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.

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Book: Falling Apart In One Piece

The easiest way for me to consume books is to listen to them while I’m driving my car.  That’s how I absorbed the content of Stacy Morrison’s Falling Apart In One Piece:  One Optimist’s Journey Through The Hell of Divorce.  It made my daily commute a lot more enjoyable.  And…at times… awful.

I discovered Stacy Morrison at the Start Over Smart Divorce Expo earlier this year.  After hearing her speak, I vowed to read her book.  I read a lot of nonfictional-self-help-type divorce books.  This one was autobiographical as it was Stacy’s recollection of the process she went through after her husband came home from work one day and told her he was “done”.

On one hand, audiobooks kinda suck because I can’t page through the piece, highlight my favorite parts and quote them here.  On the other hand, it was somewhat of a treat to listen to Stacy tell me her story in her own words.  As she recounted the dramatic events, I identified with her initial bewilderment coupled with her strong work ethic and drive to perform regardless of what was happening at home.  As a mother, Stacy shared her joys as well as her hardships while navigating divorce with a young child.  She talked about the struggle to reconstruct her social life, the difficulties of vacationing as a single parent and the nights she spent crying on the kitchen floor.  It was all very raw and real— no sugar-coating.

What I appreciated most was Stacy’s attitude.  Even though her world was crumbling around her, she stayed strong and true to herself and her family.  She stated early on that she didn’t want to be the one who was right, nor did she want to be the one who was wronged (love, love, love that statement!).  What she wanted was peace and understanding.  She realized that she needed to create her own story- that she and her ex had to blaze a unique path through their separation instead of getting caught in the currents of animosity born from the jagged pasts and filtered frights of so many peers.

Of course, the journey to peace and understanding is never an easy one.  As Stacy shares the highlights of her divorce, she imparts the bits of wisdom she learned along the way— little lessons such as “You Don’t Get To Know Why, But Ask Anyway”, “Grief Is Not a Mountain, It Is a River” and my personal favorite, “Anger Hides Everything You Need To Feel To Get Past The Anger” (that mouthful so simply says it all).

Through the initial shock… the uncertainties… telling the family… picking up the pieces… the leaning… the crying… the angry outbursts… the journey is unique, yet the territory is not.  The story is familiar but not boring.  And the lessons hold true regardless of the path that led to their discovery.

I’m glad I found the time to observe Stacy’s process of Falling Apart In One Piece.  Did you read it?  Did you like it?  I’m open to discussion @relativevolutions, divorce.encouragist@gmail.com or my Facebook Page.

Healing Words of Truth

Earlier today I was listening to an interview between Cheryl Richardson and Iyanla Vanzant* and I heard something that caused me to hit the pause button and reflect for minutes on end…

They were discussing the concept of “no sacred cows” and stating that respect is always necessary, even in relationships with family members.  Iyanla was recounting a personal story involving a conflict with her grandson and she stated, as if she were speaking to him directly:

“I love you very, very much.  I love you.  And I have given you everything that I could.  Please forgive me if I wasn’t who you needed… I’m still gonna love you.  But I’m complete.”

Her sentiment struck me with a force I wasn’t prepared for.  My vision blurred with tears as I felt the sting of old wounds, awakened by her words.  How appropriate for separating couples, I thought.

Pain and anger so often drive us to declare war.  And what purpose does that serve?  Regardless of what side of the door you’re on, the truth is the same:  Love, though present, is not enough.  And we don’t need another person to make us whole.

