Something on page 156 of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love jumped out at me. The book has been at my bedside for a long time, maybe a year or two. Or three. The passage below of a conversation between Elizabeth and Richard from Texas speaks to me because of the hurt I have been carrying with me for the last four years.
It was back to normal state of mind by end of year one. Still thought of him every day but stopped crying at the mere mention of him in year two. Could see him and hold myself together by year three. I thought I am in year three until a Facebook memory notification pushed a memory of him from four years ago. Has it been that long?
A few months ago, I started having that disturbing feeling again. It feels like a knot in the heart and I’ve been having it on and off. I thought I had finally gotten rid of it and now it’s back. This time was almost as intense as the first, which was akin to having your heart pickled. Sometimes it goes away for awhile, but it would be there again in the morning.
The last episode, I suspect, was triggered by a difficult situation at work. Things were sorted out in the end but the feeling remained. So I continued to feel on edge, wondering if something really bad was about to happen. A few things did happen, but nothing that caused my world to crash down… and now I’m reminded that I finally feel… nothing.
It’s time to move on.
“I can’t stop obsessing over David. I thought I was over him, but it’s all coming up again.”
He says, “Give it another six months, you’ll feel better.”
“I’ve already given it 12 months, Richard.”
“Then give it six more. Just keep throwin’ six months at it till it goes away. Stuff like this takes time.
Someday, you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing and you were in the best possible place in the world for it – in a beautiful place of worship, surrounded by grace. Rake this time, every minute of it. Let things work themselves out in India.”
“But I really loved him.”
“Big deal. So you fell in love with someone. Don’t you see what happened? This guy touched a place in your heart deeper than you though you were capable of reaching, I mean, you got zapped, kiddo. But the love you felt, that’s just the beginning. You just got a taste of love. That’s just limited little rinky-dink mortal love. Wait till you see how much more deeply you can love than that. Heck, Groceries – you have the capacity to someday love the whole world. It’s your destiny. Don’t laugh.”
“I’m not laughing.” I was actually crying. “And please don’t laugh at me now, but I think the reason it’s so hard for me to get over this guy is because I seriously believed David was my soulmate.”
“He probably was. Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. People think a soulmate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your attention so you can change your life. A true soulmate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soulmate forever? Nah. Too painful.
Soulmates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can’t let this one go. It’s over, Groceries, David’s purpose was to shake you up, drive you you out of that marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it. This was his job, and he did great, but now it’s over. Problem is, you can’t accept that this relationship had a real short shelf life. You’re like a dog at the dump, baby – you’re just lickin’ at an empty tin can, trying to get more nutrition out of it. And if you’re not careful, that can’s gonna get stuck on your snout forever and make your life miserable. So drop it.”
“But I love him.”
“So love him.”
“But I miss him.”
“So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, and then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’re really alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen when she’s totally alone. But here’s what you gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with ghtta be.”
“That doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.”
“But I wish me and David could – “
He cuts me off. “See, now that’s your problem. You’re wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughta be.”