For a brief moment when my heart broke I believed so many things to be true.
I thought I was going to die from sadness
(I actually googled "Can you die from being sad")
thought I wasn't good enough,
thought I didn't deserve love
thought I would never have a baby
and thought I would never see another morning where I didn’t wake up hung over and heartbroken.
I did the immediate “Eat Pray Love” thing and began google searching any country that would get me as far away from this place as possible. I bought self help books, break up books, travel books and drank entire bottles of wine in my bath tub until the bubbles disappeared and the water was cold.
I continued to search for a way out:
by plane, bus or boat. I figured if I could create distance between myself and my surroundings that just maybe the pain wouldn't be able to catch up to me.
Turns out this time, I would choose another road out- good old fashioned yoga, some expensive therapy and plenty of distraction (also known as: Vodka Soda)
I felt myself begin to navigate through what I knew to be my first real broken heart.
Every other sadness I had felt was more about expectation and missing what could have been.
This was different.
This was less about him or the what happened and more about how open and exposed I felt.
For the first time I wanted to wrap duct tape around my heart, throw my hands out in front of me- and shut out anything that could hurt me.
I had spent so long giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, and now that was all I had, a giant pile of doubt. I didn't trust anything or anyone. I had allowed myself to be so vulnerable that it was impossible for the hurt to not soak into every layer of who I was. I sat face to face in front of my therapist (surprise surprise) when she cut me off mid-sentence (or mid rant) and asked me point blank:
"Amanda, if you could say anything right now, knowing that this is a safe place to express anything you're thinking or feeling, what would you say?"
I had no clue where this was going.
I wanted to say a lot of really bad words that my mom would never approve of. I was angry, but under all that anger was a lot of fear. I looked at my feet, and eventually back at her.
I began to sob so hard and felt the words fall out of my mouth. "I just want to be loved"
This was it. This was the root of all the fear, this is the bed where all my sadness had been camping out on. Now all the pieces had been laid out, and I could start to put them back together.
The first thing I did was make a physical list of the people in my life who do in fact love me. It might sound crazy or pathetic, but when you hit rock bottom: you work with what you have.
Healing began to take place, one broken layer at a time. I started to take note of the types of people I surrounded myself with, the quality of my thoughts and my willingness to always be moving in alignment with my dreams. I listened to my heart openly and without judgment. As it turns out, the journey from our heads to our hearts is not an easy one...
I knew my need for love was directed mostly at myself, so I started there.
I took a lot of baths- sometimes two or three a day.
I cried when it felt right- ate pizza in bed, watched series after series on Netflix and did my very best to be accepting of this. I told myself "this is where you're at right now" and knew I needed to allow space between where I was and where I wanted to be.
So I let the lows be low. I drowned so deep into sadness to the point where I stopped going to work, stop paying the bills and found myself sitting on the floor of my apartment in dark after the electricity had been disconnected. I was living off really sad country music, rice cakes and bananas.
Eventually I knew I would have to put pants on and take my place in the world again- I also didn't want to fall into the trap of becoming bitter and cynical.
The duct tape had to come off.
So, I paid the bills, went back to work, threw myself into teaching and practicing and went on a few dates. I dropped certain people and habits from my life. I brushed my hair, put on a bra and talked about anything other than the last six months. Those things were not going to define me- but this was. Choosing to take my heart and give it back to the world, that was going to define me.
Choosing to be brave: that was going to define me.
I felt right about that.
I threw myself in teaching and this healed me. Teaching yoga from a place of total chaos and heartbreak made me feel real and empowered. I felt as though I could teach from where I was in my life, and use it as a way to connect with my students. I didn't need to "fix" myself in order to be a good teacher, or person for that matter.
I knew we were all the same, all just trying our best...even when it looks like we're doing a terrible job. We work with what we have.
I pushed myself when I knew I could do a little better, and was forgiving with myself on the days when the best I could do was eat, sleep and shower.
I’ve learned to appreciate where I'm at, and I've found comfort in knowing that my life doesn't need to be filled with happily ever after’s.
Instead, I've learned to embrace all my beginnings.
I've learned to embrace the "Once upon a time" Because that's the thing, every beginning we encounter, we only encounter once- and so, every new beginning has been another opportunity for me to greet the world around me with fresh eyes of the present.
In my own time, and when it feels right: I let go of the hurt.
Someday's I am able to let go of a lot, and other days I let go just enough to be able to stay present. But every time I release a memory, a thought, a belief or a judgment…I make space for something new.
I make space for love.
And in the end, that’s really the whole point of it all. In the end, love is all that matters.
After all, that's what got me here: Love.
And in knowing that, I know i'm heading in the right direction.