She sat, loosely crosslegged, alone, despondent on the floor of her apartment.
She did what any 23 year old might do in such a situation: she called her mother.
“I know I broke up with him two weeks ago, but I am sure that tomorrow he will break up with me,” she sobbed.
The absurdity of the sentence didn’t occur to her.
Mom could feel the wet tears over the phone. She had heard this sort of story dozens of times. But she was duty bound to treat it like the first time.
“I made soup today after a long walk,” Mom said. Attempting to metaphorically remind her daughter that life goes on.
Your broken heart
Whether you are 23, 98 or in-between, a broken heart sucks. It hurts whether you are rich or poor, tall or small, thin or poetic. College degrees won’t protect you from it, nor will having a sizable nest egg.
If you are going to play in the love game, if you are going to invest in the dangerous heart terrain of relationship, you are going to have your heart broken: often.
Broken hearts are woven into the fabric of life.
Embracing the unavoidable
Some people try and avoid a broken heart by not investing too much or not caring too deeply. All this offers is superficial skimming along the top of what is possible and a time release broken heart without the obvious heart opening that makes love what we all desire.
You can’t live that way because, though you may pretend not to, you always care. Who you are cares deeply.
How is your heart?
There is an important difference between an open heart and a broken heart. A broken heart is a problem, something that shouldn’t have happened and comes full to the brim with uncomfortable sensations.
An open heart is what you need to fully experience love, life and relationship. It also comes full to the brim with sensations. And they are uncomfortable sensations if your heart is more open than you can currently cope with, live with or imagine. Which is really the best way to live.
It’s scary, but an open heart builds an immunity from broken hearts. Only a closed heart can be broken. So if you are open hearted you welcome a broken heart, including and embracing it.
Getting to know your heart
The best cardiologist in the land can’t fix a broken heart. Only you can. Here’s how:
If you are going to try and fix your kitchen sink you best know a bit about plumbing. If you are going to mow the lawn the basics of lawn mower care is a must know: like where to put the oil and the gas. And, if you are going to play in the dance of love/relationship, you better learn about your heart.
While your heart is an organ it is much more than that. It is a collection of sensations and fiery possibilities. It is where daring lives and what the scare crow needed: “If I only had a heart.”
Your heart is not your mind. While it isn’t always easy to tell the difference between heart and mind there is one sure way. Your mind speaks in varieties of “maybe” while the only word your heart utters is “yes.”
It is your mind that resists a broken heart, not your heart. Your heart welcomes opening, breaking and closing. Your heart doesn’t judge, it is always heels over head in love.
I have sat with terminal cancer patients and often near the end they glean a deep encompassing warmth and well being: that is heart.
I have kept company with one of my children at the brink of standing up for the first time: that too is heart.
And I have run out of mind at mile 21 of a marathon, and the next six miles and 385 yards were sponsored by a burst of heart.
Your heart can do anything but protect itself. Hearts are the gas pedal pushed to the floor board. They don’t learn but they make learning possible.
They urge you to go for it without hearing exactly what it is you are attempting. They just care, and never about something specific.
Your heart is always committed
Most people live life with one foot on the boat and one foot on the dock, with the two slowly separating. When they get far enough apart, it’s time to fall into heart.
At that point you never sort of fall. You do so with gusto. You get married forever; you seek to possess and be possessed completely by another.
You learn that hearts aren’t really broken, but minds suggest that they are. Minds imagine losing a loved one, which isn’t something that can happen. Because the love is in you, it’s your love, and you can’t lose it.
Your commitment can waver, but that simply means that your mind got involved. And that happens the moment you attempt to hold back, protect yourself or be prudent.
There really is no such thing as a broken heart: in the drama of love and relationship thoughts play the role of the broken heart—thoughts of loss, loneliness and rejection.
Make no mistake, these thoughts act the role of heart convincingly. You will think you can lose, that you aren’t perfectly desirable and full of endless passion. But your heart knows better, always. Your heart doesn’t doubt, it leaves that up to your mind.
And when your mind doubts love, romance or relationship, when your mind ponders death or lying in the ground so long or anything it can’t wrap its little understanding around, then it points to the heart and utters the dramatic words “You are broken.”
It is a soft squishy thing, and an indomitable force: it can’t be broken or domesticated. It burns night and day fully.
So you don’t have to fix a broken heart. Because your heart isn’t broken. You don’t have to open your heart, just discover that it is already open.
Life goes on
There may be an end of the world, but it won’t be announced with a broken heart.
It will be welcomed by your open heart, as will the beginning and ending of relationships, jobs and loss of a loved one.
To learn about “yes” listen to your heart.
It doesn’t say “yes, but…” It says “yes, and…”
The 23 year old, beautiful, young and impressionable woman writes an immature love story with her mind while her heart is strong and vibrant.
She imagines, like we all do sometimes, that life isn’t worth living: that this, whatever “this” is, is just too much.
There is nothing wrong with sobbing, and hurting, and imagining this is the end of the world as you know it. It is. But in the next moment your knowing will shift, and your heart will have been there for you all the while holding you, cradling you and urging the essence of you onward.
Life, of course, may not go on, but it has so far. And it will until it doesn’t, and when that time comes your heart will meet it openly cooing “yes, yes, yes.”
Author: Jerry Stocking
Editor: Travis May