Peace Is Learning the Lesson

“No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.” ~Buddha

It’s strange to feel peace while a part of your heart is being chipped away.

I’m in the middle of a heart chipping, but the longer it goes on, the more I’m realizing that it needs to be removed before it hardens the rest of the organ. Maybe the chipping is kind of like pruning a diseased tree so the remainder grows stronger and more resilient.

The cuts hurt like hell though.

The last few months have been some of the most difficult of my life. I’ve been trying to stand firm while my girlfriend determines whether she will stay in our three-year relationship or return to her former life.

Like it or not, and I really don’t, my own personal pruning must occur. I keep telling myself it will be worth it. I try to keep my highest prayer in mind, which is love, always love.

The pruning hurts like hell.

I’ve come to believe that love sometimes wraps itself around a process of letting go.

I don’t let go easily or often, but love helps me loosen my grip so that when I’m finally prepared, my knuckles are not quite so white from hanging on for dear life.

The pruning process of letting go releases the insanity in my life.

For me, the pockets where insanity lies—where I can’t tell the difference between what’s working for me and what’s not—nearly always involves a relationship of some kind.

Let me be clear: The process of releasing doesn’t necessarily mean letting go of the person. Sometimes, the pruning is about trimming back feelings.

The trimming hurts like hell.

Right now, I am totally messed up because the relationship with my girlfriend is the most significant in my life. We’re each highly invested and more than a little enmeshed. There’s certainly a lot of insanity mixed in with all the love!  

As the pruning occurs, I feel the sawing attempts to hack through the hardened knots of fear, knots made tighter by the very act of trying to slice through them.

Still I hold onto the notion that the core of me will be strengthened. That shred of belief is enough to bring me the peace I so desperately desire.

Facing the Insanity

My girlfriend read the first draft of this post and asked me if she is the diseased part of my heart that needs removal.

No, I told her (and meant it). It’s not her. The diseased part represents my responses and feelings around her choices.

In spite of our love and incredible soul connection, I must do certain things for myself while—not after—she makes her choices.

Here is the resiliency effect of my pruning:

  • I’ve established a personal drama-free zone.
  • I’m learning to say, “I can’t help you with that.”
  • I’m doing my best to climb down from the emotional cross and not drag it behind me.
  • I’m learning to not always (but still sometimes) engage in her circumstances.

We always have choices. Yes, even when we face life’s most knotted challenges.

I choose to believe that recent events—the ones that led me to trim the diseased part of me—are happening exactly as they need to in order for me to grow.

The circumstances, those hardened knots, may feel big and threatening, because that is the meaning I’ve given them. However, when I detach, I can see my part in the disease more clearly.

I can choose again. When I choose again, I can’t help but save myself from me.

Today, I choose gratitude for my circumstances, in spite of the pain.  

Choosing again gives me great results like:

  • Instead of debilitating fear, I stay present to small amounts of time without anticipating what may come next.
  • I truly understand that all things—and anything—are possible with surrender and trust in love, my highest prayer.
  • Suddenly, the pruned trunk of me reaches skyward into the beautiful dawn that follows a dark night. Yesterday may have been filled with torrents of tears and sweeping sadness, but I won’t dwell on these things because I have no desire to live them again. See? I’m already healthier and saner.

I understand that I often create my own knots. When I’m hurting, I bind myself tightly, thinking that I’m protecting myself.  

In reality, I’m stealing from my future because I’ve wrapped myself in knots of assumptions and what-ifs. I’ve wound them so tightly that I can’t breathe in what is today.

Detaching allows me to witness my behavior; I see so clearly how I rob myself of moments that I’ll never see again.

One day, I may fall back into old patterns of poor judgment, but now, in this beautiful place of new understanding, I trust that won’t happen today.

Today I’ll stay focused on the feeling that overcame me during the instant of surrender. It was divine intervention. That feeling is the one sweet memory of yesterday that I’ll clutch to my newly repaired heart. Nothing else is allowed—by my choice!

We always have choices. The healthy ones often involve a sort of peaceful surrender. Oh, there will be times when you'll slip back into old, insane ways of thinking, but the more you adhere to healthy choices, the easier it is to move back to peace.

You may find yourself in messy circumstances, but you'll learn to intuitively know that peace lies on the other side of life's varied lessons.

Photo by Mizrak

About Beth Wilson

Beth Wilson is the creator of B Here On Purpose, a solo-preneur company dedicated to mindful living, and writes a blog called B Here Today, about finding balance between our outer & inner worlds. Visit her at BHERETODAY.COM, where you can find her new e-book B Here On Purpose, or on Twitter & Facebook.

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  • Lv2terp

    This is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your journey and wisdom! 🙂

  • Heather

    Beth, I love your openness and honesty in this post. It’s a great lesson for all of us in remaining present and aware of what we can control and what we can’t. 

