Mercedes is a millennial woman living in San Francisco who attended Renew’s wellness retreat in December 2017 in Malibu. A combination of serendipitous signs led her to attend the retreat, and today she shares her journey about how heartbreak enabled her to realize, create and embrace her own identity.
When was your first heartbreak. How did it affect you?
My first heartbreak was in 2014. I was 21 years old and it was my final year in college. He was my first “real” boyfriend who I coined as “serious”. We met on a rooftop in Downtown Los Angeles. We only dated for six months, but I was head over heels for him. He was so charming, he was older, he was handsome, and he was exciting. I was in over my head and knew nothing about boundaries, space, identity, or independence. I was quick to move myself in without consent or hesitation. One random night he sat on his bed while I folded his laundry and he said to me nervously… “I need space”. The rug was completely ripped from underneath my feet. I could not understand what was happening and why so sudden. I thought we were happy…I thought I was being a great girlfriend…I thought we were going in a good direction. I was devastated, I was confused, I was completely lost without him. I was hurt, so deeply hurt, and there was no way seeing it through; it was unbearable. I put my identity into that relationship. It was so glorious in my eyes, so fun, so fascinating and so vibrant. I was infatuated with him and everything about him: his eyes, his body, his laugh…I was in complete awe of him. When I lost him, I lost it all. I was on a very high cloud and the fall was nothing near exhilarating or pleasant. I cried myself to sleep countless nights, I prayed to a higher power to bring him back to me, I stopped eating, but I started painting. It was a dark place… a very sad and dark place. I began to chase him; I was desperate to have him back. I texted him and called him hoping he would want to rekindle, but that unfortunately led to a mountain of rejection. The breakup was traumatizing; the pain was traumatizing. It took me nearly two years to “get over him”. He set the foundation for a “serious partnership” and the work to get through the anxiety, the rejection, the pain, and the insecurity has been a journey.
What did you learn from that heartbreak?
Although it was excruciating, the greatest and most powerful offering I learned from that heartbreak was finding myself: my True Self. The depths of the darkness launched me into what is my strongest suit today: my spirituality. I found myself getting spiritual readings, tarot readings, crystals, sound meditations, lots of yoga, and connection with nature. I began my journey with books, I began questioning myself, my views, my outlooks on life. I started connecting with the world around me. I took a deep dive into the matters of my heart and spirituality lifted me out of my slump. In retrospect, I am grateful for that breakup. I am grateful I experienced the ultimate depths of despair because it catapulted me onto the path of Self: Self-realization, Self-discovery, and Self-love. I learned that my first love will always be my first love. It took me some time, but I did eventually forgive him. I forgave him first energetically through meditations and journaling; then four years later in person I actually thanked him for launching me onto my spiritual path!
Has there been a recent heartbreak experience? If so, what is the same and what is different in the manner you are healing from it?
I have been dealing with a current heartbreak, one that feels much more harder than the first one because I truly value and love this individual. It has been the longest relationship I have encountered and by far the most genuine. I learned countless new things about myself, how to communicate with a partner, what my triggers are, and how to really love. It was mature and it was mutual and I am so happy to say we ended our path peacefully and respectfully. We remained friends in favor of our friendship and our dogs, but unfortunately this deemed to be all too difficult, at least for me. My mind went up and down, yes and no, justifying and denying what I really wanted out of it. Finally, I owned what I desired, took a stance, and dove into a very real and vulnerable place to merge us back together. Unfortunately it was not unanimous and I was faced with the very real reality that is was time to move onward. What was so much different this time around was that I wasn’t as sad as my usual patterns hold me to be. I was actually more empowered that I got clear on what I truly wanted, spoke my truth, put myself out there, and ultimately accepted the rejection. This time I did not succumb to the false belief that because this man didn’t want to be with me that I had no value or worth. Quite the opposite happened! I OWNED my value and supported myself in who I truly am. I am rewiring patterns. I am growing out of a self-pity woeful post break-up girl to an empowered and proud self-valued woman. This self-acceptance is totally new for me and I am looking at myself with new eyes on a much deeper scale. The experience has been difficult yet incredibly beautiful and transforming. My courage to rise in authenticity has been liberating. I still hold respect for my ex partner and I hold respect for myself in the way I have been communicating and setting new boundaries for myself. I am leaning into the lessons that I am freaking awesome, life does in fact go on and I am going to totally be okay. Surely I have my moments and the darkness is very dark, but the cathartic light of transformation is also very brilliant and bright.
What was your experience of Renew? How did you go in and how did you leave differently?
Renew was indeed renewing. It is everything it is described to be and it is everything I recommend women should experience. I went in on a good note with my most recent break up and I came out feeling more grounded, confident, and reassured. From my extensive self-help knowledge, I knew some lessons we discussed, but there was also so much other material that left me feeling curious and insightful! I thought I was going there to help navigate through a breakup, but instead I found myself navigating through the stages of grief from the most recent loss of my beloved grandfather. I was astounded to see the very real similarities of death and a break up. I was appalled to see that all the hurt I thought I was carrying from the break up was in fact also hurt from my grandpa’s passing. I loved both men so dearly and they both left me around the same time. Talk about a serious heartache! The facilitators were informative and compassionate to my experience and the ladies I had the pleasure of creating a sisterhood with were also very supportive of my pain. Renew allowed me to understand the overlapping of grief that lies within all aspects of life. It allowed me to tap into deep places in my subconscious that I had no idea existed. I experienced multiple beautiful breakthroughs during the retreat and most of all, we cultivated connection. We created a support group and we anchored in together a love that will always transport us back to that mansion in Malibu, CA.
What is your advice to other women going through heartache / pain?
My advice to you dear sisters experiencing heartache is to truly be kind to yourself in this very painful state. Please hold compassion for yourself. You are perfect in every way that you are and I know that it is very very dark and challenging right now, but you can get through this. You will get through this. I fully understand those words are not what you want to hear, but you are not alone. Whatever the current situation is that you are experiencing right now, know that everything indeed does happen for a reason, whether you chose to believe it or not, and there is a lesson behind it that you will see in retrospect. Hold patience for yourself; time truly heals all. My biggest advice to you from my heart is to just trust that everything is going to be okay. You are Resilient. I feel for you as I myself am currently going through the woes of separation and understand that the pain of separation is a very real thing so be mindful of your feelings: acknowledge them and make friends with them. Feel your feelings, but do not allow them to suffocate you. You are in control here, darling, trust yourself.
What is your mantra?
My mantra is….Life is too short to not love fully and authentically. I have come to the terms that there will absolutely be the risk of getting my heart broken again into a million pieces, but after losing the love of my life (grandpa), I vowed to myself that I will not take any chances to not fully love authentically, whether it’s with friends, family, or partners. We only get one life and there is a tremendous amount of social conditioning that tells us we shouldn’t express our feelings to men we like. But WHY NOT? If he runs away when you do, is that someone you really want to be with? If he can’t handle your openness now, are you sure you want to invest in that person? It is amazing to get to a place where you can be vulnerable and feel good about it. It is not an easy place to get to, but it is possible to achieve and it is so LIBERATING! Anything is possible, be bold and believe in yourself.