I’ve gone through one of the most excruciating and painful events I could have ever imagined: a separation with my ex that ultimately led to my divorce.
For years of my life, I was stuck thinking about her. I didn’t want to move on, let go, or do anything else in my life. I was struck with grief and stayed paralyzed, devastated, and in tears for years.
I went through years of doing the spiritual work and the emotional work to heal and overcome the grief of our relationship ending. I wished that I was one of those people who just woke up and moved on to the next person.
Not I. I thought of myself as the loyal person who was going to stand on the battlefield of love and fight until the deadly end. I was going to keep the memories of this relationship alive and keep her in my life like she was still there and the relationship never ended. I would just reject the notion that this relationship was no more.
So, I stayed and suffered for years; grieving for some of those years, hoping she’d come back some of those years or simply remaining numb for some of those years.
I felt this was the most special and holiest of relationships. I felt like this woman was my soulmate who had been sent to me through the cosmos and I had found through the most divine circumstances.
I never for a second thought this relationship could end. The relationship ending felt like my life should have ended as well.
When it did end, I wanted to know how she could have done this. I wanted to know why she did this. I wanted to know much longer she would remain away from what I knew was a holy relationship.
I was lost and confused without hope or motivation about my own life.
So, year after year, I struggled and stayed stuck in the past. I continued to do the work and went all over the world searching for answers. I looked for answers in the hundreds of books I read. I looked for answers in the many therapist’s visits I had. I looked for answers with the spiritual gurus I visited and the ashrams around the world.
I wanted to find answers about why the relationship ended and how I was to let go of this relationship ending.
What I found in my search instead
As I did the work over the last several years, most of the answers that I discovered were hardly about my ex.
In fact, what I discovered was that my ex was simply a mirror and helped me see very issues that I should work on in my life. She showed me my childhood traumas that I was never exposed to. She showed me my lack of self-love and lack of belief in myself. She showed me my habits of over-thinking, rumination, and living my life in the past.
She showed me my aversion to change and uncertainty in life. Finally, she showed me that I regularly saw myself stuck in my own circumstances and would rather suffer in the things that I couldn’t change than try to make some positive change in my life.
I went on a deep journey to discover how to let go of the relationship and move on from her. I did find the answers to that but this journey also exposed me to hidden pains and emotional wounds that I was never aware of.
What they say is true. Relationships are your greatest spiritual teachers. They will bring up all your crap so you can deal with it.
You may take the journey believing that it’s your ex is the problem and your ex is mean, abusive, or hurtful but what I realized ultimate is that…
Your Ex Is Your Teacher
Through your relationship and later through your breakup, you will examine what happened and what went wrong.
More than likely, if you do the work of healing, you will discover that many of the issues that came up in the relationship have to do with your life-long hurts that have not been healed.
As you progress through your breakup journey, you will continue to discover unresolved pain, childhood traumas and other emotional wounds. You will soon make the discovery that much of the issues from this breakup are internal ones that you have to work on understanding and healing.
You thought you only had to deal with the grief of the breakup but your breakup will open the floodgates to all the other issues that are lurking within.
Your job now is becoming aware, discovering the emotional wounds, and working on healing them. You will soon realize that all the problems and blame that you had put on your ex will turn inward. You will see how various emotional wounds and inner hurts contributed to the relationship deteriorating.
Now is the time to look within, become aware and work on healing life-long wounds. Your ex is your teacher in this classroom on heartbreak.
Your task is to do the homework assigned to you, learn the lessons that are available to you and grow through this experience.
Some of the most difficult times in my life were after my marriage ended. Everything from getting out of bed and getting to work was hard. It was so shell-shocking and devastating that I didn’t know how to process it.
Without question, this was the most difficult period that I’ve ever experienced in my life. My marriage unraveled, I lost the place that I was living in, we lost the house we had, I left the job that I had and I ended up leaving the state that I was living in and moving back to California.
