“I’m sorry, ma’am, but you’re not going to be able to get on the ship.”
These were words I wasn’t expecting to hear that afternoon, the same afternoon I was supposed to set sail from San Diego for my destination wedding in Mexico. They wouldn’t let me on because I didn’t have a passport, and because Customs and Border Patrol had closed early that afternoon, they couldn’t verify my identify. I was getting married in 3 days and had no way to get on the ship to attend to my own wedding.
Despite the apparent impossibility of getting to where I had to be, I—believe it or not—made it. Like a character in an epic Rom-Com, I bartered and finagled my way to my destination in less than 24 hours. It was a miracle accomplished thanks to my crazy determination to make things happen. Sure enough, a couple days later, I walked down the sandy aisle, said, “ I do,” and lived happily ever after with my husband…
Not really. Not at all actually.
A short time after the wedding, it occurred to me that maybe hurdles I faced in getting to my wedding were the hands of fate sending me a giant red flag.
Sure enough, a year after we promised one another our love, I was sitting in my car with this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach, aching to avoid the next few scenes of my life. I knew I didn’t want to be married anymore, and sadly enough, he didn’t either. We needed to get un-married, something neither of us were looking forward to.
As we separated and divorced, I spent a good amount of time crying in fetal position on the floor of my sister’s bedroom, the bedroom I shared with her after leaving the marital home. I knew he was hurting just like I was, so I wanted that horrible transition to go as smoothly as possible.
In my newfound solitude on my sister’s floor, I thought about the handful of times he had hurt me in the years prior: things he said and did that shattered my heart into pieces and shot my self-esteem to non-existence. He probably thought our separation was my way of getting back at him for all those times. But that wasn’t the case. I didn’t hate him. In fact, I loved him more than I had ever loved him because, more than anything, I wanted both of us to have a chance at real happiness. And that’s why I didn’t want anything from him—not my furniture, not half the house, not financial help, nada. All I wanted was peace all around.
After beginning to process and heal, in depth, all my wounds from our past, I was soon on a roll. As I started to make my way back up from rock bottom, finally establishing a new foundation, I continued to work on all the hurt from the past to really heal and make peace with everything.
I realized I wasn’t angry at him or resentful towards him anymore. In this process I had learned him more than ever. Through this deeper understanding of him, I began to have compassion towards him and understand why he treated me the way he had. I was finally forgiving him.
After conquering that huge challenge, healing and moving on, I channeled my inner Elizabeth Gilbert, and went on a solo trip, my Eat, Pray, Love trip.
I travelled to France on my own on a spiritual adventure. I fantasized about being a female version of Indiana Jones, exploring the South of France and uncovering old relics that revealed deep truths about life and purpose. While I never found the Ark of the Covenant, the one big thing I uncovered was more inner work that I needed to be do, more forgiving and more letting go.
Before I retired for the evening on my last night in the South of France, I decided to sit in meditation and execute the emotional work I just discovered I still needed to complete. I contemplated who else or what else I still needed to forgive. I thought, “I had moved on already from my marriage, I was starting to find peace in my life already, what else was there to do?”
I realized, the one person I hadn’t forgiven was myself.
There I was, doing the work to forgive others that had hurt me in the past, but I had forgotten to forgive myself. I realized I harbored guilt for hurting my ex-husband, for no longer wanting to be married, and for not fighting for our relationship as I had done in the past. I was guilt stricken and angry at myself. All that anger, guilt, and self condemnation imprisoned me. It kept me from truly moving on and making space to invite in the kind of life I really wanted to have.
How could I have forgotten myself? Just as I had done the work to forgive my ex-husband and others, I did that same work on myself that evening.While I barely slept that night, I woke up feeling lighter than ever. I felt like a different person.
The next evening, I travelled to Paris. As I walked along the Seine River by myself during sunset in the most romantic city of the world, I noticed the swarms of couples canoodling in my vicinity. However, what rang loudest in that moment was not a sense of loneliness or longing, but the amount of joy that engulfed my entire being. I had forgiven myself and set myself free from all that which no longer honoured me anymore. I, for the first time, truly loved myself. I was free.
Divine Grace Buszka is an author, spiritual teacher and life coach. She provides empowerment healing through her San Diego practice Divine Grace Today. Divine Grace is publishing her memoirs on May 31,2017 to share her spiritual evolution to anyone seeking to manifest love and happiness.