Book: The Wisdom of a Broken Heart

Earlier in the summer, late on a Friday afternoon, I received the following text message from a friend:

“Went to the library and decided it’s a self-help book weekend.  I thought you would like this quote from one, ‘the heart that is broken has been broken open’, about being open now to transformation.  Sounded interesting.”

The book she was referring to was Susan Piver’s The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, An Uncommon Guide to Healing, Insight, and Love.  My friend tore through the book over the weekend and then urged me to read it as well.  So, I bought myself a copy.  And I’m so glad I did.

Susan Piver offers a unique approach to dealing with a broken heart:  she suggests that one choose to view it as a gift instead of a curse.  A Buddhist, she prescribes a seven-day program of healing to be obtained through meditation, writing and reflection.  But don’t worry, she’s not all high-and-mighty about her suggestions.  Throughout the book, she humbly tells the story of her own broken heart and subsequent sobbing insanity.  She admits to her unflattering actions and emotions as a result of her heartbreak.  It’s clear that Susan’s unique perspective was arrived at by way of painful personal experience.

Susan talks about mood swings, fleeting affairs and the stories we tell ourselves to help (or hinder) the coping process.  She reminds us of the strength that can only come from an authentic state of vulnerability in which your heart may be broken over and over again.  She urges us to forgive and be grateful.  As I turned the pages, I laughed and cried.  I felt exhilarated and exhausted.  I softened and strengthened.  One of my favorite parts of the book was when she talked about the tears…

“One way to think of all these tears is as a flood of love.  Liberated from it’s object, love now flows freely, powerfully, mercilessly, as rain, as sorrow, and as longing.  …in some sense your limitations in love have been removed… 

…This is your heart.  Freed from the containment of a relationship, it roars.”

I have to agree with Susan.  In my own experience, I discovered a wondrous liberation when I surrendered to the grief brought on by my situation.  In sitting with my self, I realized that my love, kindness and compassion towards others had multiplied exponentially as a result of my pain.  This new vision has allowed me to see the humanity in everyone— even those who are supposed to be my “enemies”.  I am continuously overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude for the beautiful agony which I endure(d) (am i over it yet?).

My broken-hearted friends, I hope you find the courage to gratefully embrace the “roar” within you.  And then, spend some time learning from The Wisdom of a Broken Heart.

Sunday Song: The Best Days…

I know, I’m late with Saturday’s Song.  I’m sorry.  I was without internet access for most of the day yesterday.  This is the first I’ve been able to sit down and put my laptop to work.

I have a list of songs prepared for this gig, but I’m not posting them in order.  Each week I consider them and choose one that feels appropriate.  Sometimes the one I pick isn’t even on my list.  This week’s song was on the radio as I entered my house a few minutes ago- the timing was perfect.  I’m sure many can relate to Kellie Pickler as she sings about The Best Days Of Your Life.  I hadn’t seen the video until I looked it up to put it here.  I’m not sure how I feel about what happens to the guy.  What do you think?

The Best Days Of Your Life, written by Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift

Cause I’ll be there
In the back of your mind
From the day we met
Til you were making me cry
And it’s just too bad
You’ve already had the best days
The best days of your life

Aint it a shame?
A shame that everytime you hear my name
Brought up in a casual conversation
You can’t think straight
And aint it sad?
You can’t forget about what we had
Take a look at her and do you like what you see?
Or do you wish it was me

I’ll be there
In the back of your mind
From the day we met
To the very last night
And it’s just too bad
You’ve already had the best days
The best days of you life

And does she know?
Know about the times you used to hold me
Wrapped me in your arms and how you told me
I’d be the only one
I heard about
Yeah, someone told me once
When you were out
She went a little crazy
Ran her mouth about me
Aint jealousy funny?

I’ll be there
In the back of your mind
From the day we met
To the very last night
And it’s just too bad
You’ve already had the best days
The best days of you life
With me was a fairytale love
I was head-over-heels til you threw away “us”
And it’s just too bad you’ve
Already had the best days
The best days of your life

I heard you’re gonna get married
Have a nice little family
Live out my dreams with someone new
But I’ve been told that a cheater
Is always a cheater
I’ve got my pride
And she’s got you

I’ll be there
In the back of your mind
From the day we met
To you making me cry
And it’s just too bad
You’ve already had the best days
The best days of you life

Of your life
Oh, oh, yeah
You’re gonna think of me
You’re gonna think of me in your life
Oh, oh, yeah
It’s a shame
It’s a shame
It’s a shame…

Social Media And The Separation

The second part of my social media series has to do with the breakup process.  What is the appropriate way to handle a divorce on the social scene?

I’ve seen countless status updates to say that individuals have gone from being some form of “coupled” to “single”.  Sometimes those updates are accompanied by a personal note to offer more details about the situation or the feelings around the event.  I suppose I understand the need for a public announcement.  Sometimes it’s easier to say it once on Facebook than having to reiterate the same scenario countless times in person, on the phone or through individual emails.