In one short 6 month period, my life had turned completely upside down and I was more broken than I ever was in my life. I was mentally a wreck, I was emotionally tormented and spiritually broken. Nothing so big had gone so wrong in my life.
Until this point, it had all been smooth sailing: a good education, a career as a lawyer, an early marriage to a woman I loved, and us purchasing a house together. We had so many dreams and things we wanted to do in life together. All of it just vanished when our relationship fell apart and the divorce papers were signed.
How to cope with the unimaginable?
I really did not know how I got through that period in my life. I honestly felt like I died and I was a ghost in the world. My ghostly body was going to work, going to yoga, and preparing food to eat. My soul was stuck deep underground and refused to see the light of day.
There was no future. There was no hope. There was no happiness. Or joy.
I shut myself off to the world around me. I stopped talking to all of the people in my life including my family, colleagues and friends.
I questioned the meaning of life and what was the point of it all.
This incident broke my happy-go-lucky spirit and shattered my soul into a million pieces. I was floating around in the world, not sure how to function as a human anymore.
The light in this broken place
It was in this depth of despair when everything had fallen apart that everything about me unraveled. Everything that I had known to be true was no longer true. This was the rock bottom moment in my life.
And it was in this moment that something special came about that I want to share with you if you’re in this moment in your life. When all of the walls in your life have fallen apart and when my human existence had cracked, I found myself in a sacred place.
This was a place of brokenness and nothingness.
I was lightly treading on this place where I nothing and knew no one. It was in this dark and lonely place that I discovered myself for the first time.
All of the joy and happiness had left. All of the people and love had left. All of the normalcy and familiarity had left. All that remained was me, myself and I.
The sacredness of brokenness
It was in this place where I knew no one and nothing that I created a temple for myself. This was when I became intimately familiar with the real me. The external trappings fell aside and I got to meet the real “Vishnu”.
This was the first proper introduction to who I was as a person. My life had become so shaken up that I was left to literally find myself and get to know this person. I found out about my hurts, my traumas, my pains. I started earnestly discovering who this person was, what he was like, and what he wanted.
In this soulful place is where I was able to see the broken parts. It was in this sacred place where I was able to work on healing the broken heart.
In retrospect, this place was not a welcoming or familiar place. It was dark, alone, and terrifying. I was a miserable wreck during this process but I had no choice. There was nothing else to hold onto. I had no choice but to see myself and work on myself which is what I started doing from that day onward.
The sacred work in front of you
Not everyone will be given this sacred space or get to visit this place you might find yourself in. Not everyone will have everything taken away from them as their life deteriorates completely.
If you’re reading this, you may be one of the few people who have the honor and privilege of being here in this dark, lonely and unsettling place.
Yet, it’s right here where you have no boundaries, no railings, and no familiarity that you can begin doing the work of healing, growing and becoming familiar with who you are.
It’s in this place of brokenness you can align with the divine. It’s in this place you can let the light in. It’s in this place that you can become fully who you were meant to be.
There are no distractions or noise here. Just you, the universe, your soul, and the light.
Take a moment to put your hands together, bow and honor this space.
This may feel like the most broken place you’ve found yourself in but this is also where the healing begins.
Clover Lam is an inspirational woman who is living an unconventional life. She is leading the way in challenging cultural norms and societal expectations. Clover started a worldwide movement to help people live more authentic and honest lives.
She has also gone through a divorce herself and was open to doing a live coaching session on letting go of her marriage. Watch the above video to see how our coaching session went and what came out of it.
To learn more about Clover, check out her website at Simply Clover Living. Many thanks Clover for doing this live coaching call and thank you for all the work you’re doing to help people lead their own path and live unconventional lives.
To watch the video of this coaching call in full, visit the coaching call link here.
Are you blaming yourself for your past relationship ending? Do you feel like you are the on that’s solely at fault? Do you feel like you were the one who sabotaged it and led to it ending?