    It’s a lesson many of us (like me) need to be reminded of occasionally.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Love2Learn

    Going through a very similar situation involving my 11 year marriage, this certainly resonated with me. I choose how to react to my circumstances, and today I choose to let go and let it be. I have not been able to make that choice everyday, but it is getting easier to choose to see the blessings in my current situation rather than all the negative aspects of it. This I know will help in my healing whichever way this turns out.

  • Afeefa Husna

    This is very sweet. I love how selfless you’re being. It would take me a long time to think about all that I can do to stay away from pain. I loved this post and thanks a lot for helping me to cope up with my issues <3


    This really touched me,I  too am chooseing how to handle the end of my 22 year marriage, without bitterness,and am determined to grow and learn through the experiance.

  • Fiona

    Beautiful post. I wish you all the best.

  • bheretoday

    Afeefa, wow, selfless is definitely NOT a word I would use to describe myself!  Isn’t it funny what we can see in others that we don’t–or can’t–see in ourselves?  One of the wonderful things about blogs is that we do help each other cope . . . dealing with life on life’s terms is always easier when we do it together.  Best to you!

  • bheretoday

    Thanks, Fiona; good wishes coming right back to you!

  • bheretoday

    Frances, the grace with which we move through the endings in our lives will add to our peace.  Blessings to you as you find your way through this time.

  • bheretoday

    You’re so right, none of us responds well to all things every day, and it’s important to give ourselves grace when we don’t.  I’m holding you in bright, positive light!

  • bheretoday

    Heather, I’ve been blogging for almost two years, and admittedly, this was one of the most difficult pieces to write.  I know there are lots of people who wouldn’t dream of revealing something so intimate as the intricacies of a relationship, but for me, transparancy keeps me humble.

    By the way, my sweetie and I are growing and learning and committed to the process together.

    I really appreciate your thoughtful words.

  • bheretoday

    My pleasure! Thank YOU for reading and taking the time to respond. Peace to you.

  • songtothesirens

    As a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, I can understand the struggle to get past the pain using peaceful and non-confrontational methods. It is not selflessness, it is a deep seated desire to manage the pain of the breakup with your dignity intact while still remaining respectful to her, and compassionate about the situation.

  • ellen

    Your post is lovely in it’s honesty. As I read it I found myself thinking of my adult daughter who is choosing a life which challenges everything I believe. The heartbreak i have felt has been beyond compare.Your words brought me clarity, comfort and hope. Thank you.

  • bheretoday

    Ellen, before my mom died two years ago, she made peace with my life choices, although they certainly weren’t what she would have chosen for me.   It was a gift for both of us when she said, “Honey, I love you, period.”  I regret hurting my parents with the decisions I made but ultimately, as I grew into my own power, they also grew in realizing they could bless me even while disagreeing with me.  I wish the same peace for you and your daughter.  Thank you for sharing your heart.

  • bheretoday

    I have a friend who constantly reminds me to walk with grace and dignity.  Those two words changed my life.  Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Frankie

    This helped me feel a little at ease I am going through some transitions in my relationship right now. Major ones… so it gives me hope that even if things turn sour I can learn from the process and become better from it. Thank you for posting and sharing.

  • Beth, I hope you forgive me for noticing that this is one of these cases where pain leads to art… There is something about your very honest, personal expression that goes way  beyond the personal… What you describe is something most of us are familiar with and few of us are able to express in words. Thank you.

    Also, your post makes me wonder about words and what they mean. For me, surrender and pruning/trimming/cutting are very different processes. In surrender pain opens up in a sweet, flowing sort of way. In pruning, for me,  there is a sense of judgment and self-rejection and that doesn’t work so well in the long run. But that’s just me. I so honor and appreciate how each of us is different, unique, in the way we choose, the way we live, the way we express.

    Thank you from all my heart for sharing yours!

  • Such an honest and open piece – I feel honoured to have read it.  Thank you for sharing your story here.  I am still processing what you’ve said!  Best to you and your girlfriend.