What about the virtual connection to an ex?  Should you unfriend?  Unfollow?  Unsubscribe?  Block?  Stalk?  Keep an interactive public friendship?  Or untag yourself in the photos?  Do you need to alter your security settings?

Is it customary to divulge details via status updates?  Several years ago, I saw a MySpace status that said “There’s no longer a controlling dickhead attached to my house!”  That caused me to pause and think.  Is that kind of update appropriate?  Is it necessary to publicly degrade the ex in such a manner?  Children were present on the author’s Friend List (including her own offspring).  Was the remark meant to be seen by the ex?  How did the author intend to portray herself by making such a comment?  Did her readers view her as fearless and independent?  Or petty and bitter?

Have you heard any of the stories about the role social media has played in the divorce process?  By now we’ve probably all heard that Facebook is a cited cause of many divorces.  But did you know about the blogging father who was ordered to take down his anonymous blog or risk losing custody of his children?  Did you see the newscast about the man who was told to publicly apologize or face jail time for the FB comments he made about his ex?  What do you think of that?

Personally, I don’t publish my relationship status on Facebook, so there was nothing for me update last November.  Since my breakup with Ex-BF, I did unsubscribe from his profile updates (funny, I don’t mind having my ex-husband in my feed).  I realize during this time period, it’s natural for me to be under scrutiny.  Thus, I’ve gone largely silent on FB.  I interact with my real friends in real life or through private messages (I’m sure my non-real friends haven’t noticed the lack of updates on my wall).  At times, I’ve been extremely upset by things I’ve heard were said about me, either on the network or in person.  The idea of formal punishment for such an offense is a nice fantasy.  However, I think we all should have the right to speak our minds (but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone carried the same Standards Of Respectful Behavior?).

I realize I’ve published a considerable amount of information here on the blog.  This forum feels quite different for me.  For one thing, my personal situation is appropriate to share in this arena- my broken heart isn’t competing for Top News status against pictures of my “friends'” babies.  For another, most people I know don’t come here to read what I’ve written.   Nor do they subscribe.  I started the blog because people I know were sick of hearing me talk about divorce.  So I feel pretty safe here.  And it’s not like I’m namecalling or sharing extreme details.

So… what do you think?  How did/would/will you handle your separation on the social networks?  How did your ex handle it?  How did/do you feel about it?  Any lessons you’ve learned?  Any strategies to share?  Am I asking too many questions?

Saturday’s Song: The Mary Tyler Moore Theme

The night before my senior year of high school began, my orange-haired, freckled boyfriend dumped me.  It was, like, The Worst Thing That Ever Happened To Me (omg, what was I thinking?  It feels terribly silly now!).  Lucky for me, I had supportive family and friends to help me through the trauma (ugh, trauma!?!  I can’t believe that’s how I felt about it!!).  And late at night, when they were sleeping, I had Mary Tyler Moore reruns.

There has never been a better role model for the single gal than Mary Richards (just my opinion, of course).  She totally took charge of her life by breaking off an engagement and then moving to Minneapolis to start over.  She landed herself a decent job in an office dominated by men, made new friends, lived alone and navigated the dating scene with humor and dignity.  She laughed.  She loved.  She made it after all.  (And, truth be told, I still break out in gleeful goosebumps when I see her toss her hat)

(“Love is All Around” by Paul Williams)
Mary Tyler Moore Show Lyrics

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all
You’re gonna make it after all
How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you’re all alone
But it’s time you started living
It’s time you let someone else do some giving

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all
You’re gonna make it after all

Saturday’s Song

When contemplating what song I wanted to feature this week, I was reminded of a recent video from fellow 30-something, divorced and childless blogger, Sassy Divorcee (see her story here).  I first encountered Sassy on Twitter and I liked her name, so I followed her.  According to Sassy, she’s no Elizabeth Gilbert.  Indeed, she brings her own unique brand of sass, strength and sarcasm to the blogosphere.  When I read her post entitled Who Said Divorce Was The End Of My Life, I found it rather awesome (I love her new spin on the phrase “head in the clouds”).  I tweeted the post with a note about the inspiration within and Sassy sent me a link to the video below which features more images from her amazing journey, as well as today’s song:  Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), performed by Kelly Clarkston, written by Jörgen Elofsson, Ali Tamposi, David Gamson, and Greg Kurstin.

