insights from the break up

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First, I’d like to thank you all for your incredibly kind, supportive comments yesterday about my break up. I felt like I got a huge hug from you all and I cannot explain how appreciative I am of your kind words.

After re-reading yesterday’s post, I realized that it might appear as if I’ve glided through the last eight months on a cloud of understanding and ease; maintaining a sense of well-being and big picture perspective every step of the way. But in fact, the opposite was often true. I struggled with this. A lot. Privately. I never expected this to happen.  And though the pain and hurt was overwhelming at times, I characteristically did (eventually) start asking myself, what am I meant to learn from all of this?

So basically what I am trying to say is that I’ve felt the whole range of possible emotions about this mutual decision – just like everyone would. But what is deeper than all of my pain was the faith that has served me in growing Jess LC and MML: I deeply believe that everything serves a purpose in my life. And over time, I started to seek out wisdom and grow as much as possible in this situation. And boy, did I have a lot to learn! Take a look.

Though I tip-toe around the idea of God here on MML, I cannot honestly explain what I’ve learned from this experience without touching on this subject. I think each person has their own evolving view on God which is entirely personal. My understanding of God is primarily spiritual, and I expose myself to teachings from a variety of sources including college courses and books on Confucianism and Buddhism, Anthony DeMello‘s teachings, A Course In Miracles, Joyce Meyer, my Catholic childhood, and the local Lutheran church I go to on Sundays. I find that the universal truths inherit in all of these teachings create a broad base for my personal beliefs. Throughout these past eight months, I’ve exposed myself to some form of spiritual teaching everyday – whether it be in the form of a book, podcast, or tv show. This habit helped me to keep a bigger picture perspective even on the toughest of days.

I also began to pray. Though I have always been very philosophical about spirituality, my prayers have now become very active – I need help in each moment to remember the greater purpose this is serving in my life. And though it’s not always easy, prayer has helped me realize that I don’t need to have all the answers. But I can have faith that things are working out in my favor and that God is going to make this happen for the best. I’ve learned to give God control of my life and learn to follow his lead.

I touched on my evolving understanding of my ego and spirit a few weeks ago. What I began to realize through this break up is that I had two thought sources. One seemed to come from just inside my ear and the other came from my gut. The ear/ego thoughts were generally painful and emotional and started with “I think” and the gut/spirit thoughts were calm and started with “I know.” Since my ego had expectations and attachments to what it thought our future was going to be, it was incredibly upset that life was not going according to it’s plan. But my gut at the same time knew that what was best for one of us was best for us both.

This distinction between the ego and spirit has since been incredibly transformational in all areas of my life.  After eight months of observation, I can now distinguish when a thought is coming from my ego or my spirit. Then I do my best to choose the course of action that is aligned with the spirit. If I’m having trouble shaking an ego urge, then I pray to my spirit for help. I’m nowhere close to perfect at this but I am improving day by day.

At this point in time (remember, it’s been an eight month process), I’ve come to feel very optimistic about the future for us both. When the ego has the urge to get upset, angry, hurt, or bitter, I can’t take it very seriously. Because beyond that pain I trust that my future is bright whether we are together or not. The relationship itself was never the source of the good in my life, but rather an extension or by-product of doing my best and pursuing my purpose. And though my vision of my life included this relationship, I now feel like I’m off-roading on the path I’ve laid out for myself. I still have the same goal in mind: to help people design a life with intention. But how I will get there seems to be a different course than the one I imagined. And I submit my vision to God for his own revisions. I have faith that God’s plan for my life is much greater than I can imagine, so I’m not trying to fill in all the blanks anymore.

I also have an innate knowledge that I’m also not “losing” anything with this break up. Since we both still love one another, we are incredibly close and after some time apart to acclimate to living on our own, I’m confident that we will remain friends. Though the relationship is no longer going to be boyfriend/girlfriend, it itself will not vanish. The friendship will endure. And I also see there is an even greater opportunity for me to go out there and pursue my goals for Jess LC and MML.

Granted, there will probably be a period of grieving, but the long-term outlook is positive.

