6.5
April 18, 2014

The Care & Feeding of a Healing Heart.

Broken heart

Relephant read: A Lesson in Love.

Dear Owner of the Healing Heart,

This may be a new experience for you or it may be as familiar and accustomed as a worn out pair of jeans. Either way, the new owner of a healing heart is bound to be undergoing a period of turmoil and shock. Most likely the pre-cursor to its healing was either a season of darkness or shattering, and its effort to repair—lengthy.

Over the course of its recovery, be aware of the following side effects and conditions.

1. A healing heart may implode for awhile.

After a period of brokenness or sudden explosion, the survival skill of the heart is sometimes is to swallow up itself into a ball and hide away. This is common and nothing to be fearful of, but should also be watched with careful observation during this stage. Most imploded hearts will eventually find their way back to original size if given the proper recovery time, however if left in this state too long can remain indefinitely damaged. Support and kinship is in order sprinkled with bits of humor and laughter.

The healing heart will need lightness to outweigh the dark, gentle hugs to contrast the urge to push away and occasionally a night out surrounded by those that can facilitate its journey back to health.

2. A healing heart needs space.

While a flurry of activity and busyness can be a distraction for the heart in recovery, it can also leave the fresh wounds exposed and in danger of breaking open again. Occasionally the heart will need to be gently reminded to slow down in order to prevent being over-worked. It is imperative to mention that the act of doing can be used to neglect the pain of healing. While pain may be unpleasant, it is also a sign of new growth. Smothering the injury with projects and to-do lists may feel better temporarily, but in truth will not give it enough air to breathe and eventually cause festering and infection. The healing heart needs space to be restored.

3. A healing heart may relapse.

This is one of the most frustrating parts of the recovery. We see progress, the heart is mending nicely, and then seemingly out of nowhere the wounds re-open and recovery is set back. Somewhere along the way a memory may trigger this re-opening or perhaps stinging words will pierce places that are still freshly scarred. This is most likely to occur when treatment has been ignored or simply not followed.

Sometimes the relapse occurs because the owner has refused to allow for new growth or is too busy picking away at scabbed over wounds. Go back to step one and start over.

4. A healing heart will need nourishment.

Instinct will be to fuel the heart with anything nearby that soothes and navigating around this urge can be tricky. Perhaps late nights of partying and alcohol, binge eating and sleeping for long stretches may feel so right at first. Perhaps consuming itself in destruction or recklessness will feel like a breath of fresh air, but this purposeful abandon only sets itself up for further injury.

In order to promote healing, the heart needs clean food and proper sleep. It requires sunshine and an occasional good book. Prayer, reflection and meditation are also promoters of recovery, but only best when balanced with movement to encourage range of motion. Stasis of the heart will definitely cause thickening of the tissue and impede flow. Proper nourishment and strengthening are vital for recuperation.

5. A healing heart will need encouragement.

There will be times when the owner will be unsure of the heart’s strength. After undergoing severe trauma the tendency to guard the heart from possible re-injury in completely normal and to be expected. This is the owner’s survival instincts kicking in.

At some point though, the time will come to peel off the bandages and let it run free again. The recovered heart may need some coaxing and encouragement along with a heaping serving of patience. In time, the owner of the healed heart can find it’s way, but should not be rushed along too quickly or forced to sit too long.

6. There may be scarring.

The heart is capable of complete healing, but can sometimes be left with scars or marks of its injury.  In time these scars will fade and possibly disappear. For now, know that you are not alone and many others will also bear scars upon their hearts. The tissue that forms the scar will thicken to strengthen the area and perhaps you may feel pulling and irritation in this area. This again is a sign of new growth and is a natural part of the process. Keep the area clean, protect it from re-injury and give it plenty of air and space.

In conclusion dear owner, keep in mind that you have one heart and one heart only. Give it plenty of love and attention. Protect it but allow it room to run wild. Most of all, know that it does have the ability to heal in time even if the time it takes seems to stretch on forever.

Because hearts have the amazing ability to regenerate when given the proper care.

Sincerely,

Your healing heart.

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Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo Credit: Lunabee/Flickr 

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Nyla May 19, 2014 2:22pm

Dana, your article is a "keeper." Thank you so much. My heart is in serious need of repair. I've been struggling since July 2013 when I was dumped. I've posted my gratitude on other articles written by elephant journal writers whom have shared their experiences/ideas/thoughts on healing from a broken heart. By no means is this the first time for me but, it is the first time I was betrayed at 59 years of age, and I'm having one hell of a difficult time moving on. It's tough so damn tough; I'm still in love with him and I was not allowed or granted proper closure. It will never happen…for whatever reason and I've completely lost hope in this phase of the breakup. It was his choice; not mine. We were long-distance lovers but, I still feel in love with him. It was 2-1/2 years of my life that I seem to have invested in love yet I end up alone and brokenhearted. Anyway, thank you for your article. I'm doing all I can to go "inside" of myself, to love myself and to break free from the pain. Much Love <3

Apr 19, 2014 3:08pm

As someone who went through a painful divorce 7 years ago and is now grieving the loss of my partner's death 3 months ago…I can say this article was very healing to read! Thank you for writing it.

Lakia Apr 19, 2014 10:07am

Beautiful….beautiful….

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Dana Gornall

Dana Gornall is a mom of three crazy kids and a dog. She works as a licensed massage therapist in Amherst, Ohio and is a certified sign language interpreter. She is always looking forward to even more personal growth. While not interpreting, doing massage, or being with her family she loves going to yoga. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.