This is a long story. And still it is of course far from complete. Relationships (and people) are so complex, and with every statement I made, I could have added the opposite and it would have been right too.
The point of all this is to give you hope that there is life and light even after a great love relationship has ended.
Hi, I am Jutta
21 years ago, i flew to Namibia to make a movie about diamond divers.
Once there, i fell in love.
With the desert, the silence, the heat, the jackals roaming our camp at night... and with a journalist I met while doing research.
When I had heard his name for the first time, back in Munich before our crew left, I felt an energy like a lightning bolt shoot through me. It was the strangest sensation, and it made me very curious to know more about him.
When we did finally meet, I knew I had found my prince charming.
So I moved to Africa, to find out if we could make this work.
In the beginning it was easy. We couldn't keep our hands off each other. Everything was new and exotic and wonderful.
After some time, we realised that there were some pretty big cultural gaps. While it is normal in Germany that men pull their weight around the house, Namibian men tend to plunk down on the coach and call for a beer. At parties, there is a strict gender division, with the men standing around the braai (grill) occasionally turning the meat, and the women in the kitchen doing everything else.
I wasn't willing to be catapulted back into the Fifties, so we clashed occasionally. But while my man is clearly an alpha male, he could also see when something isn't fair, and adjust his behaviour.
And there were things we had in common too.
We were both stubborn, driven, passionate, and not afraid to behave in ways we believed to be right, even if it pissed people off.
And we were very much in love.
We worked together (doing the most amazing stories, tracking rhinos through the desert, secretly crossing the border into Angola to discover a mass grave, taking forbidden pictures of seals being clubbed (resulting in an international protest against the practice), and many more stories that were part heartbreaking and part totally cool).
We moved in together. We fought and we made up and we fought again. We got a dog. And then another one. And a cat. We got married, bought a house, and had a daughter.
With her birth, our partnership turned into a gender stereotype.
Everything to do with her was now seemingly my responsibility, and he got into providing mode.
While i was pregnant, we had discussed all this at length. Agreeing that we would both continue to work, and both look after her. We worked from home anyway, so it could have turned out perfectly.
He was a freelance journalist, and I was working as a press photographer for AP and AFP. Which meant I had to be flexible. If something happened, I had to be able to leave quickly.
Instead of also looking after our daughter, he became obsessed with his own work, and on several occasions I couldn’t do my job.
Which meant that I earned less money, and became more dependant on him. It also meant that I baked sand cakes all day, while he met with heads of state.
I got more and more frustrated.
We fought a lot, and we weren't so quick to make up anymore...
When Eva was 18 months old, he moved out.
Suddenly i had to bring in a full income again, and quickly too.
In hindsight, this turned out to be a blessing. I switched from photography and writing to my second love, spirituality and personal development. I began giving workshops, and I trained as a healer, and a yoga teacher.
And nearly 13 years later I still love what i do!
A couple of month after he moved out, we got back together (initially, this happened because he saw me kissing some other guy...). Things got easier as Eva got older.
We had a little farm in the middle of the Namibian capital, with chickens, dogs, rabbits, cats, and a swimming pool that was always filled with the kids from the neighbourhood. There are lots more stories about my life here, in case you are interested.
I became better known as a healer, my practice and my yoga classes were full, and life was good.
I was much less frustrated, and anger outbursts were pretty much a thing of the past.
And with that, he started to lose interest. He had an affair. We went to couples counselling. I build another house on our property, and moved in there with Eva. We had a trial separation. And got back together.
But things weren't the same anymore. He couldn't understand my spiritual outlook. I couldn't understand his constant focus on the negative, on things that were going wrong. He spend more and more time on Facebook or behind a newspaper, and I started to get clingy. And insecure. And jealous.
Recently I heard Tony Robbins say that rejection breeds obsession. This is so true.
He rejected and I pursuit and we were both miserable. And yet we still loved each other.
I remember one night I was feeling so sad and frustrated that I asked quite strongly (meaning I shouted into the African night...): 'Why is this happening?'
I heard: 'What do you want from life?'
The answer that immediately came to me was: 'I want to grow.'
Then I heard: 'Well, there you go!'
This was such an 'aha' moment for me. Of course I was in the perfect situation if I really wanted to grow.
And yet i realised more and more that i also wanted to be happy (duhhh...).
One of the things I have learned since is that I am solely responsible for the way I feel. Nobody can 'make' me feel anything. My own thoughts are what determines my emotions, and I CAN change my thoughts if they don't feel good.
We all can.
But back then, I didn't know that. I still thought that I needed him to be different to feel good. And he wasn't budging....
At the end of 2012, I ended the relationship.
Not because I didn't love him anymore, but because I could see more and more clearly that we were both miserable, that we were entangled in co-dependancy, and that we kept repeating our cycles because there wasn't enough willingness anymore to find a different way of being with each other.
After 17 years, I finally let go...
And with that, I discovered that I truly am the master of my thoughts.
I couldn't afford to think about how miserable I was, what he said and what I said and why we said it. Doing this would have sucked the life right out of me. And while that looked like a great option at times, I knew I couldn't go there because of my daughter.
This is the big chance that comes with seemingly insufferable events. They force you to be present, and they force you to change if you want to survive.
Plus, they help you realise how powerful you actually are.
It took very little time until I began to feel totally real. Present. Authentic.
The worst had happened, and I had nothing left to lose. No need anymore for masks, for manipulations, for calculation (you know what I'm talking about: if I don't text him back for a day or two he will realise something is wrong, and he will realise that he wants to be with me, and he will change... and so on).
I stopped painting things that were grey in rosy colours. I stopped pretending that I didn't feel pain and instead just sat with it, allowing it to be there without trying to run. I stopped pretending that I had all the answers, and with that, my real truth was able to come up.
I began to look really well after myself. I ate a lot of green stuff, and did a lot of yoga. I wrote poems again.
And I realised that once you feel free inside, things that seemingly keep you trapped (I have no money, I need his approval, I can't do this alone...) fall away, quickly and easily.
What I now know for sure:
- You create your own reality
- Everything that happens is for you
- Who you are is enough
- You can be, do, or have anything you want
As a result, Eva and I started to travel. This is something I had missed so much since I became a mother, and that I hadn't allowed myself to experience (too expensive, too difficult...).
We flew to Miami, to LA, to Paris, to Germany. And we had such a wonderful time!
I began to transition my business so that I would work online instead of seeing clients at my house. I dropped the evening yoga class I never liked giving (the mornings are my zone of genius, and I love starting each day teaching a class. By the time it's 5 o'clock I am done with the day, and I don't want to work anymore).
I connected with other women who were also building a location independent business, and I formed new friendships.
I even stopped wearing yoga pants all day long, and instead dressed in clothes that looked good :-).
In 2014 Eva and I said good-bye to Africa. We moved to Europe, and we are now living right in the middle of Berlin.
I love my life, and I so love what I do!
What these many words really boil down to is that:
Whatever happens is for you, and you truly do create your own reality!
Your current crisis gives you the amazing chance to discover that for yourself! Once you realise that, you are free! No longer dependant on circumstances, and on what other's do or don't do.
Then you truly know that '...I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul'.
Even if it doesn't feel like it right now, the pain you are in will subside. You will be happy again. And you will see that your break-up doesn't mean that what you had wasn't real, and it also doesn't mean that there is something wrong with you, or that you failed.
It just means that your paths are diverging now, and that there are great things to come for you!