finding meaning in the ordinary

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words by gem

the emotions of sorrow, relief and joy that accompany completions don’t always lead us to the heart of why grace escapes us when we are asked to let go. endings are particularly powerful in that they tend to unearth things within us that we were completely out of tune with. this virgo season, we are honing in on the self awareness that endings require of us.

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over the past three decades, i’ve had to go my separate ways with a lot of things. i’ve broken up with a couple of friends, jobs, lovers, partners, even versions of myself. while each situation came neatly packaged with it’s own look and feel, they all have one thing in common— the emotional turmoil that comes with letting go.

i recently went through yet another break-up, this time with a partner. the unraveling of this one was especially challenging because our relationship was built on the essence of partnership, different roads that had a parallel rhythm. most areas of our lives merged in one way or another and while we never signed any legal documents that consecrated our union, it certainly felt like a marriage. we shared a home, which, for a cancerian feels like sharing a kidney with someone. his people started to feel like family, and they still do, a contradiction to what we’ve been programmed to believe about the relationships we forge through our significant others.

while internally we grappled with what it looks like to hold space for our individuality as a couple, externally we were treated as a single entity. during one birthday celebration, the speeches quickly went from well wishes for his life to appreciation and encouragement for our relationship. it was clear then that externally we’d become synonymous with another, an internal truth that would later reveal itself in the process of detangling the parts of ourselves that we had woven into each other. the narrative we’d built in our minds about what the other added to our persona or the role they were going to play in our journey seemed like the harder thing to let go of more than the actual relationship. it was clear that we’d come to a place where the dynamic no longer worked for either of us and that we didn’t have the heart space or know-how to create a new way of relating to one another. but even with that awareness, it was still difficult to accept what the moment called for— a separation.

between the tears, self-pity, confusion and long bouts of silence and isolation, i was determined to get to the root of why, after the amount of experiences i’ve had with cutting ties with people, it wasn’t getting any easier. every train of thought led me back to ego— this persona that we spend our entire lives building for external survival, in the form of validation, acceptance and connection. instead of just experiencing people, things, places in the season that they are given to us— it requires that we attach them to our identity.

somewhere along the way my partner wasn’t just someone i was sharing my world with and excited to learn more about and support. he was now a symbol, a representation of who i was projecting myself to be to the world. our break-up was hard not only because i was losing his companionship. i was also losing a piece of my identity. that is why we cling on to things that we know have overstayed their purpose. we don’t know how to detach who we are from the relationships, jobs, and possessions we’re associated with.

so how do we love and embrace the people, experiences and things that we collide with without becoming attached? how do we come to an understanding of who we are without centering our sense of self around the relationships that shape who we are? how do we preserve the purity of love without confusing it with ownership? maybe if we took more time to explore those answers within ourselves, break-ups would evolve into celebrations of what was shared. a love infused send off into the next chapter of their lives regardless of our participation. wouldn’t that be the best way to honor the people we share our deepest, rawest parts with?

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