Kahshanna Evans shares a little Pre-Valentine’s Day alchemy for singles wishing for closure. You’ll need a candle, pen and paper, and an open heart.
We all know the sting of winter—when the weather cools and we are utterly, undeniably single, with no suitors in sight. Friday and Saturday nights in the hip areas of town are laced with couples who make love seem effortless; holidays like Valentine’s Day can make the experience even worse. With every happy couple that leans in to whisper or flirt with the other, the reminder of what we don’t have persists—there’s no escaping it.
What burns even more are memories of hurtful words, left behind after breaking away from meaningful relationships which, for whatever reason, just didn’t work out.
What if the only reason our heart sinks and our eyes water as we compare being single to love between others is we have not yet retrieved the wisdom left by each hurtful circumstance?
We act to preserve our hearts, even when we’ve involuntarily inspired harsh feedback about who we are from those we trusted the most. Words that touch a live wire somewhere in our soul can lead to reactions and defenses in a relationship as the newness wears off. It happens.
What’s worse is when we begin to identify with it, even if it was punishing, harsh, or attacking.
No over-simplified anecdote can soothe an aching heart that is still mending, but we can be active in confronting the fears we have surrounding indictments from previous relationships. In order to transform heartbreaking words said in anger that still echo, here is a little soul alchemy to promote healthy closure and make new space for healing.
1. Create an intention about retrieving wisdom and write it on a small piece of paper.
Write a few sentences about the specific intention. Place the intention, folded or otherwise, under a candle. Know that commitment will fuel progress yet kindness to self is required in order to promote healing rather than more wounds. If you don’t know what to write, consider this:
“It is my intention to gently retrieve wisdom from past hurts so that I can heal my heart.”
2. Light the candle and acknowledge the power of intention.
You have begun. The light has been connected to your interpersonal journey. Next, list the most hurtful part of past loves that you can remember. If your tears could speak when you see love birds lacing local eateries, what would they say? It’s important here to have the courage to be honest without judging yourself. While forced optimism can get us a dream promotion in a work situation, it can hinder personal healing. If you feel afraid or nervous, look at that piece of paper you just placed under the candle. That is your map. Trust it. If you get lost, return to it.
Looking over a list like this can mean we remember things said in anger, but only a master can travel beyond the hurt and source information that can help rebuild the heart. In sharing ourselves intimately with another we may discover we felt unworthy, disrespected, treated poorly, neurotic, temperamental, teased, cheap, unsophisticated, dirty, dishonest or spoiled. While these may be labels that sting, it’s important to be clear about residual feelings in order to find our light again.
4. Going down the list with the fears noted for each hurt ask yourself, what’s so wrong with being [fill in the blank].
Beyond the items you listed you may now realize there are feelings and emotions that you are working with rather than the original situations that inspired the exercise. Go down each listed item and check in with your feelings. Are there any self judgements that make these comments stick like glue? It’s not merely the opinion of a lover, but our opinion about ourselves that anchors the belief in deeper. Write those down next to each item.
Since when did it become bad to be dualistic, imperfect, complex beings with physical, mental and spiritual needs? We’re human. Looking at a list like this, which by now may be smudged with tears, we may realize we haven’t made time to grieve properly or remember how wonderful it is to celebrate how far we’ve come. We sometimes skip our own feelings about the very topics that inspired hurt in past relationships. In all of the chaos that feedback can touch it’s easy to just deal with the immediate circumstance when it happens, rather than continue processing the parts that really shook us emotionally.
To retrieve wisdom we may look back and recognize there is more to be gained by our thoughts and feelings about the very hurtful exchanges that we are now healing from.
5. Looking at the list, as that candle continues to burn, it’s time to make some decisions based on what you would like to bring with you and what you are ready to leave behind.
Remember, this is not about covering up, or seeming to be unaffected. This is about being human, owning who you are and honoring yourself beyond anyone else’s rules or opinions about who you are or who they think you should be. This is about taking your power back and connecting to your path of love, purpose, depth, joy and freedom. If you feel like stopping, breathe, be gentle, but don’t stop. This is important. It’s for your Soul.
6. Choose which items you will either celebrate, accept and make room for, or look to improve because that way of being no longer serves you.
If there are any habits motivated by deeper levels of grief or fear, such as memories of assault or trauma, genuinely ask yourself if it’s time to continue that healing journey with a professional who can support wellness for you in a healthy way. Reach for that iOS or Google Calendar and hug yourself. It’s time to take action and schedule. Healing doesn’t always happen alone. You’re human, remember. You’re not on your own, you are owning who you are. There’s a big difference.
Now that you know you’ve made space for all of you, not just the Yoga you, or the wellness you, or the healer you, but the whole you, there’s more space to dream your next chapter into being. Isolating, falling into poor eating habits or feeling stuck can officially be swapped out for motivating and taking actions on what’s next in your life. Now, you can list this next part, but hopefully you’ll be inspired enough to live it.
Who are you? Why is it so great being human? How far have you come? What do you have to offer the world? Do you embrace love? Are you grateful? What wisdom have you gained by each item? Write it down. Step out of that box, release limiting and negative beliefs and redefine who you are allowed to be. There’s no mold other than the one you make.
7. With reverence, take that paper under the candle and the list, crumple them up and burn them outdoors.
The shamans believed that smoke takes our dreams into being and all else is burned away helping us on a spiritual level when we allow divine support from That Which is Greater Than Ourselves. Offering our hopes and fears to the fire is one way to trust nature and let the sacred element support deep soul work and transformation.
We have the choice, at life’s every turn, to inspect the soul contracts we make about relationships, love and how much of our hearts we want to share. It’s our job to keep those beliefs healthy and aligned with our dreams but there is a sacred pace to healing. It can’t be rushed. When we allow ourselves time to process old sorrows we free our heart and realize love never was a failure, it was a victory. Tears not only gently nudge us when it’s time for personal inventory, or signify grief and depth but they also denote self acceptance, compassion and peace when the work is done. Only then can the aching heart transform into a free one.