I woke up this morning having dreamt about my ex-partner, yet again. It's become less and less frequent that I think of him when I'm awake, but there are still those nights when I go back into the pain- and the dreams are strikingly resemblant of our past. I'm sad, he's playing games, my dog is being adorable and I'm concerned about our family.
I've worked hard to move forward from that experience, to reorient to now and yes so as not to take up more mental space and energy by spinning around then and no. When my subconscious takes me there, I think it wants to remind me "you're still hurting, you still think this was unfair, you're still sad about how it all went down." And that's o-kay. Would I rather be dreaming about a tropical adventure with my loved ones? Absolutely (in Costa Rica, ideally), but I recognize that for some reason my mind is slower to accept what my heart has known for a very long time.
It's interesting to reflect on this because I think it's usually seen the other way around- that we have moved on from something logically but are still attached emotionally. For me, however, in this case, I truly experience it as my thoughts being fixed around something my feelings have moved on from. I know about myself that I have pretty powerful thinking patterns and that when my mind is presented with something challenging or stressful or upsetting it likes to spin it round and round, looking for a solution or way out (or in). In real life right now, my mind and my heart are happy, calm, safe, treated well, taken care of, and in love with my partner, Kevin. And dialectically (meaning two opposing truths can exist at the same time), there are also times when my thoughts go back to "figure out" or dwell on why someone that allegedly loved me treated me the way they did. Why I stayed for so long. Why I couldn't fix it. Why I was lied to. Why I had to go through that. Why I have to deal with it now. 'Why, why, why the board(BORED)game that helps you reject the truth!' (Please don't purchase it at Target or return it if you have).
I see it all with understanding and compassion. I was young when we met and many years of my romantic and partnership development were centered around him. My family has a history of treating people you love poorly but then reminding them that "of course you love them" and so it all just felt like home- in a way.
Each time, I come back. I know my work is acceptance- that when I take the wrong exit into a town I don't want to visit, I need to get back on the highway to my f r e e d o m. I know acceptance comes in all shapes and sizes and that the best thing I could do is not judge my process. I believe this kind of mental stuckness is bound to happen for most of us at some point and that when it does, the importance of mindfulness is profound. Coming back, observing our thoughts, validating them, getting in touch with our hearts, our values, moving from there. It works every time- on repeat.
Yesterday, in a conversation about a client, my partner said that talking about an ex (or even complaining about them) is a way to keep them around when they're gone. That strikes me now. It is grief that shows up in my dreams. My thoughts try to piece together a puzzle with missing and broken parts in order to find a way around the grief. To get angry or to get back in touch with what I've lost. When I get back to myself, I recognize that it's okay to grieve- a year later or an eternity later- and it's also okay to blaze the trail. Forward, onward and inward... Home.
I wish you lots of success in your related work!