August 23, 2019

Ever since Ian passed away nearly five months ago, I’ve been working hard to keep my mind and heart open — to listen to what the universe has to say and allow it to guide me. This morning, it spoke so clearly.

My body naturally woke up at 5:30am so I had time to drink coffee and scroll through Instagram (like most social media addicts do first thing in the morning!) before my 6:15am yoga sculpt class. I stumbled across the post below from Mark Groves (@createthelove) about self-love that sparked my intention for today and the rest of this post.

Later in class, the instructor asked us to think back 10 years ago and identify something that we had wanted then, and had now achieved in the present. The emotions inside of me immediately started to stir…

Ten years ago was 2009. I had just graduated college and Ian and I had decided to take a break while I went to grad school and he went to China to kickoff his hotel career. While I had outwardly agreed to take this “mutual” break, inside my heart was broken. I loved Ian and wanted him in my life so badly. Why couldn’t we make it work long-distance? I had no interest in dating anyone else, so why break up? I wanted him.

But, the truth was that I did need time to date other people — other people being MYSELF! And, Ian felt that too. It’s not that we didn’t want to be with each other, we just needed time to love ourselves as unique individuals, separate from our other half. To grow. To develop. To figure out who we really were apart.

So I did. I took an unforgettable trip to Greece with my mom, earned my graduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University, moved to Miami Beach to work with the world-renowned Miami City Ballet, took drawing classes, dance classes, ran my first half-marathon and explored all that mattered to ME! I dove in to all of the activities, interests and passions that often get pushed aside when we devote too much of ourselves to a relationship. And you know what? Everything worked out. Five years later Ian and I were happily married — two independent, self-confident individuals whose mutual respect, sacrifice, and vulnerability culminated in a passionate, boundless love for one another.

So fast forward to this morning in yoga sculpt…

Ten years ago I wanted Ian. Five months ago, I had him. Now, I don’t. As my breath shortens and my eyes start to well up, I pause. Yes, Ian is no longer physically with me. But, I still have our LOVE. I have loved and have been loved and it takes self-love to make that happen.

Right now I feel a void in my heart reminiscent of the void I felt during our break ten years ago. I’m lonely. And, I’m sad. I had that type of love that Mark wrote about in the post above. That messy love that is so hard to come by and involves owning your bull shit, being vulnerable, communicating constantly, sacrificing your wants and desires, and sometimes putting somebody else first. I did that for Ian. And, he did that for me. We loved. I will always have that love. And, that love is a gift that I will treasure forever.

When Ian got really sick, we made a bucket list of experiences to do together. We crossed off most of them — family road trip to San Diego and a trip to Italy and Spain — but unfortunately we didn’t get to all of them.

Tonight, I’m going to see Kygo in concert. I’m crossing this experience off of our list. I’ve been listing to Kygo’s music nonstop to get pumped up for this experience and have now trained Izzy to love the following song “Shine.” I tell her that it reminds me of daddy. And I tell myself that this is Ian speaking to me in the lyrics below…

I hope you find a love that’s true

So the morning light can shine on you

I hope you find what you’re looking for

So your heart is warm forever more

-“Shine”, Benjamin Francis Leftwich (Kygo Remix)

(Click here to listen to the song. Seriously, do it!)

To me, this is Ian reminding me that I will find love again. And when I do find a second love it won’t take anything away from my first love with Ian. But for now, I’m devoted to self-love.

So, if you are already in love, hug that special someone tightly and kiss them with compassion and gratitude — because together you’ve created a bond that is so hard to come by. And, if you have not found that person or are struggling in a current relationship, maybe shift the focus within to loving yourself. Let your light SHINE!

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