Separation and divorce brings a sense of loss with itself. The loss may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it definitely changes the dynamic of our life. As human beings we easily get used to things. Change is not easy to accept. We are creatures of habit. Waking up at a certain time everyday. Buying our coffee from the same coffee shop. Going to the same hairdresser for years. We all get comfortable with our own routines and rituals in life. We become accustom to them and start identifying ourselves with those routines. The activities become habits; which gradually translate to who we are, or at least who we think we are.
Separation and divorce shakes that pattern. We not only feel the loss of the other person and the routine that came with their presence in our lives; but also, we suddenly feel the loss of our own self. The core of our being has been shaken and we recognize that we need to change what we knew how to do. This is truly a painful process. It is as if we are experiencing the death of self. The one who intimately knew the routine of our life. Separation makes this change inevitable, we must go through it, and there is no other way around it. We feel like we still need to go to the same coffee shop, but when we pass by it, we notice it is no longer there. We see an empty space available for lease. We get angry, we get agitated, why us, why my coffee shop? All the other stores around it are still open.
The pain is so deep that we don’t want to sit with it. We don’t want to process it. How can you process the death of self? We try to look for an alternative. We try to numb the pain. But we realize that pain is staying with persistence. I sat with that pain on my meditation cushion. I felt groundless. Hanging on to old routines were no longer an option. I recognized the pain was more the feeling of the loss of the family unit. The way I knew it. I didn’t know if I could survive the ache. I felt lost. I didn’t know how to do it on my own. I had to learn all over again. Learn how to run this new family unit. Plus, I had to deal with the pain my children were experiencing and stay strong for them. I had to make it work. I had to relearn and figure out new ways of living.
As I sat with the pain and tried to process it, I felt that I had no choice but to just be with it. I could not be crying and curling up on the ground in front of my kids. At some point I learned to accept it, stay with it and open up for what was coming my way. I saw my world crumbling in front of my eyes. There was a big chaos. Nothing made sense, but I had to go through it and wait and see what came next.
The uncertainty in the midst of chaos opens the door for the new possibilities. When we let go of the habitual patterns, we make room for so much more to come our way. If only we can allow ourselves to let go of all that we knew how to do, we can see the potential of other doors opening up. Perhaps we can experience the taste of a delicious coffee at the new coffee shop. Or find the bravery to go to a different hairdresser and secretly enjoy our new haircut. We set up our alarm to wake up half an hour earlier to make time for our meditation practice, and we find our day going smoother than before.
If we can be brave enough to sit with the loss and let it dissolve, we give ourselves a chance for remaking the self. In the book of “When Things Fall Apart” Pema Chordron says; “Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get resolved. They come together and fall apart. Then they come together and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen; room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
There is a reason we go through the path we go, we just need to trust our journey. And when we trust, maybe we will get to see the light shining through and guiding us for what has been awaiting. If we learn to release the past, we can see our present situation and we can find there is so much gratitude in the now, being able to breathe, having the opportunity to still keep going and see what life has in store for us. And hopefully in that present moment we can feel the joy.