If you’re feeling terrible about the past relationship ending and can’t stop blaming yourself, watch this above video for some guidance and insight on moving forward. You don’t have to carry the heavy burden of blame for your past relationship ending.
All of the advice about moving on from breakups and divorces is wrong. It’s so frustrating because all it does is keep you stuck in the past.
So many people say cliched things like things will get better, it’s all happening for the best or time will heal all wounds.
Most people just sit there and do nothing! They just wait for time to pass. Or worse, they go on and live their normal life. Start dating again and live their best life.
So they go back to their regularly scheduled life and try to live it as normal as possible only to find that it’s hard. Meeting someone and moving on with their life is challenging if you’re still stuck in the past.
You can try it but you won’t be showing up fully. You won’t show up with an open heart. You’ll be showing up with one foot in the past and one foot in the present.
Making peace with the past
The one thing that people miss in the letting go process is making peace with the past. I love Eckhart Tolle and all the wisdom teachers out there who are beating the drum of present moment living.
Yes, ideally, if you stopped thinking about the past and lived in the present, then you wouldn’t be pulled back by you past. You wouldn’t feel the heavy emotional weight and baggage of the past. You wouldn’t ruminate on the past.
Except if you’re like me, you’re human! I simply couldn’t bring myself to the present moment when I had so many thoughts and memories of my ex. I wanted to continue the life that we had planned together. I wanted to pursue the dreams. All the memories and dreams we had, I didn’t want to let go of.
My mind couldn’t stop re-thinking, re-playing and re-living all the past memories of my relationship. The past is a powerful drug that is hard to let go. Your mind is addicted to what you once had because of the certainty, the pleasure and the comfort of past times.
A middle way to letting go
Unlike what the wisdom teachers tell us, I don’t believe you simply can live in the present moment. You have to do some work on making peace with the past.
I’m also not a fan of traditional psychology and therapy when it comes to dealing with the past in relationships. Psychologists bring up a whole other can of worms. When I started visiting one, I went all the way back to my childhood and family history. She started opening up all kinds of boxes I had no interest in opening.
It blew my whole life open and I went into a tailspin with my life feeling completely out of control. I’m ultimately grateful for this experience but I wish I could have just worked on letting go of my ex.
Today, when I work with people, I take the middle way. I help them make peace with the past by using the tools of forgiveness, creating a healing ritual and working on closure of past events. I also help them tell a new and more empowering story about that past relationship.
I detail the process in my free ebook, 7 healing rituals. Sign up to the newsletter and you’ll automatically get this guide.
The root of what’s keeping you stuck
If you’re enlightened, you’re probably not reading this blog and you’re doing just fine living in the present moment.
If you’re human, then you likely need to make peace with the past in order to live in the present moment. The past holds keys as to what’s keeping you stuck. You have to carefully examine the relationship and the story you’re telling yourself and dig out the elements of your past that are keeping you stuck there.
If it’s been years and you don’t know what to do, please consider looking at the past to see what’s still causing you grief, what’s still unresolved and what you need to make peace with.
To let go completely:
Inquire what in the past is unresolved and keeping you stuck
Bring it to light and commit to exploring and understanding it
Work on healing that one root block that’s keeping you stuck in the past.
If you haven’t done this or hadn’t planned to, please consider hiring a coach to help you figure out what’s keeping you stuck and then help you move forward and actively let go.
It was only when I went into the past and examined the problems in my relationship with my ex, I began to notice the open wounds that required care and healing.
I did the care and healing in the present so that I could repair the damages of the past. You can’t fix things by going back to the past but you can fix them here and now.
Examine and understand the past but do the healing and letting go work in the present. You can live in the present moment but actively work on healing the painful past moments of your life. If you don’t go back and discover what needs to be healed, it will be challenging to live in the present moment.
To live fully in the present, make peace with the past.
If you need coaching to figure out what’s keeping you stuck in the past, please consider a root ritual coaching session here or reply to this email.