My Inner Mystic

reflections and insight into my healing, transformation, and journey of the heart <3

What was your greatest challenge of 2011?

This was the question presented to me and my yoga retreat peers during our New Year’s Eve ritual.  We were asked to share with the whole group.  I knew without hesitation the most challenging thing I went through in 2011, but in that moment I was unable to open my heart, unable to make myself vulnerable before the entire group.  Too painful, too hard.  Sharing, putting it into words, would have required bringing a deep pain and sadness to the surface.  And identifying and naming the feelings, their source…this was something, in that moment, that I had not fully processed intellectually or emotionally.   All I could say to the group, while staying true to myself, was, “the most challenging thing I went through in 2011 was emotional stuff.”

New Year’s Eve ritual the previous year:  same yoga retreat destination, same teacher, many of the same peers, same question, different year.  I sat face to face with one of my peers.  My mind was blazing with the answer, my throat was tight, my chest felt constricted, tears welled up in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.  For the longest time, I couldn’t speak.  My hurt, my pain, had such a tight grip on me.  I felt unable to break through the barrier, to speak the truth searing in my mind.  In the final breath, the final moments, I uttered one, maybe two sentences.  I spoke of the conclusion of my relationship, but there was sooo much that went unsaid.

These kinds of exercises, sharing with a community or one on one, can be really growth inducing.  These exercises stretch us on the inside, they challenge us to come face to face with our feelings, our struggles, our deepest pain, hurt, regret, disappointment, etc.  These exercises ask us to be completely emotionally honest with ourselves and with others.  We are asked to share from the depths of our core, from our hearts, to speak the truth.  We are asked to verbalize, with sincerity, the truth that resides within us, and depending on the question and how honest you allow yourself to be, this can be incredibly hard to do.

My greatest challenge of 2011 was “matters of the heart.”  For much of the second half of the year, I was plagued with heart ache and sadness, a sadness I could not shake and that I still cannot fully shake in these early months of 2012.  Lately, when this feeling comes to the surface and the sadness takes hold of me, I try with great earnestness to step out of the feeling and observe it and try to understand it.  Very recently, I had a moment of insight into my sadness, but first allow me to share why I feel sad, why my heart aches.

Last spring I met someone.  I knew from that first night that I liked him, that he was special.  I was twitterpated and at one point, I was so delirious with excitement that I smacked my head into a door, twice!  The dancing began.  (When I get excited, I dance).  I felt a connection with him, a genuine and effortless connection.  I enjoyed every minute with him.  Talking with him and getting to know him was such a pleasure.  Every single thing he shared with me about himself was, and remains, a special gift.  I was completely open with him, my most authentic self.  I felt safe with him.  The three C’s were there:  comfort, connection, chemistry, along with a little magic and a healthy dose of magnetism :-).  He was and is so attentive and kind, so tender-hearted, smart, talented, passionate, so adorable, such a cute and endearing personality.  Our time together filled me right up and I felt deeply contented and nourished.  It felt so good to connect with another soul, to open my heart, and to get a few glimpses of his heart in return.

I knew I had found something and someone special.  I knew this was one of those rare connections, the kind you don’t find every day or even every year.  I found someone I could push up against intellectually, physically, and emotionally and with whom I felt a push back.  I found someone who could match my strength of mind, body, and spirit, but with a kind of strength very different from my own, strength grounded in tenderness, yet fueled by a passion for life.

I found someone amazing, someone truly special, but the stars have not lined up for us, the timing is not ripe.  I am ready for love, I have room in my life for love, I have room in my life for him, lots of room, but he’s not in the same space, he’s not ready.  He has other priorities, other concerns right now.  He is trying to figure out where he fits and what he wants from his life.  I’m sad that he’s going through a difficult and uncertain stretch, but most of all, I am sad that it means right now, and maybe not ever, that we don’t get to explore the great potential that I believe exists for a meaningful and special relationship.

I have had limited contact and interaction with him during this season of his life and it’s hard.  I miss him.  But then, like I have done many times, I pause and ask myself, “Do I really miss him?  How can I miss someone that in the grand scheme of things I don’t know all that well and who has only been in my life a short time?”  Yes, I do miss him.  I am totally clear about that.  But what I realized in my moment of insight is that these feelings, this perpetual longing and sadness, this feeling of being stuck, of feeling unable to move past and out, is about something so much bigger.

I got a taste of intimacy, of a deep connection, and I want more.  This beautiful, tender-hearted soul reawakened something within me that is so powerful and so strong – the desire to love again and to have an intimate connection.  This reawakening revealed to me that I have a great capacity to love.  This energy, this desire to love, flows within me every day and with no outlet for this energy, I am left with a heart that aches with longing, I am left feeling incredibly sad.

