August 31, 2015

How to Use Our Heartbreak to Open to Love.


“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen

When did love become a word to be used sparingly?

A word only acceptable for someone who is related to us or has proved their worth?

The more I dig through my own layers of pain on my quest for truth the more I see love everywhere.

We all have our hearts broken sometimes, but mostly we think of heartbreak coming from an intimate relationship dissolving. But there are so many other ways our hearts can shatter.

A pet can die, we can be fired from a job we are passionate about, our kids can leave home and forget to call.

I gave up my garden, by choice, but it broke my heart into little pieces and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to put myself back together again.

But of course, I did.

And this is where we can make a choice about how we want to live our lives.

Do we want to run and hide from the sheer possibility of heartbreak? Are we going to stick our heads under the blanket, put our fingers in our ears signing, “lalala I can’t hear you world,” so that we never get hurt? Or do we want to acknowledge that it is in the heartbreak itself that we can open ourselves to the massive amount of pain and hurt in the world in order to touch in to the deep well of love that exists—that has always existed.

I always think of Pema Chodron gently asking us if we are going to harden our hearts or soften them in the face of pain and disappointment?

Heartbreak comes. It messes with us. It makes us question who we are and why we are here, and if we are, adequate enough to even be loved.

But love just is.

It is in the hate, the anger, the pain, the confusion and the bliss of the human experience.

And when we are raw and aching in the face of heartbreak, love’s edge might even be closer to us because we are closer to the truth of humanity.

We aren’t hiding in fake smiles and flaky Twitter posts.

We are feeling the truth of what it means to have a heart and to have shared it with the world.

This is why heartbreak brings us closer to love, if we let it.

Jack Kornfield suggests that in the midst of heartbreak we open our hearts to all the souls that are also in the midst of heartbreak.

That we contemplate all the other lovers who have been scoffed and parents who have lost their children, and children who have lost their parents. We remember that there are billions of people on the planet also suffering and that we can dedicate our own healing to all of them.

Our heartbreak can connect us, make us more compassionate, empathetic.

It can remind us that we aren’t alone in our suffering and that others need us just we we need them.

Our heartbreak can increase our sense of love, not decrease it—but only if we are willing to be brave.

Brave enough to see that heartbreak isn’t failure. That hurting isn’t a sign of doing wrong, being bad or screwing up our lives.

Heartbreak is just a sign that we are alive. That we tried. That we loved. And I hope that heartbreak can become an opportunity to commit even deeper to love and let it open us all more and more.



How to get Unstuck & Move Forward.


Author: Ruth Lera

Editor: Travis May

Photos: Flickr/Soumyadeep Paul

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