturally, inherently, like beacons radiating into the night. Warm, ultrasonic waves of searching. Magnetically seeking a likeminded fit. A click.

I have always felt threatened by other people’s differences. I have always craved sameness. The “click,” if you will. It has taken me 26 years to understand this about myself and I suspect I’ll spend the next 26 or more, if I’m so blessed, investigating why I’m like this. But I think my realization earlier this month really illuminated the foundation of this circumstance.

I just want to connect. WE JUST WANT TO CONNECT.

It’s not about jealousy, it’s not about envy, it’s not about disagreement or judgement or competition or comparison. These are all the weaker (and I’m talking ice cubes in your decaf drip, watered down whiskey weak) forms of something much greater. They appear in these feeble configurations to distract us from what’s really going on. The root of everything is love. The source of everything is LOVE. Whether we recognize it on a daily basis or not, that is truth. That is gospel.

But when our delicate human psyches get swept up in the tidal wave of sickly exterior shapes like jealousy and comparison and judgement of self and others, we lose all contact with that source. The sweet nectar from which ugliness can spring. Because, remember, there is no duality. Everything is a spectrum. Love rests easily on one end, rage burns furiously in the middle and hate hangs haphazardly from the far end (I’m reminded of a favorite song, The Ballad of Love and Hate, by the Avett Brothers…I’ll link it at the end of this essay if you care to give it a listen, heart poetry).

The transparency of the matter is that we can be so damn hard on ourselves for something that is simply in our nature (at least I know I can be, so I assume you can be, too). I have spent so many years unconsciously berating myself – which manifests usually as a deep ache in my belly, a nervousness in my limbs, a scattering of my thoughts – for not being able to just accept the differences of others. The extraordinary flood of satisfaction I have experienced when I’ve met people whose checklists line up with mine (yes, yes…it all matches up, check, check, check!) and then the fretful free fall of disappointment when one of us changes, or some difference is exposed, and I feel a gap wedged between us. My brow furrows, is the gap traversable? How do we CONNECT now that we’re not the same?

It’s so funny to write this out, to really begin to dissect the concept. I know most people don’t think like me (because, well, most people are not highly sensitive, Type-A, overanalyzing, introverted intuitives). So if you’re reading this thinking, “What’s wrong with this chick? We’re different, duh, what’s the problem?” then GOOD ON YA! That makes me bounce happily on my ball for you. Because you get it. You see through the veils of weaker interpretation. You see that the differences are all perceived. They’re masks. What’s underneath is love. What lies below is the universal pulse that inevitably connects every one of our sorry hearts: the quest.

The quest for love, connection, that “CLICK,” the energy of feeling totally understood and held and supported. If we could put on horse blinders and dull our senses and just SEE one another straight up, no fancy dressings, we would see the “soul and not the story,” as my teacher Seane Corn says. We would see that our preferences, practices, opinions, beliefs, mother tongue, skin color, stature, orientation and political party are nothing more than obligatory check marks in boxes on a list made by society. BARRIERS AND BORDERS ERECTED IN AN ATTEMPT TO BLOCK THE FLOW OF LOVE.

Once we see this, once we realize that being triggered by differences and perceived incompatibilities are just organic responses stemming from a source rooted in LOVE, we can begin to rewire the innate reaction we have to resistance.

Kathryn Budig just offered this nugget of wisdom as I bounced on my ball distractedly and mindlessly opened a Facebook tab (because, well, that’s also how these essays sometimes go…like a cat following a shoe string): “Walk your beautiful path and wish the others well. No one has the same gifts to offer. The ones who value yours will find you. So, in a nutshell—competition and comparison are moot. How refreshing is that reminder? Cue big exhale.”

We will find the threads of connection. They are there, enduringly, below the surface. We mustn’t harden against ourselves when we feel these physical responses in our bodies, when we have these swarming thoughts and the panic waters begin to rise. May we intervene, kindly, gently. May we realize that this organic response is stemming from a place of Love. Simply and sweetly. Our craving connection is a most basic and pure necessity; akin to our need for oxygen, food and water.

May we awaken to the fact that feeling “less than” or “greater than” is a choice. It is the spring from which our suffering flows. May we choose to plug that leak with pretty flowers and mossy twigs. May we admire our handiwork and turn back towards one another. May we smile softly, letting the corners of our mouths turn up. May we listen, devotedly, for the CLICK…

And now, without further ado, I give you The A Bros: The Ballad of Love and Hate.

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