I thought it was going to be more painful to look at the pictures when they started popping up on Facebook as "memories.”
Our beach wedding in Mexico. Our adventures through Southeast Asia. Tahiti. New Zealand. Australia. Three years ago today. Seven years ago today. Five years ago today. The road trips through the Pac-North West. Grand Canyon. Utah’s Mighty Five. Fuck. What an amazing fucking ride.
When I look at the bigger picture, I’m filled with gratitude for all of the things I got to experience with my ex-wife. The memories. The once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. The richness in which we attacked life. That. All of that. Regardless of where we’re at now, and how painful the ending was, all of that still happened. I experienced them. It was real. The madness of being madly in love with someone was something that I got to feel.
The moving to Costa Rica with the — at the time — love of my life. Pura vida con mi amor. The experience of teaching in the same classroom. It was like we were raising twenty 3rd graders together. The local explorations. The friends we met. The communities we became a part of. Shit, the endless travels while living abroad too. The flights to Cancun. The bus rides to Belize and Guatemala. Nicaragua. Back to Costa Rica.
Ahhh, Costa Rica. Gracias por todo!
What richness we got to experience together. Two lovers. Two travelers. Two flames that thought they were twins.
I could continue to flash my passport and swim through the sea of my memories, but then I’d just be gloating. The point is, even though it didn’t work out for us, I would have still chosen that path.
My thoughts began to flip the script.
I’d become quicker at redirecting the narrative in my head.
That’s what I kept telling myself.
That’s how I made peace with it.
“It wasn’t meant to be forever, Jon. It was just meant to be.”
To be honest, I was surprised at my ability to pivot so quickly. That doesn’t mean I didn’t experience the plethora of human pain that comes from heartbreak, but my alchemy had grown in skill. I knew how to swallow the pill.
It started while I was working on the audiobook for Exit The Dragon. It was a trip. Here I was, narrating about a time in my life when I was letting go of the one thing I loved more than anything. Here I was, in the present moment, letting go of the one thing I loved more than anything.
A younger me was coaching an even younger me, and yet the me in the present, needed to hear those exact same words. I felt like Dr. Strange astro projecting — seeing myself coach myself by listening to myself coach myself so that I could hear myself tell myself what to do. Some Alice in Wonderland, Matrix, Inception type shit.
The universe was using my audiobook to heal me. I was using my audiobook to heal me.
“Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?”
I’d quoted Aurelius in my book. It was one of the things that helped me find acceptance with what was, back then. Timeless wisdom indeed from the Emperor.
But just like in the book, I had to go beyond the epiphany. It had to grow beyond the thought. I actually had to live and apply those words in order for them to work.
My heart still hurt, that was for sure, but I knew what needed to be done so that I could move on and show up to life with a cleansed and renewed spirit.
If I kept looking at the pain in front me, I’d continue to feel down and defeated. Trapped in the past. Trapped in worry. Trapped in fear.
When I pulled back and focused on the bigger picture, however, everything became more clear. I could embrace the experience wholeheartedly. I could forgive and let go. Holding on to the hurt would only slow me down. Keep me down. Keep my face smeared in disgrace and feeling like I was behind in a race.
But I’m not.
I’m not in a race.
I’m here, I’m present, and embracing life again with a genuine smile on my face.
Seeing the bigger picture isn't about denying what happened or the emotions attached to the experience. It's about letting go of those attachments so that we can rise to a more elevated perspective; a more aligned and beneficial narration to the story we tell in our heads.
We can’t change what happened.
Not with anything in life.
What we can change, however, is how we see it.
So... how do you want to see it?
November 17, 2021