In my moment of insight, I saw that this sadness is about something quite big, quite significant.  My perpetual sadness is about loss and how the losses in my life have affected the emotional climate in my heart.  My feelings of sadness are fueled by loss.  I have lost several close family members through death.  Other family relationships are weakened or non-existent and this is a loss too.  I have also lost many close friendships.  My most recent loss has been the loss of my friendship with my closest friend of 15 years and I still struggle with the way it ended.  The most deeply felt loss of my life was the loss of my person, my deepest intimate relationship.  This loss was extremely emotionally traumatic.  In the absence of that intimate relationship, there is a giant void in my heart and this void amplifies my longing for a new intimate connection.

My feelings of sadness are also fueled by emotional deprivation.  I have been emotionally deprived of a lot.  I was deprived emotionally my entire childhood and now in my adult life by my parents’ inability to meet my emotional needs.  I was deprived emotionally in my relationship, a relationship that spanned 10 years, by a person who was unable to give the emotional support needed for a nurturing and sustainable relationship.  This history and current climate of emotional deprivation has left me feeling emotionally starved.  My body and heart craves emotional nourishment and these cravings fuel my sadness and my longing.  My body, heart, and soul, my whole being, craves for the person who filled me up and gave me the nourishment I needed and still need.

Even though I continue to sit with sadness and longing, I know that despite what happens or does not happen with this special someone that I was given a gift – a desire to love again and an awareness of my great capacity to love.  For this I am grateful and I choose to celebrate love.

Playa Guiones, Costa Rica

“To love and be loved will be the greatest event in our lives.”  ~ Rousseau


9 responses to “What was your greatest challenge of 2011?

  1. Clare Flourish February 14, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Are you sure you saw him as he is, rather than as a fantasy in your own mind? I ask in love, and wanting an answer for my own understanding of myself and my ability to love.

    • myinnermystic February 14, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Hi Clare – thanks for your comments. I agree that with love it is incredibly hard to be objective and that the lens through which we see is often shaded by the feelings and desires in our hearts. I did, and still do, to the best of my ability, strive to be objective and see him as he is and not as I want to see him. But alas, I need more time with him to know for sure. All I can say is, you know when something feels right and is a good fit, and that is what I felt.

  2. Katy E. Ellis February 14, 2012 at 8:51 am

    What a beautiful post that reaches deeply into the loss and pain that we have all experienced at some level. And how wonderfully you ended this piece–stretching (yogically!) into a celebration of love in any manifestation in life. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I love you , my friend. xoKaty

  3. theawakenedlife February 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Darling, I know so how you feel. The pain, sadness and sense of loss you described is largely what I felt for the full four years before this past one. I understand. Loss is hard and it is even harder when you’ve had to endure many of them- I’m right there with you. What I can tell you is that each loss makes us stronger, more sure of ourselves, more self-sufficient, more certain of what we DO want and more importantly, what we DON’T! And each one lends to further transformation, transformation that in the end brings you to a brighter, happier place if you let it. I can use my own life as an example of the fact that if we allow ourselves to be transformed, the light will follow the darkness.. and not only light, but sparking jubilation and joy. That is what you have to look forward to. Much light and love to you my friend.

  4. myinnermystic February 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Jeannie – thank you for your words of encouragement and upliftment. Sparkling jubilation…I like that image. I think I’ll hold onto it. The bubbly in my heart is certainly getting more bubbly as the light shines more brightly 🙂 Thank you again!

  5. KT February 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    What a beautiful heartfelt post! I believe that there is a love-shaped hole in all of us… Of course it is my hope and prayer for you that yours will be filled to the brim. Who knows when or how that will be – but I know your efforts at knowing and understanding yourself will be so valuable as part of that. 🙂 Love to you friend!

  6. myinnermystic February 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for your love and support. That’s exactly what I feel…a giant hole in my heart and nothing but love will fill it up and so I continue to yearn for love, that deep, sustaining kind that comes when you let someone all the way in and when they let you in in return.

  7. Basia February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Such an honest heart felt message. Thank you.

    As your other friends say, all of us can relate to your words. I think most of us have touched that deep sadness and longing of which you speak.

    I have found timing to be so crucial to the unfolding of a relationship! “All in divine time!”

    I think also that sometimes we seek outside of ourselves for the things we cannot give to ourselves- I speak from my own experience here too. This brings to mind a few questions: are you being kind, nurturing, loving, and supportive of yourself? Though it’s hard to do, if you practice loving kindness again and again with yourself, I wonder if you will attract the love you seek!

    Wishing you limitless boundless love from inside and out!


  8. Pingback: Wings of Infinity « My Inner Mystic

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