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  • Writer's pictureDiann Schindler, Ph.D.

I loved. And, I loved deeply.

I often find myself thinking about former lovers. So weird!

Honestly, I didn’t have that many. Yet the memorable ones seem to pop up in my mind, without warning.

Once, while walking on a beach on the Mediterranean Sea in Spain, I suddenly was taken back, at least four years earlier, to the white sands of a popular beach in Florida where Sam and I, hand in hand and each holding a glass of red wine, had an incredibly romantic epiphany.

One April, I was on a road trip through the Balkans to Croatia, peering over the limestone cliffs of the Adriatic Sea. The Dalmatian Coast is beauty like I have never seen since. Why, then, did my mind’s eye go to Rob and his sweet facial expression as he handed me lavish bouquet of pink roses just as the private jet he secretly chartered lifted us off to a posh tennis resort in Canada?

In Paris, the garçon served Chateau Vignol Clairet. He paused as I swirled, tested the nose, peeked at the legs, sipped and slurped before finally nodding in approval. It took me back to a stunning wine tasting event in Virginia. I was with Adam.

I haven’t thought of these men in years. Why, then, these flashbacks?

Perhaps it’s because I have time, given my life of travel. Exploring the world is simultaneously invigorating and calming. And, it’s true, my senses are heightened.

I see hear, small, see, taste, feel, both physically and emotionally, more intensely than ever before. My dreams, formerly in black and white, are now in glorious colors.

This exhilaration is often followed by tranquility. I have more time to ponder. My thoughts are deeper and clearer. And, so are these fond images of my past. Truly, it is as if I am there, once (or thrice!) again.

After futile dwelling on the “why", I reached a realization. I chose to embrace the notion that the Universe was nudging me to reach out to old friends, just to say "hello," subtly acknowledging our time together.

It’s worth noting that these relationships emerged in considerable wonder…each beautifully giving, loving experiences. Alas, they are no more.

The denouements were often tearful, but also mutual. Or, we quietly moved on and they faded away. Frankly, I don’t recall the exact reasons the connections ended. Perhaps it should matter. However, it doesn’t to me, not now.

Every one had its blissful moments and meaningful memories. Those moments and memories were an important part of my life. Each connection was a gift, at the time and as a memory today, no less. They continue to exist, if only in my mind.

Truth be told, I value the pleasant times and, therefore, I value the men, as well.

At a time, each was extremely important to me and the mutual fondness continues to be a part of who I am, even though we have moved on.

I cherish the positive experiences we shared.

For whatever reason I convinced myself at the time, I reached out to these men, either through social media or email. And, recognizing that their lives have gone on and other people may indeed read my message, I wrote cautiously and carefully, so as not to mention anything of our past and thereby perhaps disrupt any relationship they may currently enjoy. Furthermore, I didn’t want them to assume I was trying to rekindle the past.

Therefore, my messages were the typical “hello, how are you? Hope this finds you happy and healthy. I just wanted to touch base with…it’s been a long time. Please drop me a quick not and let me know how you are….” Simple, unassuming and non-threatening.

I waited, eagerly of course, admittedly dwelling on each reflection.

Here's what happened:

Sam never responded.

Rob wrote back with an aloof message that turned angry, almost mean-spirited.

Lastly, my Adam. Note, Adam and I had had the most meaningful relationship with years of demonstrating and professing our love for one another. However, it was the wrong time. We agreed to say goodbye and move on.

Adam responded to me with an extremely businesslike, professional tone. I replied, asking about his family, trying to soften to a more personal conversation. His tone didn’t change in his three-sentence response. And, when I wrote again, three years ago now, he never answered all.

Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe my reaction. I was shocked, hurt, and angry.

“How dare they try to take away our past!” I grumbled to myself.

I felt I had been erased, dismissed, eliminated. I wondered the real reasons for reaching back to them and putting myself through this painful loss. It was like I lost their friendship and grieved all over again.

Of course, I didn’t have a relationship or even a friendship. Furthermore, I hadn’t had either for years.

What was I thinking?

Over time, my attitude evolved from disappointment and anger to embracing another lesson. The Universe is always teaching me.

I was reminded of Buddha:

“Arbitrarily seeking fulfillment in another is an attachment based on a craving which will always ultimately end in suffering.”

Yes, to tell the truth, I was looking for validation. Dammit!

Buddha also says: “You only lose what you cling to.”

Ok, clinging be gone!

Of course, lessons are processes, requiring time to permeate and take hold for actual transformation to occur.

Because of my lifestyle, virtually void of possessions and responsibilities, time has slowed for me. I have time to listen, hear, learn, grow, and...this is important!...recognize I have much more to learn. It never ends, thankfully.

So now, I embrace those wonderful memories, absorbing all aspects…the sounds, the smells, the warmth of touch, as well as the gamut of emotions. I allow myself to feel it all.

Ultimately, I give myself permission to release the remembrances with love and peace, recognizing I can experience them again and again without wonting.

I loved. And, I loved deeply.

I am grateful.

How about you? Do you have similar stories to tell. I want to hear them! Please write to me!

NOTE: The names are changed to protect our pasts.

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