“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
To discount the notion that time, and an extensive amount of it, is necessary to reflect, resolve, and re-purpose the events of our lives, particularly those associated with strong emotions, is folly. Speaking out of my own experience, I never understood people who invoked time tables regarding the length of time necessary between relationships. My relationships have ALWAYS overlapped (take that as you will). I was never without a man and I was proud of that.
Only recently have I realized how misguided I was.
First of all, processing takes an extremely long time. Quiet reflection is difficult in light of cellphones, television, emergency vehicles, apartments with thin walls, whiney children and the like. Uninterrupted time is rare, but it is necessary for the Process. I now think that is why people suggest at least 6 months to a year of singleness after a lengthy OR intense relationship. Even a short but emotionally intense relationship can leave you much material to process. The danger in the overlapping is the same danger that is associated with overloading the Random Access Memory in your computer. The more programs that are running at one time, the longer it takes to process and eventually the system will crash. Crashing is not just a possibility; it is the inevitable outcome.
The failure to process or undue interruption during processing creates scarring. The scars make it hard to move below the surface when we come to the topic again. The most efficient way to do this work is to recognize that it takes as long as it takes. Your computer may start up and run 9 times out of 10 with 10 programs running, but you can bet it will begin to act funky at a time most inopportune and you will be forced to stop and restart or reboot, or re-image. The process of repairing will begin with or without your consent. You can only ignore the necessary work for so long.
Six months to a year is a good rule of thumb before considering to get into another relationship because it takes into account the fact that we work and have family and friends, and that life in general interrupts and gets in the way. Allowing ourselves the aforementioned time accounts for the fact that most of us do not have the luxury of days or weeks of solitude. We may have to reflect on one incident at a time while eating, showering, or driving our cars and we may not be able to document our reflections until much later. This leads to forgetfulness and slippage. So, maybe you thought of an incident, but whatever meaning you made of it is lost in 5:00 traffic.
We must work our recovery like a job! We must schedule time to do this work and ensure we have the tools of our trade, which at the very least must be pen and paper. For some this may even mean access to a guru, mentor, therapist, etc. Ultimately, no matter who you hire, we must all do our own work and this work requires solid meditative practice, dedicated time, and a willingness to question everything.
Revelations often come softly. Eureka moments are rare. Awareness often creeps in from the outer edges and we are sometimes unconsciously aware before we give conscious attention to an issue. So by all means, make time for peace of mind. To do otherwise is to cheat yourself and waste the wonder of your experiences.
I hope that as you read, you feel my heart reaching out to you across the vastness of space and time and that my intention and love both meet and greet you. Be well.