  • Astamusvi

    Oh dear God, it does hurt like hell! Goodness! I love the light at the end of the tunnel though 🙂 Thanks for that

  • Angel Evelyn

    you are doing great* keep going and trust the journey* for me this week I have realized it’s not the destination it’s the journey* My whole life I was enmeshed in codependent relationships..a year ago I went through the biggest heartbreak of my life and I woke up to realize that I was responsible for a lot of what had happened..because I didn’t love myself or trust myself. I was putting someone else ahead of me. It has been a long year..I decided to stay with him for once and most of all trust myself. I have made so many positive changes. Now I know that what the man I live with says or does really has nothing to do with me but it’s because of himself..his own projection of reality. We can never know what anyone else is thinking or why they do the things they matter how close we are to them. I used to spend many hours worrying as well like you said..what if he does this? I think he is doing this? and even now occasionally I still can get that way..but when the negative voice starts talking..immediately I replace it with a good thought or a good mantra. The beautiful thing is you are in control of your mind and yourself and no relationship is more important than you. You are the best friend  you will ever have. The other thing is to realize even if it does end…that’s the way it’s suppose to be. Detach from the outcome and always let that other person be free to be who they are. Because if you want them to be, do or say something different than what they are you don’t really love them you love who you want them to be and that’s not reality. Namaste 🙂

  • bheretoday

    I don’t think I could have said it any better myself.  Namaste right back to you and may your journey toward yourself be rich with blessings.

  • bheretoday

    I’m so glad the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t an oncoming train!  LOL.  

    Isn’t it amazing how the more we go through hurtful times–and live to talk about them–the more we realize we can live through hurtful times?

    Thanks so much for your comment!  Love and blessings to you!

  • bheretoday

    Thanks for your kind words.  I’m still processing it too!  Some days we trudge, other days we skip, but at the end of each day, I’m grateful for the love.  

    Much love to YOU!

  • bheretoday

    I do see what you mean Halina.  Yes, I do sometimes feel the surrender process as a flowing stream, much as you describe.  However, I’m a stubborn fool at times and those times tend to require a more severe route to surrender that hurts like hell with the initial WHACK but then is able to flow more easily.

    And by the way, there is no forgiving necessary.  I am honored to have my words–albeit painful–described as art.  Thanks for that blessing.

    B well as your heart thrives and dances!

  • bheretoday

    Oh Frankie, my heart goes out to you.  What I know about processes–and I’ve been through several major changes in my life–is that any time we learn about ourselves we win.  Stay true to you, my dear, honor yourself and your convictions.  Anything less will cost you way more than the emotions of a transitioning relationship.

    Sending you love and light!

  • Love and appreciation to all of you! (including the “stubborn fool”! :-))

  • trying to be at peace with it

    Thank you so much for your message….you don’t even know how much you have helped me…Thank you

  • trying to be at peace with it

    Helpful words!! Thank you 🙂

  • August

    I can’t even tell you how much your article helped me. I am going through some painful and heart wrenching transitions and challenges in a very close relationship. The way that you’ve framed your experience helps me look at my own experience in a new way—one that allows me to see that all of these transitions and shedding of skin and chipping away at the heart is absolutely something I needed. When I look at it this way, yes, it still hurts, but I see that it is an experience where I have actually been given exactly what I have been asking for: An opportunity to grow and change and let go of the parts of me I don’t need anymore. Thank you. 

  • bheretoday

    August, it gives me a satisfied feeling to know that the Universe worked through me to provide words of strength and comfort to you. Sometimes we have to be absolutely sure we’re ready before we ask for what we want because the Big Time Clock may ring RIGHT NOW or it may hold off. Give yourself a hug; you’re doing quite well!

    Many Blessings!

  • bheretoday

    Dear Trying,

    Help and kindness is a privilege to provide, all I ask is that you pass it on.

    Take good care of your journey; make sure it is one overflowing with faith.

    Peace to you.

  • mary

    I really want to thank you for this beautiful message i needed this so much
    im definetly in your shoes i started to cry when i started to read it and as iread more the tears went away and my heart feels calm and stronger

  • bheretoday

    Dear Mary,

    I feel so honored to be a part of this emotional process for you. Isn’t it amazing how our hearts connect through the energy of emotion? Blessings to you as you walk your journey. I hope to hear from you again to know how your doing.

  • kavita1873

    i am in a middle of a mess myself and was really berating myself of falling back to old patterns.Reading this is like a breather.things that i need to do for myself-while and not after the choices are made-is something i am struggling with for the past two years.You made me feel at peace,a respite to a troubled soul.Thanks for that

  • bheretoday

    Hello and thanks for your comment. I am so grateful that my words offer a bit of comfort. Please be kind and gentle with yourself . . . whatever the past has held for you can be just that. Each of us gets a shot at improving our future which to me, begins when we decide to honor the sacredness of our own being. Love and peace to you, my dear.

  • jo

    Thank you……i feel so lost but this gave me new perspective….I’m grateful

  • Beth Wilson

    Dear Jo, I’m so glad that what you read gave you a bit of clarity. You know, I wrote this piece a long time ago and as I reread it, I realized that I’ve cycled through (again) similar fear processes. I think that’s part of our humanity. The difference for me has been that I didn’t sit in the sinkholes for nearly as long before shaking off whatever was killing my joy. I wish the same for you, that you find your peace and joy again. Blessings.