Sunday, October 2, 2011

Breaking Forward

7 weeks since I last's like a whole new life. A life of transition, which is fitting to the name "American Barbo." "Bardo" translates as "the in-between state" and I'm embodying that. Really this blog should be titled, "An American in the Bardo." I'd originally started this blog thinking that it would be about Karma's integration into US life, but it's really about mine.

Two major shifts (bardos) are happening simultaneously.

It's taken me awhile to gather enough courage to write about it on my public blog, but about 5 weeks ago Karma and I ended our marriage. It was a simple conversation. One that I'd been avoiding, although I'd given up trying before that. I wasn't ready to say it out loud.

I want to use a lot of reassuring words and happy adjectives to make this sound like something different, but what's happening is happening and there actually are a lot of positive things I can say about the situation. I've been thinking about it as "breaking forward," rather than "breaking up."

We are communicating openly, even in difficult moments. We are not arguing often. We are hugging. We are laughing. Sometimes we are sad. We love each other, but it's changed. Mostly for me, but him, too. Us humans have a wide range of emotions, ya know, so divorce brings a lot of those out. I'm grateful that he is the amazing man that he is. I can honestly say "it could be worse."

He wants to stay here and I've consulted with an immigration lawyer who assured me that he'll have no trouble doing so legally. I will continue to support him until he's able to support himself completely. I take that commitment seriously. I feel that he will grow in so many ways from finally having to be on his own for the first time in his life. I am teaching him the skills he needs to do that.

He is a dear friend and I feel that he and I will continue to walk a spiritual path together. During our marriage ceremony with Rinpoche I felt deeply committed to that vow and still do today.

In many ways it's like no other break up I've experienced. We still live together, but in separate rooms. We have breakfast together. We live compatibly....I can't cut and run this time. I must face him every morning, whether he's in a great mood or feeling down. Although it hasn't been very tumultuous since we broke up, it still feels like I'm walking through a fire. A lot of past relationship habits are coming up.

I wanted to strap on a backpack and head to Europe. From a very deep place I felt that that was what I needed to do. This marriage has felt like a subconscious denial of my heritage and culture. Now I have the desire to see where my ancestors are walk on the same ground, sit in the same churches. Looking back on my last few break ups, I've gone away to far lands, whether that was intentional or not, it happened. So, instead of running (which is financially impossible, regardless), I got a new job (the second major shift happening).

I continue to walk through this fire, but I am not alone. I feel so incredibly supported. I keep visualizing the redwood trees. They're some of the tallest trees in the world, but their roots reach long ways to intertwine with their neighbors—holding each other up. This process is allowing me to keep my heart open so that Karma and I can truly be friends.

I worry about him, but know that he will be okay. He was sad, but now he feels better. I can't imagine what experiencing your first love and first break up at the age of 31 might feel like, especially within the span of one year. I've had years of experience in both. I know that the pain dulls with time and that you eventually forget and think back on the relationship from a more removed and grounded place.

Both of our lives have been changed by this experience. I realize now that when I met him I'd lost touch with who I am in an attempt to be more "spiritual." This happened despite all the books I was reading and teachers I was listening to that warned me of the "spiritual ego" that can develop. It was my journey and I don't regret that. I regret the pain that I've caused him. As this break up was first unfolding I regretted marrying him for that very reason, but I don't feel that way anymore. Things will slowly get easier for us. He will heal and someday we'll look back and say "that was hard." It really depends on our mind states. I'm grateful to know that. To not feel without space around the feelings. I'm grateful Karma sees this as something that is happening rather than "happening to him." He is experiencing the suffering of life that he only read and heard about from the monastery. I hope he's able to integrate that into his life and practice in a way that benefits him and others. I hope I can do the same. This process of waking up really is an integration, not a shutting out.

Thank you for letting me share honestly with you...whoever is reading this (myself included).

"Who you are right now is exactly who you were meant to be." —Julia Butterfly Hill (who lived in a redwood for 2 years)

1 comment:

  1. I love the quote at the end of this post... it's such a great reminder when we start to focus more on the "what if's" than teachings/blessings of our past experiences.

    I'm so sorry to hear you're going through such a tough time. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for Karma, but he's lucky to have you to help him through this and you're lucky to have this as a lesson to work through problems instead of traveling through them :-)