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June 19, 2022

I Shut My Heart Down for 3 Years after a Major Heartbreak—& This is What Happened.


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“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.” ~ Pema Chodron


I knew it was a bad idea from the start. It wasn’t something I believed in nor would I recommend it to anyone else—because love has forever been my north star.

Perhaps in order to heal my heart, I needed to thoroughly feel the emptiness.

Perhaps the sorrow and the emptiness were poetry to my heart. Perhaps this was the proverbial attic where I starved my soul and wrote volumes of unrequited words while candles burned until they sputtered out with a determined hiss.

I wrung my heart completely free of every desire, expectation, and hope until it fought for air and hammered loudly in my chest with screams of, I want to live and why are you doing this to me?

If I didn’t believe in love anymore, if I felt jaded and that everything that has been written about love was stupid romanticism that only created harm, then I could live a quiet life of predictable dangers and no dangers at all if I just put my heart in a box on the shelf with my tea, that I endlessly boiled water for.

In this loveless room without a view, I mulled my fate of the years before me and threw sharp daggers

at the promise of better days.

I don’t believe in love,

I don’t believe in love,

I don’t believe in love, I kept saying with a sad and hollow mantra.

Love was fickle and trickled down my throat with bitter resentment.

But oh, this heart kept shouting in my ear. It sent urgent letters of distress, written in long-hand, it begged for air, for light, for truth.

The truth is that when love betrayed me it was just too difficult to admit that I wanted to feel the pain and punish myself because all my old wounds of abandonment and unworthiness had become strict teachers once more.

I had no right to be that cruel to my heart as I tried to burn everything to the ground before me. I did burn a few things to the ground. Surprisingly, it was in the ashes that I found myself again.

First, stomping through them angrily.

Then sitting in the dust and dirt of my journey.

Finally, watching myself grow tentative wings.

It took a while for me to fly. It took refocusing on the way my heart kept believing in me, kept loving me, kept beating no matter the distance between its loyalty and my need to self-destruct.

One morning, I woke up and something was missing from me. I boiled water for tea. My heart turned with excitement to the day. My morning pages welcomed an optimistic nuance. I had dropped my mask of sadness and grief. My face turned to the sun.

My heart was open. Sutured and held together in some places with golden threads belonging to the journey of feeling everything I had needed to feel. In my own time. Having allowed myself the space to weep and resist false happiness.

There are still some fences protecting my heart. But they’re not barbed wire anymore.

This is the story of a time when vulnerability brought me to a place of complete shutdown after a major heartbreak. It took me three years to muddle through my wounds. It served me in that all that time and space allowed me to truly understand my shadows. It hurt me because in that state I wasn’t receptive to receiving and I made decisions based on fear instead of trust. Looking back, I am humbled by the tenacity of my heart, always looking for the path to healing.

What has your heart journey been?


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