It took 43 years of me experiencing life to get confronted with one of life’s great pains. Heartbreak. I mean true, uncut and untethered heartbreak that comes in through your mouth, goes down your throat and then grabs your heart and rips it out through your nasal passage as if to be excreted in a violent alien like motion.
Of course, I’ve been in many relationships over the years that have had all sorts of trajectories and a variety of endings. That said, they have all (until now) shared a common attribute of organically fading away when the end is near. Never before has a relationship confronted me with the ultimate blow – being completely abandoned, dumped and left alone.
New age power brokers will immediately cry “victimhood!! Stop!” Eh. Ok but no, I’ve come to learn that at times we are actually victims. Bad shit does happen to good people. And that is totally ok.
What happened was I was walking along enjoying the best romance of my life (albeit long distance) with great messages being sent my way like “you are my soul mate, cosmic love and best friend. I couldn’t imagine my life without you.” Or..”we have no real problems, just challenges.” This was our day to day reality – of course there were little blips along the way that had has running and crying and going to the core of our dark selves but very quickly we came back to this intensely high soul connection. Then one day I made a mistake and by all accounts it was a mistake that every single person I’ve asked found to be in the realm of tolerability. Of course it’s more complex, more nuanced and comes complete with back story that verifies the fact that I’m not entirely innocent. It wasn’t the first mistake in this area (note money) and it created a schism in her ability to tolerate me. That said, I was honest about it and was doing my best to be transparent and vulnerable in this area of personal work. Anyway, this mistake was made one day and poof, it was all gone. The relationship went from one day resting sweetly in a place of unconditional love that could never be severed to it being ended over email and text half across the world. Seriously – over email and text. From someone who said they were my best friend, partner and soul mate literally the day before. I’m not exaggerating.
“Until we have we seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we forgive someone’s darkness, we don’t know what love is.” – Unknown
The level of fucked-up-ness in this situation caused me to freak out. To scream like a man being slashed and burned and to completely loose any sensible control of my emotions. At first I retaliated with the only power I had left – text and email outbursts. Rather than taking a deep breath and being calm and centered I unleashed a couple of low blow texts that I knew would hurt her. Why? Several reasons. One, because I was not thinking clearly. Two, at that moment I felt (accurately I might add) abandoned and discarded like a commodity so my fight or flight impulse kicked in. Am I proud of that? No. But am I un-mistakingly human and chock full of bad programming? Yes. Sometimes all that stuff serves me inside of my head but rarely does it translate outside of it. Part of the biggest cycle of fear based thinking in my life is centered around acceptance and unconditional love. When I feel that I’m not worth loving solely because of my imperfections I tend to not deal with that well. Same goes for most of I’m sure. We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are.
What is most interesting to me is that when presented with the most nightmarish situation how true practice, or lack thereof, kicks in. This was to me a real living nightmare that I’ve never before experienced and the roller coaster that happened next was beyond anything I could have imagined. Whatever tools I thought I had for something like this turned out to not to be present. Because I never had them in the first place, clearly. It’s worth noting that my digital outbursts made it worse. For anyone taking note of how to behave when things go south – don’t make it worse. I did and payed the price most likely.
Here’s why it was a nightmare though.
I know many people might see it as “fuck dude, it’s just a relationship that lasted seven months. Calm down and move on. So she dumped you.” This was different though. She was (probably still) is the one I knew I could settle into and build my life with and around. She was a total love at first sight experience and I’ve never had that. My lack of any real family (a mother who lives 8000 miles away) created a gaping hole in my life that I fill with people who love me and are my family. So this particular significant other was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Never before had I met someone who could actually “see” me and radiate with all of my personality and humanity. Complete dream alignment that was my partnership to a whole life. Cut to: obviously she didn’t “see” me if she would cut and run one day so suddenly. I get that. Still… She was my person that mutually committed to stay in the form of unconditional love and to work through all of our stuff in a patient and human way. We committed to not freak out over fear based projections. Endless texts, talks and bonds that cemented those promises.
