silver linings

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“In the end, just three things matter:
How well we have lived;
How well we have loved;
How well we have learned to let go.”
~ Jack Kornfield

One thing I firmly believe is that for every negative event, every adversity we encounter in life, there is almost always an accompanying silver lining. Sometimes it’s easy and quick to identify. More often than not though, it may take some time and perhaps a bit of searching to discover. The bottom line is this silver lining — the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel –does exist; it’s just up to each of us to find ours.

The ending of a relationship poses no exception.

Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that after eight months of giving it the ol’ college try, another chapter in my book of relationships has come to an end. I am entirely sure that letting go was the right thing to do, however, it was still difficult. And, no matter how certain I am that we weren’t right for one another, that certainty doesn’t make the pain of losing someone you love any less real. So, the silver lining . . .

After giving myself a few days to grieve, I promptly shifted my focus to healing. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that difficult (ahem, further proof that the relationship was really, really not right for me) and I found that identifying the silver lining was quite simple: more time for me. Sure, I may be taking the easy way out on this one — of course ending something that involved spending a large portion of your free time with another person will result in additional time for yourself — but I’m sticking to it.

A continual struggle for me is my propensity to fail at holding to any sort of me-time schedule, promptly throwing previous plans of solitude by the wayside when an offer of something “better” arises. Thankfully, I have been improving in this area over the past few years; but to say I have perfected it would be a boldfaced lie. And, it seems that if there is any area that is the first to go when this so-called me time is restricted, it’s that of any type of spiritual practice, which is my case involves Buddhism and mindfulness.

Prior to meeting my most recent ex, I had established a fairly regular meditation practice that included multiple stints of head-clearing amazing-ness and the incorporation of mindfulness in my everyday activities. I had also been making a concerted effort to learn more about Buddhism and meditation, reading many books on the subject and even taking a few classes. I didn’t make a conscious effort to let it go, but it just sort of happened.

This week I began where I left off eight months ago with the meditation and already — in just a few days’ time — I can feel the difference. My head feels less cluttered, the stress of school and work isn’t having the same negative effect as it did just a week or so ago and I feel more at peace with myself. I have also committed to visiting a local Buddhism center this weekend with the intent of registering for a series of meditation courses.

Beyond Buddhism and meditation, I am making an overall renewed commitment to myself. I’m going to pay more attention to what I want, what I’m thinking, what makes me happy. This will involve oodles of journaling, lots of alone time and plenty of reflection.

I’m also returning to movement and exercise. Since early August when I found out the pain in my knee wasn’t just going to vanish and that I had to take a break from running, I have been harboring a lot of resentment and, well, honestly, I’ve been pouting. Running is something I really enjoy and it’s my preferred method of cardiovascular exercise and instead of finding a different solution, I pouted — and didn’t work out for nearly two months. Yikes! Last night I broke that cycle (I even ran a bit and experienced only a little pain) and it felt great. I guess it could be said I’m still working on the silver lining for that one . . .

Now comes the hard part of sticking to it, of keeping my commitment to me and not letting whatever next potential distraction enters my life become a disruption, again. I know from experience that making the decision to change, to start something new, is the easy part. It’s sustaining that change when life throws its inevitable curveballs —  that is the real challenge. But, you know what they say about challenges — each comes with its own silver lining.

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