Last winter, my heart was broken. Someone I loved very much walked out of my life. Out of my daughter's life.
He gave no reason.
He just bailed.
And for months after, I tried to heal. I tried to forgive. I tried to forget.
I tried to pick up the pieces of my heart and scotch-tape them back together.
My chest literally hurt. My rib cage ached. I felt haunted by the Ghost of Relationships Past. Everything I did. Everywhere I went. He was there.
I came to realize this heavy brick on my sternum was grief.
And that it is normal.
And that it sucks.
As you can probably guess, I tried to take every short cut in the book. I tried to speed through the healing. I did mad amounts of thought-work, coaching, and meditating. And spent hundreds of hours (for reals) on my yoga mat.
And I prayed.
Like, on my knees.
Show me the way.
In the times of our deepest suffering. When there is no one else to turn to. When none of our fancy tricks seem to work. When we are exhausted by our fight. By our resistance. By our wanting to hurry.
Surrender always works. (I know... annoying but true.)
Surrendering to getting on our knees.
To handing it over to the Big Love, The Universe or whatever else we might call God.
Knowing that everything is happening for us. Not against us.
And trusting what we hear. (You know... that loving voice that you hear in your head? The one that is always consistent. Always peaceful. Kinda hard to hear. That's the one you want to tune in to.) And trusting the action that we take from that space.
Because you never know what that answer is going to sound like.
Or where it's going to take you. (Mine took me to a swimming pool. I'm not even kidding. And it was the best decision I've ever made.)
I prayed for months. And got a lot of answers. But, none of the answers seemed to take the form that I was hoping for. (Of course, now, I can see that they were all beautifully designed to lead me right here to this exact place.)
Until I heard this one:
It was like someone held up a huge mirror and showed me that even though I had been moving forward on my path.
I was walking backwards.
I wasn't looking forwards. I wasn't looking at where I was going. I wasn't focused on where the path was leading me. I was focused on where I had already been.
And no matter how skilled we are at walking backwards... it will always be easier if we turn around and walk forwards.
And stop focusing on our past. And stop wondering what went wrong. Or why something happened. Or to keep spinning on useless questions that can't really be answered.
That voice said: turn around. (I was at a kid's dance recital at the time. You never know when you're going to get your answer.)
And I could feel it. As clearly as if I had turned around right there in my seat and could suddenly see the show clearly in front of me.
My heart shined forward. To where I was going. To what was in store for me.
And I could see (metaphorically and quite literally) that what was in front of me was so beautiful.
And I decided to focus on that. To be in love with what is coming. To be in love with what is in front of me.
To move forwards by walking forwards.
And that decision.
Grief is necessary. And it is temporary. It is slow moving and helps us take time to heal. But, it can't keep up with our pace once we turn around and start focusing in a forward direction. It gets left behind with everything else in our past.
And what replaces it is love.
The kind of love that you feel when the sky is full of fireworks.
And the ocean is roaring behind you.
And kids are laughing all around you.
And you see nothing.
But just one smile.
The smile that makes every single step of this backwards-forwards path.