Lyrics…

You know the bed feels warmer
Sleeping here alone
You know I dream in color
And do the things I want

You think you got the best of me
Think you’ve had the last laugh
Bet you think that everything good is gone
Think you left me broken down
Think that I’d come running back
Baby you don’t know me, cause you’re dead wrong

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn’t mean I’m over cause you’re gone

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone

You heard that I was starting over with someone new
They told you I was moving on, over you

You didn’t think that I’d come back
I’d come back swinging
You try to break me, but you see

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn’t mean I’m over cause you’re gone

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone

Thanks to you I got a new thing started
Thanks to you I’m not the broken-hearted
Thanks to you I’m finally thinking about me
You know in the end the day you left was just my beginning
In the end…

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn’t mean I’m over cause you’re gone

[2x]
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone

(When I’m alone)

 

…Hope you’re having a great weekend 🙂

Social Media and The Relationship

“[Insert Female Name]: Great friend; greater lover.”

The text above was featured in the AIM Away Message of a friend of mine several years ago. Upon reading it, I remember wondering why he would want to broadcast his sexual escapades (with a mere “friend”, no less) to such a wide audience. Isn’t that the kind of thing guys are supposed to tell their friends over beer in a barroom? Apparently, not anymore. Since that message, I viewed many updates over the years that followed. My friend is now married to the woman referenced above. They have children. And a dog. I’ve seen photos of their family vacations. And it’s kinda funny, because I’ve only actually seen my friend in person about five times in the past decade.

That brings me to the current topic that’s on my mind: sharing the details of one’s life via social media. Methinks this is going to be at least a 3-part series.

While I was married, Facebook wasn’t open to anyone but college students, and Greg and I had “graduated” from the use of Instant Messenger. There was no login code for people to find out what we were doing on the weekends. We enjoyed a very traditional existence, one in which secrets were shared via hushed voices and photos were printed on glossy paper and then either framed or stashed away in a box. We had a close-knit group of friends that we actually hung out with and if something needed to be said, we used our voices instead of our fingers (whoa, I suddenly feel so old). I had no idea that I was experiencing the end of that era.

Ex-BF and I were already together for a couple years before we both signed up for Facebook. At first I got caught up in the constant sharing of status updates, photos, videos, comments, etc. In the beginning, I posted several photo albums featuring myself, ex-BF and the boys. And then I realized, those aren’t my kids and I don’t actually “know” most of my “friends” all that well. At that point, I went on a friend-deleting spree (this was before I had grasped the power of alllllllllll those privacy controls) and I stopped posting pictures of the kids.

As time wore on, I became increasingly sensitive about what I fed my Facebook page. At one point, I read an Eckhart Tolle book and became disgusted with the validate-my-ego nature of the FB Beast. I halted all status updates for a decent period of time and when I did return to posting, most of what I shared was cause-related.

As a couple, ex-BF and I did not publicize our relationship. Neither of us listed a relationship status in our profile. We didn’t post lovey message on each other’s walls. We usually didn’t interact with each other’s threads. We didn’t have to, because we lived together and we talked face-to-face. We even talked in person about what was going on on Facebook. I felt good about the fact that we didn’t publish all of our family or our life activity online. Sure, we were present on the network, but we weren’t all in-your-face about all the details of our lives, especially our relationship. Our Network didn’t know when we had sex, how often we disagreed or what we had for dinner. I liked that. It felt… mature.

Then the relationship ended. My family was obliterated. And now my eyes see things very differently. While it’s true we didn’t flaunt our lives on Facebook, we were still present on Facebook… and we are still present on Facebook. When my marriage broke up, the framed photos were packed in boxes and now they live in my attic. Not this time around. I can’t pack up those images- they’re all out there in a Timeline. Several Timelines, actually. Even if I deleted those memories from my account, there are many others that remain accessible by merely a few clicks and some scrolling. And I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’d rather pack a bunch of keepsakes in boxes and stow them away.

On one hand, I get the fact that the whole point of a timeline is to depict that which is past. But…does it have to be so public? Does everyone have to see that? Do I have to see that every time I log on? There was a time when it was just my life- and it was normal. Right now it’s evidence of a life I no longer have and that sorta hurts (interestingly enough, the stuff here on the blog doesn’t bother me so much because it was used to illustrate issues larger than myself). Later, the time will come when it’s no longer painful but simply irrelevant. Perhaps then I’ll wonder why my new partner has to share the same spotlight as the old one. I wouldn’t display my wedding pictures again, especially not if they were going to share wall space with images of my new family. In a way, it seems disrespectful to the past as well as the present. (…Not to mention the fact that I’m feeling somewhat possessive of that which is gone. I don’t want to look at it right now, yet I do harbor a desire to keep those memories as mine. I want to reserve the right to visit them on a rainy day…just me. Not my hundreds of friends and friends of friends.)

Is anyone else considering this to the degree that I am? If you’re separated/divorced, how public was your “intact family” (i don’t like that phrase)? Did you set intentional boundaries regarding the publication of images and family details? And how do you feel about that now? Do you prefer to have those outdated images out there? Or would you rather they be hidden from the public view?