When I have experienced loss in the past (specifically, the loss of love), it has been a most lengthy and painful and absolutely soul-wrenching experience for a very long time.
It took me almost five years to really 'get over' my last relationship. I do not love lightly, you could say. Five years until I was healed enough so that I could imagine entering into another experience with someone else. Five years of doubting myself, replaying events, holding out hope.
I suppose this lengthy healing has a lot to do with the ongoing ruminations of my overactive imagination, post relationship, whereby I have classically been stymied within the restricting questions of 'How could it have been different?", and "What went wrong?". While it can be useful to review the occurences and experiences of a relationship, certainly, the obsessive over-processing of a situation surely points not to a healthy cognitive experience, but to some deeper wounding activated and irritated by the pain of that present experience.
Lately I have been meditating on and enjoying the thought that when we lose love there are only two ways we can respond: we can open up further, or we can shut down.
That is, when we lose love we can choose to see the outcome as indicative of our self-worth and the possibility of life experience in the romantic sphere and lose ourselves to the travesty of it, or we can utilize the experience as feedback and information on where we might still need to open ourselves to being and feeling loved. We can use the loss as evidence of our inability to establish good relationships, or we can use the loss to improve our self awareness and come to love even more.
I have never understood this before. Love, and the loss of it, have been this overwhelming thing for me in the past, an element of the human equation that put so much of me on the line that I have been reticent to donate myself to the depths of that experience. And then when I did in the past the defeat of love has been so impossibly crushing that it only confirmed that fear, suggesting that I was absolutely right in sequestering myself away from the intimate light of loving relationships, and that I should avoid all future attempts to come into contact with that vulnerable state of being.
However, this time around I seem to be understanding this experience from a perspective that is so completely new to me; so entirely opposite to my prior responses; so foreign to my fearful brain that seeks, once again, evidence for a most reasonable shutting down of emotion. This understanding says, in no uncertain terms, that the only way to get beyond this pain of loss and this loss of love is to love more. To open more. To connect more. To be myself more and love myself more and feel everything even more.
It is an indescribable thing to really do this, and feel my heart opening to the pain of loss and challenge, proclaiming an enhanced vulnerability even as by all accounts it would be more mentally (egoically) logical to shut down. I am more loving and more open than I was prior to this relationship, and, like all things in this human experience, that was the whole point.