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Her breath on my neck and I could have sworn it was….

Last night, my dog breathed on my neck as she nuzzled up to me on my pillow and I could have sworn it was him. 

Her warm breath on my neck after a deep inhale and a big sigh. The breathing…in and out…as our ribs ebbed and flowed against each other in the same rhythm. The warmth from our bodies snuggled up together. And for a second, I thought it was a person next to me.

The last person who was next to me exactly two months ago today. One minute being the ribs moving in and out next to mine and the breath on my neck and the next minute completely gone, as if it never even happened.

Vanished.

Like a magic trick.

And like in magic, you’re left wondering…how did he do that? How did he just disappear? And you stare in disbelief while trying to retrace his steps, and yours, looking behind every curtain, not knowing which sleight of hand you missed, or what was happening underneath it all while you were looking elsewhere.

It was a sunny Saturday when he came to get his stuff, every item of his waiting for him in a trash bag in the laundry room. Clothes that I had folded and put into his section of the closet so many times before, a big tub of honey he had brought over, silly items like frozen peas and a tray of change, giving them all back to him. Not because I don’t like money or honey or peas, but because I don’t want to be reminded of him and how sad and disappointed I feel every time I see those things in my house.

“I don’t want this to end,” I said as we hugged.

“I can’t give you what you want,” he said before he turned away and walked through the garage for the very last time.

That was the last time I heard from him or saw him in two months.

Which is surprising because up to that point, we were planning our lives together.

Coming up with a nighttime routine for the kids. Holding hands across the table at dinner. Staring into each other’s eyes before bed. Just days before about to book tickets to California for Christmas and joking about next year’s Halloween costume, negotiating a trip to Ireland in March and what to make for dinner for the kids the following week. And then one small fight about plans and a two hour phone conversation later, it was over.

Now, all traces of him in a trash bag in the back of his car. And my dog on his side of the bed reminding me that there used to be breath on my neck from a person who I thought really loved me. But never actually did. Another magic trick I must have missed while I was looking somewhere else. 

Breakups are hard because they poke at the most tender places inside of us. The places where our biggest fears live that beg the questions…”am I not a lovable person? Am I not good enough? Did I do something wrong? Why don’t they want me?” They make us feel unwanted and broken. They show us that our biggest fears might be true…could be true.

And so you try hard not to, but you spin anyway in the aftermath, always looking for some proof that you mattered and weren’t insignificant and all that time loving and caring wasn’t wasted. Wanting proof that you’re someone worth missing. But they don’t give that to you.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about this stuff for the past two months, I’ve realized something I’ve tried to learn before, which is that getting validation would be really nice and would feel good, and in those moments late at night with Gia in my bed, I want it so badly, but needing it from them in order to feel ok perpetuates a bigger issue, which is that you don’t already know it within yourself. We’re often told that it isn’t anyone else’s job to make us feel whole and worthy and lovable, that that’s our job in life. That is never so apparent as it is when you have a broken heart and an ex who just disappeared.

It forces us to see that it’s our job to love and honor and appreciate ourselves so so much that even when a breakup happens, it doesn’t make us feel unworthy and broken. It might be tender, but we can still stand strong knowing that we did our best and are wonderful and worthy and incredible and sometimes, things just don’t work out because they aren’t meant to for whatever reason we often don’t know until later. Easier said than done…trust me, I know.

Loving myself wholeheartedly isn’t natural to me. I grew up with a story of being abandoned. I took on the story that I wasn’t worth sticking around for. That I’m super special, only part of the time, and ultimately, when I really need you, you can’t or won’t be there for me. That’s my go-to her-story that I play out in every relationship.

But this time I’ve been focusing on the other piece…of loving and accepting myself. Of finding those places in myself that feel good and special and worthy all on their own. Of filling my own bucket when I ask the question “Am I a lovable person?” Working on knowing in my heart that I am. When I do this, it makes me feel better. And so late at night, when I feel sad or scared or abandoned, I put my hand on my heart and I say “I love you I love you I love you” over and over again until I start to feel it.

I didn’t want to share this story with you because it makes me feel like a failure (again) in the one area I care the most about…love and relationships. But I vowed to be more honest in case you’re going through something in your own life that feels hard and tender, so I can share anything that’s been helping me, in case it can also help you.

I’ve been spending 30 minutes a day, every day in a meditation focusing on self-compassion, which comes in handy when I want to go down the spiral of how unlovable I am. And I can’t say that it’s going perfectly for me, I’m still sad, and hurt sometimes, but I can say that it is helping a TON and that the spirals are less severe. That the good days are more frequent. The lows don’t last as long. Change takes some time.

And so I don’t know what you’re going through in your own life, but if you’ve ever felt caught off guard by a breakup, or felt like your life suddenly changed in a way that you weren’t expecting or wanting know you are not alone. Know that it won’t always feel like this. Know that there are things you can do to feel better. And maybe…this meditation can help you feel loved and ok despite everything…it is for me. 

See the meditation below. And if this post resonated with you at all, please share in the comments below and share it with anyone you think needs to see it.

Here’s to filling our own cups,

Sally

COMPASSION MEDITATION

Compassion gives you the strength to go through suffering and yet, feel no pain. There is absolutely no grace without compassion. Read the translation and if “God” doesn’t resonate with you, use Universe or whatever does. Whatever higher power that helps you.

Posture: Sit in Easy Pose with your spine straight.

Mudra: Cross the middle fingers over the index fingers of each hand. Place thumbs on mounds of your pinky finger, which is just at the base of the pinkie.

Mantra: Sing with a lyrical version of Rakhay Rakhanahaar.

I use this one:

Eyes: Closed.

Movement:

On the first line of the mantra, bring the hands up and press the left hand over the right press over your heart center.

On the second line of the mantra, lower the arms so the wrists rest on the knees.

Continue alternating in this way, but keep the hands at the chest for the last line that repeats twice.

Then briefly lower and raise them again for the first line.

Rakhay rakhanhaar aap ubaariun

Gur kee pairee paa-eh kaaj savaariun

Hoaa aap dayaal manho na visaariun

Saadh janaa kai sung bhavjal taariun

Saakat nindak dusht khin maa-eh bidaariun

Tis Saahib kee tayk naanak manai maa-eh

Jis simrat sukh ho-eh saglay dookh jaa-eh

Jis simrat sukh ho-eh saglay dookh jaa-eh

Translation:

God (or Universe) himself is looking out for us,
gives us the light, and takes care of our affairs.
God is merciful and never forgets us.
God guides us, giving us good people to help us.
God does not allow hurt to come to us.
I take comfort in the thought of God.
When I remember God, I feel peaceful and happy
and all my pain departs

(Briefly lower the hands and then continue.)


Time:
 Continue for 31 minutes. (or as little as feels good to you…I recommend 7 for newbies)

The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan ©2008

P.s. Here’s the cutie keeping me warm at night…

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2 Responses to Her breath on my neck and I could have sworn it was….

  1. Louise says:

    Thank you – for being brave enough to write this (and post it), for being strong enough to continue to help guide us all even in your time of pain and need, and for being such a brilliant bright light in the world. It’s one of the great honors of my life to know you.

    • Sally Hope says:

      Louise…THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this. Thank you for reading and witnessing and encouraging and being here. I feel the same way about you.

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