BREAKUP #1 - Losing My Dignity
"Parting is all we need to know of hell,” - Emily Dickinson
In my 20s I had a few passionate love affairs and two major breakups that were incredibly formative. The first was with a man I dated from the age of 18 to 25, let’s call him Boyfriend #1. We broke up shortly after I finished university and had moved to Asia. That’s right, we broke up abroad, away from our support networks. We were on and off for years, and there were times things got really ugly. There were times I felt totally out of control, with my emotions totally ruling my life. Worst of all I felt like I lost my dignity in that relationship. Looking back now, I really didn't like the person I was in that relationship. I took him back despite my better judgement, pleaded for him to take me back, we would call each other in the middle of the night, etc. Quite simply it was awful for the both of us and for the people in our lives that loved us.
Looking back now, I can better understand why I stayed with Boyfriend #1 for so long. I had certain belief systems that were keeping me stuck. He was my first "true love," and I was terrified that if I walked away I might never meet anyone else and that I would regret it for the rest of my life. Also, I had never felt such heartache, and a part of me really worried that I might never recover.
But I was very wrong, there was much more love to come...
BREAKUP #2 - The Better Breakup
“Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant,” - Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
Years later in 2008 I met the man that would become my fiancé, let's call him Boyfriend #2. We met in the most romantic way, it was practically love at first sight and things moved fast. I had no doubt in my mind that he was “The One.” Within 6 months we were engaged, moved in and started building a home and life together. He is a great person, and though we had the best intentions I learned in that relationship that sometimes two great people can create a very unhealthy relationship. Although many could have looked at our relationship as highly "passionate" we had both let jealousy and insecurities take over. In that relationship I completely lost myself.
In the Summer of 2010 I started my first business, an eco-friendly daycare. A few short months later Boyfriend #2 got a job offer abroad. Although, I was going along with our new plans, I couldn’t really see myself moving abroad again especially since things between us were shaky.
Then one day, mid-November, we had an ugly disagreement and I just new I had to leave. It all happened so fast.
I will always remember that evening, the experience felt completely out of body. Once I decided to leave I called up a girlfriend and I went back to our home to pack a suitcase. I couldn't even begin to think about everything I would have to do to fully leave, I just knew I had to get out. All the while, I felt I had this little voice telling me, “It’s going to be ok, you’ve got this.”
MY BREAKUP RECOVERY - Finding Myself
"It is better to live your own life imperfectly, than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection,"
- The Bhagavad Gita
Already having been through one gut-wrenching breakup with Boyfriend #1, I was anxious in anticipation of what was in store for me when I left Boyfriend #2 - the heartache, the moving out, the starting over... and then the dread of having to date again! It was like seeing an avalanche coming my way and the only thing to do was pick myself up and get through this.
I promised myself that this time, I would do things differently. Above all I committed to myself that would maintain my dignity. I felt I understood the "breakup process" so I was better equipped - I knew I had to take great care of myself, and hold to the beliefs that my heart would heal and I would my true match someday.
After giving myself permission to simply survive the first few days to simply be with the shock of this drastic change, I immediately got to work! I found myself a great therapist, and started doing things that fed my soul.
I could not have been luckier that one week before the breakup I had signed up to pursue my passion for yoga by taking my yoga teacher training at Yoga Therapy Toronto. It's so funny to me now to think that I tried to convince the school that I needed to defer my program because I was a wreck, but my teachers (a beautiful wife and husband team) encouraged me to stay in the program and told me that this was the best thing I could be doing for myself. They were so right. I immersed myself in my yoga and meditation studies, and worked through my emotions.
Tango was also a part of my healing. Weeks after the big breakup, I returned to Tango, a dance I had fallen in love with during my time in Asia but had given up because of my relationship with Boyfriend #2. In Tango, I let the music and the dance express my pain, and I met new friends that would become family.
Looking back now, that year - 2011 - was the most challenging I've ever experienced but also one of the most transformative and fruitful. That year, I worked hard and established my business, I became a yoga teacher and a tango dancer, and I invested in new friendships that I still have to this day. Six years later I have so much gratitude for that year of healing. I can see now, looking back that my challenges in love set into motion a series of events that have completely transformed my life and I couldn't be happier.
GIVING BACK - "The Breakup Coach"
Transitioning out of my work in education into coaching was a natural extension of my experiences. Once I was able to help myself survive and grow through my devastating breakups, I naturally started helping my friends do the same, and then they started connecting me with their friends that were going through breakups.
Since 2012 I have trained with several coaching companies to create coaching programs designed to help men and women through the breakup/separation process.