On October 1st, I embarked upon a journey that was completely my own. A solo journey that required no co-pilot. A 30-day commitment to me, myself, and I; designed to cleanse myself of the residue from relationships past and to journey to the center of myself to a place of peace that could only be found by entering alone. I made the decision to do Mastin Kipp’s (The Daily Love) 30-day Love Cleanse, the admission to enter being all the pieces of my heart that had been scattered amongst ghosts from my past for so long, I no longer knew how to reclaim them without taking drastic measures. Thirty days later, I sit here wiser and more enlightened and surrendered to the fact that while I may never be in complete control of my heart, the power to have complete control of my emotions is mine.
So many things happened over the course of the past 30 days. The ground began to shift beneath me almost as soon as I started the process; with the powerful energetic waves of my decision to “lay down love” for 30 days sending out what I can only imagine as a distress call to the guys I’ve dated over the past few years: “Warning! We interrupt your regularly scheduled flirting to instruct you to reach out to Mandy this instant! Do it NOW!!! No time to lose!” I heard from ex-loves right and left. Randomly and out of the blue and one by one, they began to contact me; as though their primal instincts sounded an alarm to try and possess what was no longer on the market – my heart. Halfway through my Love Cleanse, THE boy…the one that has inspired the vast majority of my columns…resurrected himself from the graveyard of our many failed attempts at Happily Ever After and called me for the first time in three months. I also heard from my ex that I broke up with last year (the subject of my column about turning your break-up into a break-OVER) for the first time in about six months. Another ex sent me an email, asking me out. It got to the point where it was almost amusing, it was such a perfect illustration of the power of withdrawing your energy from seeking love and channeling it into seeking yourself. When you transfer your outward love energy into inward love energy, it’s a very powerful thing and creates almost an elixir to those people you once shined your light on. When they feel your spotlight move from them to YOU, it sends out shock waves that leave them dancing in the dark, desperately trying to rekindle that spark. The important thing for you to remember when that happens is to keep the homefires burning for you and you ALONE, and to not let the seductive temptation of using this newfound magnetic energy to try and reignite ashes into flames. The minute you do that, you willingly put out your own flame in favor of lighting someone else’s. And it’s important to remember to never trade your flame for someone else's spark. Why illuminate one room when you were born to eliminate the dark?
My Love Cleanse was also the catalyst for other revelation to track me down over course of the past thirty days. About two weeks ago, someone close to me looked at me and asked me: “Why do you always fall for unavailable men? You need to figure that out.” That sent an electric shock of self awareness through my entire body. Looking back at my past several crushes/flirtations/romantic involvements, the great majority of these men were either physically or emotionally unavailable; and in some cases, BOTH! There was The Boy, my very own Mr. Big – the ever-elusive, always dancing just outside my reach boy who was, at varying stages of our relationship (which has spanned the course of four years), been either completely emotionally closed off to me, or physically outside my proximity. As in, on the other side of the country. There was the boy who lived three hours away in Kentucky; the one I met on spring break who lived in New York; yet another boy who lived in California; and finally – my “break-over” ex who I at one point shared an address with but might as well have been on the North Pole, his heart and emotional reserves were so closed off to me. His words said he loved me – his actions sang a different tune. There are other examples over the years, but to really take a close look through my romantic archives and realize just how addicted to unavailable men I have been was a rude awakening and a call to action to figure out WHY. I began to search myself and my heart and to seek God (and whatever greater power you choose to subscribe to, I hope you will always look outside yourself for wisdom when something overwhelms you and you’re not sure where else to turn) – and just a few days ago, the answers began to come. And as they typically arrive at my doorstep, the answers came cloaked in pain; in an experience that with the wrong eyes, I could have grown bitter from instead of better from. An experience that I won’t go into the details of, but that hurt me greatly, and at the hands of people that are supposed to care about me and love me unconditionally and be my safety net when I fall. People that made a conscious choice to let me down in a major way, an unnecessary way, a way that brought back years of pent-up feelings of rejection and insecurity and hurt. Basically, it was at that moment that I realized something: unfortunately, over the course of my life, I have been given physical support and monetary support and spiritual support and even mental support; but very little emotional support. I’ve always been grasping for it, chasing it, trying to possess it – all while simultaneously running from it. The concept of emotional support is so foreign to me that when it has presented itself to me over the years, I have run from it; choosing to seek out those that remain tightly closed buds instead of blooming, thriving roses. As most humans do, I have been guilty of seeking out the familiar instead of the exotic – and emotional support and stability to me might as well be the Taj Mahal, it’s such a foreign, exotic concept. This was perhaps the greatest “aha!” moment of not just my past thirty days, but my past thirty YEARS. After all, if something is broken and we try to fix it with the wrong tools and the wrong instructions, we’ll just make it worse. But if we’re willing to take the time to get to the heart of the matter and dig deep and face up to the extent of the damage and repair the root of the problem no matter how many tears and fears we must face along the way, little pieces of ourselves will start to fall back into place. And before we know it, we’ll be whole again.
I am grateful, and humbled, and awestruck, and inspired by the lessons that I have learned over the past thirty days. By taking a hiatus from love and spending time dating myself and getting to know myself better, I have entered into a new place of understanding and patience and love for ME. For the often wrong, often imperfect, often uncertain person whose heart has lost many battles with love, but refuses to lose the war. At the end of the day, the Love Cleanse didn’t, as I had hoped, magically take away my feelings for my Mr. Big – but it did find the courage to look those feelings in the eye and tell them that from here on out, I am the one in charge – and I don’t have to allow my emotions to rule the day. I can be grateful for the chips and cracks in my heart left by past loves, because that’s how new love will find its way in. And I can go bravely and confidently into the world, daring love to find me; because at last, I have found myself. And that is perhaps the greatest lesson of all.