or “What Happened When I Went Back To The Place Where My Marriage Fell Apart”
A couple of weeks ago I went back to the little Mexican village that I love. Many of my “gringo” friends there call it a time warp, and it’s true—it is. Vendors push wheelbarrows down hand-laid cobblestone streets—not an easy task!—selling fresh mango-on-a-stick (with lime and chili pepper, of course!) homemade empanadas and hand-crafted wooden back-scratchers. It’s everything you might think “authentic” Mexico would be. The place is precious and the people are peaceful. And I loved it there.
But it’s also where my marriage dissolved.
Ever since then, I’ve been immersing myself in everything “healing” I can think of—a mission to revive my spirit and restore my soul—so I was ready to see what it would feel like to be there again. But this time my intention was to be there just in my own energy, not in the chaos and confusion that darkened the past. And as I’m writing this, I’m also realizing that I wanted to uncover what was really true for me there now that time (and a lot of work on myself) has enabled me to see a separate “me” from the “us”. I wasn’t able to differentiate that before. So even though I was prepared to stand in whatever would come up for me there, as usual, I didn’t know what the Universe had planned for my healing.
The first couple of days reminded me of when I had first arrived more than 3 years before. I immersed myself in the simplicity of life there—walks on the lake, spur-of-the-moment lunches, and margaritas on the plaza. I was filled with so much gratitude and appreciation to know so intimately what so few have experienced. Yes. I missed it.
But part of healing and closure is to also visit the places that might hurt. Knowing this, I wasn’t afraid to experience whatever was going to show its face to me there. And, although unaware at the time, what I also needed to do was remember some painful things that I didn’t know I had forgotten.
As I stood outside our old apartment, watching someone else go in, movies of us being there together flooded my mind—us walking down the stairs, us sitting on the terrazza, us cooking dinner. But when the things I hadn’t let myself see came rushing in, I suddenly said “Oh my God—that really happened.”, “Oh no! We actually said that”, and “Oh yeah. I remember that now.” I was just so numb back then, but I guess time and healing was allowing space for whatever I was ready for next.
Anger that I had never allowed myself to feel rose in me and I finally let myself vocalize what I was too afraid to ask until then: “How could that have happened?” “Why did he let me go?” “How could he have not fought for me?” “How could he have watched me walk away?”
Then it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn’t just asking those questions of him. I was also asking them of myself. I was angry at me. How could I have allowed myself to absorb all of that? How could I have ignored my inner voice for so long? And how could I have participated in and contributed to all that? Because, yes, I did. And, yes, I was responsible too.
Then, instead of choosing to run from what I felt, an amazing thing happened!
A kind of strength came over me and I remember thinking:
I am strong.
I am powerful.
This is why I am here.
This is right.
This is healing.
I am learning.
I am going to be ok.
So I gave myself permission to go toward the feelings, trusting that I needed to see whatever they had to show me. I believed in my courage to just sit there with all the rawness and pain, and because of that choice, I was rewarded with a deep understanding of why this had to happen. Why it was so right for me to leave. Because neither one of us knew how to do anything differently and it was time for me to start a new relationship—with myself. The person I had left behind
This business of “starting over” is not kidding around. Even though I’m beginning to hear the answers to my questions, it sees that I am caught between love and loss, so it’s revealing them to me slowly. It miraculously knows how much I can handle and when. My only assignment is to keep being brave and trust the process. All will be revealed at the perfect time for me. Plus, right now, maybe just having the courage to ask those questions in the first place is enough.
I trust every single thing about it. It will warm me when I need to be warm, kick me into gear when I need to be kicked, but it will continue to remind me that obstacles are just detours in the right direction.