Now with some distance I’ve come to learn and to have compassion and empathy for the idea that it’s unfair to hold another to everything they said or promised at one point during a relationship. We’ve all said things and felt things in the heat of the moment that were true at that moment but perhaps were driven by intoxication, hope, idealism and fantasy. Forging a real relationship takes years of discovering and accepting another human being and allowing them to discover and accept you in whatever form you come. Some people may think they are ready for that but others, when faced with a challenge find out that they are not. That’s what seemed to happen here. The idealism of being someones soulmate outweighed the reality of it. In this case – it felt more cowardly than anything.
The other card that has been dealt to me was the ol’ “the relationship is only good if it serves our higher self” chestnut – whatever that means. The implication being that my mistake laden behavior around my current financial predicament didn’t serve her higher self or something to that effect and that she felt “abused” and taken advantage of because of it. Let’s be very clear – the word abuse is inappropriate here and no such thing happened. I was a great boyfriend, loving, kind and adoring – yes with a few of humanities issues attached to me. I was by no means abusive in any way shape or form.
Drama aside – this is what happened. I made a mistake, was totally honest about it FYI but was just left suddenly and without any recourse or option to talk it through. An email saying “it’s time we part ways but thanks for a great 7 months” is all I got. I’m not kidding.
Sometimes reality can really smack you upside the head.
The big deal to me was that it reinforced the idea in my head that I don’t deserve unconditional love from another person. I’m damaged and fucked up therefore I’m not worthy. Look, I got thrown out by my favorite person in the world because I’m damaged. I’m not worthy of her love, clearly. That was the immediate re-inforcement idea played over and over in my head. Those are the messages and patterns in life that are very difficult to not let program you to death. Seeing eternal truths and real value in ones own self takes lots of work – it takes pushing aside these stories. And fuck, let me tell you. That’s hard to do.
All the spiritual work I’ve done and all the 12 step work I’ve been immersed in tells you that the above A) isn’t true and B) looking to be whole via outside people is a faulty way to live. I know that and I’ve taught that to others for years. I’ve come to learn, however, that teaching these things to others when I have never experienced them myself is a operating in a vacuum. It’s just theory. It’s not that I didn’t know what I spoke of it’s that I didn’t know myself. I’ve come to learn something very touching and fragile about myself.
I need people. Other people. I need others to make me whole. Yes, I said it. And all of the hard core new agers will throw every single book at me and tell me that’s suspect. But it’s true. I need and most of all want a family to call my own and to make my circle complete. Krishna’s love just isn’t enough in this material world. And when that gets ripped away from me for seemingly a really bad reason it’s unbearable. And…you know what? I’m ok with that. It’s who I am. I love and adore the few people in the world who can see me for who I am and needing them to stay connected with me is ok. My individual self gets lonely, scared and freaked out looking at the weight of the world. Needing others to make the experience a little more gentle is totally fine by me. I’ll stand by it. I need people. I need love from other people. What more is I thought I found that person who would give that to me – boy was I mistaken.
All that being said, being prepared for when that DOES get taken away is what I have to look at. I had zero idea that she would actually not mean what she said and actually run away from me due to my humanity. I had no tools for when that day would come. Learning to expand the tool set for all possible outcomes is the only option within this maze of dimensions we call life. I’ve learned that no single situation is bullet proof. You have to expect any possible outcome, option and predicament to present itself at any given moment. As lovely and solid as many people can be – no one is immune from expressing their own truths by leaving on to whatever is right for them. And that’s her story. I don’t think she’s bad or mean. I think she’s fear based and confused. It pains me to think that no one is 100% reliable. I want to operate from the place that they are. But no one is. We are all here alone as a sperm in an egg suit floating on a god damn rock. If we are lucky enough to connect with another egg suit and find a union for a bit of time then that is grace. But to be naive enough to think that the other egg suit will never ever let you go no matter what – simply isn’t reality. Some people get lucky and find that. Others, like myself, have yet to.
