I’d never have imagined that a trans-atlantic plane ride would turn out to be one of the most important clarifying moments of my life.

The vacation that preceded the plane ride sure wasn’t. Far from the romantic vacation that my former partner and I had planned. 

In the months prior, we’d imagined skirting around Italy in relational bliss, hopping on trains, buses, water taxis and touring all the museums we could fit in. Eating creamy gelato in piazzas. Sipping regional vino in the vigneto. Drinking espresso at seaside cafes. Soaking hot bones in the cool waters of the Med.

And we did all that. But without the kind of love that precedes relational bliss. 

You know what I mean.

We’d reached a state of relationship disrepair that normally would’ve caused us to part ways as kindly as possible, with love and respect for each other. And probably not seen each other for a few months. At least long enough to let the annoyance and triggers simmer down.

But when you’re forced to travel with your recent ex-partner for three weeks in a foreign country, let’s just say…

It takes a lot of restraint and compassion to love someone that you believe causes you pain.

It was hard. Really hard. We ended up in quarrels that never ever happened during the actual year-ish relationship. But we got it all out. We divested ourselves of all that needed to be said. And ultimately, we got to the raw core parts of ourselves that needed to be seen and heard and loved, so that we could do that for ourselves and eventually each other. 

And how do I feel about the fact that my romantic trip to Italy turned into a 3-week personal development workshop?

Other than my bewilderment that you can’t make this shit up…

Let’s just say I’ve never felt more blessed.

I’ve been on this personal development journey my whole life. Literally, sometimes it seems it’s the only thing I do (so say my children). 

I’ve been trying to find the ego parts that are responsible for the still small bits of suffering that I find in myself. There’s not much left, but…

The small unheard-unseen-unloved voices still exist, and to love myself fully, they need to be integrated or resolved too.

So what happened on the plane ride home?

My ex-partner and I were each recuperating in our individual cocoons on the plane (aka earplugs, movies, music), exhausted from our vacation. I was listening to an audio recording from a professional development course I’d taken this past year [to figure out what types of specific ego parts we each hold…duh- what else would you do on a long plane ride home.]

Then BAM!! 

Almost like a suitcase fell out of the luggage bin above me…. It hit. The ego parts that resonated with my ex-partner (and created my own projections onto him, and caused me to give my power away!) stood out like they’d been illuminated with kryptonite. I saw my own split ego states, the projections I’d flung onto him and the introject from my childhood. They were all there plain as day.

I’d never have discovered these aspects of me without the 3-week trip that challenged my very nature, despite having been on a treasure hunt to find this stuff for a lifetime. And without a best friend who was willing to endure this with me.

You can’t pay enough money for this stuff.

Bottom line was that on this very weird sardonic vacation I learned to 1) stay in love with myself and another human long enough to figure out what wasn’t lovable about us both, and love that too, 2) recognize the parts of me that were triggered by someone else, and see the loving mirror that the universe brought to my door, 3) be grateful for my amazing life and all that it brings to me, which includes gelato, vino, espresso, amazing museums in Italy and a friend who can handle my need to grow through every difficulty I experience, mostly so I won’t have to do it a second time. 

I’m sure there’s a 4) in here somewhere.

Yea, YOU. I get to help you live into the fullness of loving yourself in a way that you’ll end up as the real you that loves even the perfectly messed-up parts of you that need to be healed.

And when you can do that,  you will eventually express the real version of you that’s inside. The authentic purposeful version of you. I know that all sounds like new age crap, but it’s the real-est thing we got. It’s really all there is, in this nefarious world we live in.  We got ourselves, and we got each other. 

Let’s love the heck out of us, the best we can, ego parts and all.