I have been feeling like something has been broken inside for a couple of months now. For a while it showed itself in a variety of back and neck ailments, but lately it is more diffuse and more amorphous. Sometimes it is a physical sensation, but just as frequently it is a visceral experience of being overwhelmed and exhausted. The drive part of me is stalled.
In part at least, it is impossible to not face the reality of exhaustion. The deep tired that doesn’t go away from even a good night’s sleep. In the middle of the day, for no reason, I wish I could take a nap. I know I am not alone in this category as we all push beyond the limits, work too much, overcommit in a million ways. Fatigue has many unattractive thought patterns that jump on board and feel so entirely real that it is hard to remember that you are only tired. I work to remind myself that the story line is only that, and that the only thing that is for sure is that rest is a good thing.
These symptoms that I am describing can apply to relationships with almost the exact same descriptions. The experience of being overcommitted and exhausted often creates feelings of deficiency and hopelessness. The moments in the relationship where something is broken, the attraction is nowhere insight, communication has a hard edge, touch is gone. It is hard to remember what is driving the relationship, harder still to remember why promises were made.
The only answer to living with the broken parts of ourselves and our relationships I think is learning how to love them. This is not a pie in the sky response, it is a challenge of the highest nature. What inner strength, courage and faith is waiting to be found to carry you through this lonely place? Learning to not abandon ourselves when we are broken gives us the tools to stay with our ailing relationships.
Staying with ourselves in our dark moments, not spinning them into chapters of bad storyline, and having the courage to feel the depths of our brokenness is not for the faint of heart. Even the Buddhist monks struggle with these places where the highs and lows of life are a distraction. Equanimity is what they call this place of peace with all that is broken in life.
I always tell people that when their relationship is hard, this is not the time to leave, it is the time to love it more. I am trying to take my own advice about love in the moments I want to leave.