Am I mad? Yes. Am I sad? Yes. Am I victim? Yes. Do I need others? Yes. It’s all true. At the same time – are we all alone? Yes. Do our tool sets need to be built to be more robust to tolerate any outcome? Yes. Are people free to move on defying any reasonable explanation? Yes. We all have free will and people are never 100% reliable. They can turn on a dime.
The end of the road seemed to present itself in the middle of this, I might add. Or should I say at the beginning. I was borderline toying with suicidal thoughts and had to go to the hospital twice just to calm down and get something for sleep. I hadn’t slept in days and was starting to see double. I’m not embarrassed by any of this. I’ve come to learn how fragile I really am and in ways that I didn’t know even know existed. The end of the road, as I know it, is a place that when grace presents itself moves away from you just a bit. You can still see the end of the road, sure but it gets further away. And then next day, a few chants later, the end of the road is even further away. And so on. But my path knows that the end of the road looks like – as dark as that may seem to some. My mortality and heart is inextricably human, vulnerable and prone to darkness. This is why I was a drug addict. I’m not a zen master. I’m a spiritual aspirant whose objective is to know thyself. My objective is to not know the universe. If that comes, great. But I still hover in the center of it all and unless I truly know who I am nothing else applies. What I learned here, again, is that I didn’t know as much of me as I thought I did.
At age 43 life can still throw you a big fuck off and how you deal with it is where it’s at. It’s the pain, the beauty and the falling apart. I’m proud to have fallen apart. I’m still broken in what seems beyond repair. But slowly, very slowly, I can see a reassembly happen. Being left in the cold alone really sucks. But finding the warmth once again is a lovely experience. However…please God, don’t let it happen again. Grant me the wisdom to see more clearly where love is real, honest, pure, reliable and also vulnerable and suspect.
Through all of this I don’t love her any less. Most people are telling me that I’m a co-dependent zombie if I believe that. How can you love someone so deeply who would just bail on you over EMAIL?? Zach, wake up. The heart wants what it wants. I recognize her humanity and confusion and see her as my teacher. Does it matter much? No. It’s how I choose to see the world.
EricJuly 18, 2017 at 1:15 am
Interesting post Zach…somewhat brave maybe? More like an outcry…but dude…that’s really messed up. I’m so sorry. Love stinks.
Zach LearyAugust 24, 2017 at 6:51 am
On outcry, sure. I wouldn’t call it brave at all but thanks Eric. Expressing truth is just what it is.
NoahJuly 18, 2017 at 2:24 am
sitaram dassJuly 18, 2017 at 4:10 am
Wow man that was some beautiful truth telling. I also like the conversational tone of it. It felt like I was hanging out with you while I read it. I heard your voice in the words. Mostly I just want to say that I really value and appreciate your willingness to be so open and raw in such a public way. Thanks for that. I love you and I hope to see you sometime soon. Ram Ram
Zach LearyJuly 18, 2017 at 4:13 am
Thank you dear brother. Much love to you. Hope to sing with you somewhere soon.
Yogini DJuly 18, 2017 at 7:35 am
Thank you for sharing this. All too often in the fields of spirituality, self development, creativity or any field for that matter we never hear public figures or teachers share truly about their love lives. And yet for most of us it’s the most painful or central area of our lives (whether we have a partner or not). Thank you for doing this, with insight and honesty. I hope the rawness of your break-up pain is abating. I know what you mean about the hurt felt of actually loving someone doesn’t go away: and that’s ok! Look after that heart.
Christina EJuly 18, 2017 at 3:32 pm
Beautiful way of articulating the pain of being human and the trauma of loss of the person you thought was “the one”. Blessings be upon you my friend for starting the process of healing and self awareness and admitting you are flawed! I wish you the best I know you will find love again because it’s what your heart seeks. What you attach your mind to it will bring… may the darkness end and may u be bathed in sunshine and light! Om namah shivaya!
Zach LearyAugust 24, 2017 at 6:50 am
I originally took this post down after the person in question expressed their pain. After another month of complete mental anguish and emotional abuse from this person, I’ve decided to express myself even more. I’ve never been so lied to in my entire life. Lesson – when some who says they are a spiritual person, look very deeply. VERY deeply.