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.

The (Constant) Evolution of Me

Yesterday slept until the early afternoon and then I sat in one of my two chairs until after midnight.  I never changed out of the clothes that I slept in the night before. I didn’t shower.  I didn’t watch any television shows.  I made no use of my stereo.  In silence, I read.  I thought.  I surfed the net.  I did some research.  I was alone, with the exception of BullyGirl.  It was glorious.

Tonight I took a stroll through my local home improvement store.  I had no list, no agenda.  I wasn’t there to complete a project, I was there to jumpstart my imagination.  As I wandered through the aisles, I envisioned my kitchen with a new stove… landscaping lights in my flower beds… a fresh welcome mat in front of my door…  I felt pride in my status as a homeowner.  I felt a glimmer of hope.  I sensed the budding of opportunity and progress.  I listened to the clunking of my heels against the cement floor and was reminded that I was alone.  And it was glorious…

I feel much different than I did a few months ago.  My sleeping patterns have returned to normal.  I eat more.  I cry less.  I smile more.  I cry less (that’s worth repeating).  A couple weeks ago, I forgot about my therapy appointment until M called to see if I was coming.  That has to be a good sign.  There was a time when I eagerly counted the hours till I could sit on her couch.  I feel stronger… less sad… I feel increasingly annoyed and irritated about the events that have brought me to this point (still not gonna use the word “angry”)… And… (I’ve been waiting for this!) I also feel a little gratitude for the events that have brought me to this point.

Of course, under the surface, the pain persists.  Yet, it is with less and less frequency that I turn to that horrific week in November and wonder, “What the hell happened to my life?”  More often, I’m able to find stability in the present moment.  Indeed, there is fantastic freedom in accepting one’s lack of control.

I find *me* to be quite fascinating these days.  I like to sit back and observe myself in action:  I’ve caught myself flirting… I noticed that I frequently smile when someone asks how I’m doing… I’ve persevered through new experiences that caused initial discomfort… I was told that I’ll need to replace my furnace and I was able to laugh about it!  Quite frankly, I’m amazed…I’m impressed… and, I’m totally falling in love with myself.  (How cool is that?!?)

I’m learning.  I’m growing.  My broken heart is healing.  It’s pretty awesome.