As some of you know, my outlook has steadily grown from grief into joy. Three-plus years ago I experienced a devastating loss when the woman for whom I had fallen deeply decided that she could no longer be with me: “I love you and I must leave you,” she announced one day. In the midst of the pain and sadness that followed, I remember a voice within telling me that this is a life-altering event for you — don’t rush — savour the devastation. On the surface, a weird bit of advice and consolation, but even then, amid the tears and despair, I recognized its fundamental truth.
The fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafiz wrote:
Don’t surrender your loneliness
Let it cut more deep
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
And so I took my time — letting the pain subside, the heart to heal itself, and a more grounded self to emerge. Of the many things that differentiates this heart-break from others I’d experienced over a lifetime, is that I did not go into numbness tinged with rage and self-loathing. Instead, I allowed the practice of metta (loving kindness) to guide me. Even during the darkest moments I harboured no anger towards my former lover for leaving me or myself for screwing up once more. Instead — to my amazement — I learned to appreciate the grand purpose of our relationship as an opportunity to grow a larger heart, to open my small self to love and passion on a spiritual plane.
I’ve recently allowed my/self to be touched once more by a lover who thrives on those very qualities. I’m able to bring to this relationship an ease of staying present, of not projecting into the future, of minding my heart’s boundaries, and of savouring the surprising gifts of being loved.