Lessons from Kaho'olawe

Here is the story of how I fell in love with a broken heart.

I was 19 the summer of 2009 when I met JL. He was my first serious partner, through innocent friendship and flirting, to dating and falling in love. Our relationship was a challenge from the start with outside influences weighing in as my young soul was still discovering who I was without anyone controlling me.

JL was my safe place after a lifetime of journeying to independence. In our relationship I learned so much. We were together for four years and became engaged midway. Our love felt like a fantasy.

During this time many situations arose where I was mistreated. As most abusive cycles go the mistreatment was alternated between apologies and deep passion.

Leaving felt impossible and we separated many times, only to be drawn back to each other like gravity. Finally, with him sitting across from me in my bedroom, I shook with an anxiety attack and told him not to talk to me anymore. I saw him one last time at an event and then he vanished for four years.

Then he came back.

I got a message on my phone about half a year ago from him. I always thought when I spoke to him again I would yell at him and rage out from the pain he caused me. Like usual, I immediately was kind and forgiving. We spoke often from then on, processing our past and sharing how much we had grown and changed since then. It felt exactly how I wanted it to, like reuniting with a best friend. It felt like healing medicine to the parts of myself that he had hurt.

We made plans to connect in person as he was traveling my way. And then, he ghosted me.

Fresh blood poured from my little beating heart. How. How. Why. Why would this person hurt me, again.

I was furious.

After all those years and talks, this person who I have felt immense amounts of love with chose to hurt me AGAIN. All the excuses in the world went through my head, none of them sufficient.

While visiting Maui for a meditation course last month I stayed on a property that looking west had a view of the smallest of the eight Hawaiian islands called Kaho’olawe.

This island is known as a sacred area to the native Hawaiian people. Through colonization the land has rode many ups and downs. In World War II American military used Kaho’olawe as a bomb range and military training site.

Today the land and surrounding waters are an island reserve and is protected by law to be used for cultural, spiritual, and preservation purposes. It is said to potentially still have explosives and the only way to go on the island is to volunteer with the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission.

I watched the sun set over this island every night. During the day the red color of the land would sparkle in the sun. Such a beautiful island, so mistreated in the past is now protected.

One night while in silent meditation I felt how furious I was at JL for hurting me. I picked at my dinner and then huffed off, pacing around the property. As I walked in circles along the shore, sweating with the heat of my rage and pain, I thought about this island that I faced across the waters. I thought about it’s story, and I felt a connection to this part of my heart that JL touched.

I started thinking of my heart as a preserve. A land that had been through a lot, and so was cherished to the point of having boundaries to keep it untouched. My heart was hurt and so it deserves a place of peace. Others who did not know its value may have stomped on it, but no more. Likewise my own energy has not always been helpful, so I am protected also from my own influence. This part of my heart is to be seen and respected.

In thinking this way I felt a softness come over me. Knowing that these boundaries protect me allowed me to forgive myself for allowing the patterns of pain to continue.

Now I sit and watch this part of me. I love it. The sun setting over my heart reminds me that I am safe.✨

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