Given that we still have a healthy, loving relationship and will live with one another for the next two and a half months, this situation seems surreal. In fact, my ego doesn’t understand it at all. If I think too much about how wonderful we are together, I become sad about the split in September. If I think too much about the exciting things in store in the future (decorating a new apartment!), the next two and a half months feel like an eternity. So what I’ve learned to do is embrace the paradox. I don’t need to be “logical” about this and choose one sentiment or the other. I can be simultaneously happy about the relationship now, and happy about the future being on my own. Though my ego rails against this inconsistency, my spirit embraces it. The trick is to be present in each moment. My life is positive now and it will be positive then. No need to make things any more complicated than that in this moment.

Phew. As you can see, I’ve done a whole lot of work on this. But as they say, hard work pays off and little by little I’ve done the best I can and prayed when I can’t.

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  1. Jill

    Jess this is SO moving and insightful on so many levels. I just love the inspiration that you are… and while I wish you didn’t have to endure this situation for our learning or for yours – it is such an amazing lesson! I just read it once through (with the kids in the background) – I plan on revisiting it later in some quiet space to see how it relates to my life, because on first glance I see it does in so many ways. Thank you, thank you for sharing! Hugs!

  2. imagine that this is not at all easy, but i thank you for putting your thoughts, feelings, and experiences into words, especially the part about it not all having to be logical. like you said, the reality is that often times, most of these feelings are all going on at once and we have to figurre out how to navigate them the best we can.

    i’m excited for your future and sad for your breakup, but i have no doubt that you’ll continue achieving and thriving as you always have. great post–thanks for sharing!

  3. Niki

    Awesome post Jess!! Just think about how “ready” you’ll be for the next relationship… you’ve put in so much work already!

  4. Christina

    One thing I admire about you is your positive outtake. The closing of this chapter isn’t easy and yet you look at it as opening of a new chapter and of your growth. You are an inspiration to me.

  5. Christine

    My favorite part, and actually really helps me right now, “The relationship itself was never the source of the good in my life, but rather an extension or by-product of doing my best and pursuing my purpose.”

  6. pilar

    this is an amazing post. i really appreciate your honesty with regard to your faith & spirituality. i really enjoy your blog & love that you show vulnerability in your discussion of “real life”. you are an inspiration!

  7. Anna

    Again Jess, thanks for an inspirational post. I am sad for you that you had to go through this but also excited for your future. These are great lessons and I am glad you realized that there is a lesson in all of this.

  8. Jessica

    Great insights – thanks for sharing with us and best wishes. Your attitude will of course get you far in life, but it will also help others who struggle with similar situations!

  9. JD

    I read your post yesterday and it resonated so much. I am especially glad that you brought up the God factor and the power of prayer and encourage you to keep at it (all of it!). Thanks for sharing, Jess.

  10. Jess,
    I am so sorry to hear about your break up. It is incredible though the insight you have from all of this. I remember when I went through a really tough break up, I grew more spiritually than ever. I took it as my chance to rely on God completely – since he created my heart and knew it best.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts. I hope you both find peace through all of this. Lots of love~

  11. Jenny

    I’ve read and reread both posts and I just want to let you know how much I (and everyone else) appreciate your openness (is that even a word?) and honesty. And while I hate you all broke up, I’m so glad you reflected and took time to see the positives of the situation – not dwell on the negatives. Separating the Ego and Spirit really resonates with me. I’m so proud of you for sharing and putting yourself out there to help us all. This blog has been so helpful to me and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. xo

  12. Frances

    This totally moved me. Also, the part 1 + 2 of your food relationship. I feel like everything in my life is where it needs to be, except for these two ducks that I can’t get in a row. My faith is very much like yours (Catholic upbringing, college classes, Buddhism, the Noble Truths, etc). But I don’t think I’ve really prayed since I was a kid. I plan to pick it up again, because of your post. After reading this and a few of your other posts, it just makes sense.

    Thank you so much.

  13. Ashley Wright

    I love and admire your honesty. I have a very similar outlook on God and spirituality…. which has been a struggle for me growing up in the South. Thanks for allowing your ‘real’ self to shine and inspiring others to pursue the ‘real’ them and goals.

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