The key to Peace is to find your Self and release the other person from your expectations.  Accept what is.  Breathe, love, forgive and move on.  You are complete.

~~~~

*If you’re interested in the full interview, you can listen here.

And please excuse my ego for just a moment as I remind you that you can now follow my Facebook page for updates, blog posts and more.

Saturday’s Song: Let That Pony Run

I have plans to do something touristy today, and I considered sightseeing on horseback… until I saw the price tag.  I decided to save a few (and by “few”, I mean “a lot of”) bucks and travel on foot instead.  The reason I’m telling you this is that the brief consideration, combined with the fact that it’s Saturday, reminded me of this particular song.

I don’t think I’ve heard this one on the radio since the 90s.  Too bad, it’s a good story— one that’s all-too-familiar for many.  In some way, there’s a little bit of “Mary” in all of us.  And I love the part about hanging on and then letting go.

Here’s Pam Tillis with Let That Pony Run

Video:

Let That Pony Run (written by Gretchen Peters)

Mary was married with children,
had the perfect suburban life,
’til her husband came clean with the help of Jim Beam
and confessed all his sins one night.
Said he’d fallen in love with a barmaid,
said she made him feel reckless and young.
And when he got through, what else could she do?
She just let that pony run.

(chorus)
‘Cause you do what you gotta do,
and you know what you know.
You hang on till you can’t hang on,
then you learn to let go.
You get what you want sometimes,
but when it’s all said and done,
you do what you gotta do
then you let that pony run.

Now Mary moved to West Virginia,
after the shock wore off.
She got a divorce and a chestnut horse
and a barn with an old hayloft.
Sometimes she rides down by the river,
said it makes her feel reckless and young.
She just closes her eyes, and she holds on tight,
and she lets that pony run.

(repeat chorus)

Your requests are welcome!  If you’d like to see one of your favorites featured here, tweet me @relativevolutns, email divorce.encouragist@gmail.com or post it on my new Facebook page.

I Sent Her Flowers

Yes, you read that right.  Last week, while celebrating my independence, I sent a dozen dark pink roses to The Other Woman.  Dark pink roses symbolize gratitude and I’m feeling rather grateful these days.

The snarky way of explaining my actions would be to say that my ex is an ass and I’m oh-so-happy that he is out of my life.  But those of you who know me know better.  I don’t believe in badmouthing exes.  In truth, this has nothing to do with him and very little to do with her.

I sent flowers because I was ready to put my money where my mouth is.  I was ready to “walk my talk”, to truly express appreciation for my current circumstances.

The flowers aren’t to say the hurt is gone.  It’s not.  My gesture doesn’t mean that I condone her tactics.  What she did was selfish, immature, unethical and downright destructive.  She caused an abundance of pain for a lot of people, and she was “blissfully joyful” about the outcomes of her efforts.

I think the Hurricane Analogy explains it best:  Everyone knows hurricanes cause mass devastation.  They level homes.  They uproot that which was once healthy and thriving.  Within a matter of hours, well-known landscapes become unrecognizable.  It sucks.  It really, really sucks.  However.  Anyone who has walked on the beach after a storm knows that this is when the ocean churns up some of her deepest treasures and places them at our feet.

I lost my home.  I lost my family.  Yet, as the sun rises on this new day, it warms away the cold, dark places and further illuminates the unforeseen gifts that otherwise would have remained buried.  I discovered a different perspective, some wonderful new friends and a few old dreams I forgot I had.  It’s enough to reclaim and rebuild my life.  And for that, I am thankful.

Saturday’s Song: Here I Go Again

Twice over the past week, Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again has come on the radio in my car.  Hearing it while driving reminds me of the days when I used to listen to the song on cassette while cruising in my Camaro.  Now that I’ve said that, I feel the need to disclose that I’m not quite as old as that statement might lead one to believe 😉  I should also note that I have an issue with the second verse.  Love isn’t “charity”.  And that whole “rescue” idea isn’t healthy, regardless of whether you’re the one looking to be rescued or doing the rescuing.  (OK, Tara.  Now shut up and stop pissing on this retro 80s awesomeness.)

Anyway… the fact that I heard the twenty-five-year-old (whoa, really??) song twice in the past seven days made me think it would be a good one to share here today…

Video:

Here I Go Again, written by Bernie Marsden and David Coverdale

No, I don’t know where I’m going
But, I sure know where I’ve been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday
An’ I’ve made up my mind,
I ain’t wasting no more time
Here I go again
Here I go again

Tho’ I keep searching for an answer,
I never seem to find what I’m looking for
Oh Lord, I pray
You give me strength to carry on,
‘Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time

I’m just another heart in need of rescue,
Waiting on love’s sweet charity
An’ I’m gonna hold on
For the rest of my days,
‘Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time

But, here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go

‘Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind,
I ain’t wasting no more time

An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
‘Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,

[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/w/whitesnake/here+i+go+again_20146215.html ]

A friend of mine once told me he believed this was his personal theme song.  Do you have a theme song?  Or just a request for Saturday’s Song?  Feel free to share it with me @RelativEvolutns or divorce.encouragist@gmail.com

Saturday’s Song: Who I Am

Today’s song has been repeating in my head for the past few days.  I recalled it when I received an assignment from Life And Love Strategist, Laura Campbell (founder of The D-Spot) to write “my story”.  It’s also an appropriate follow-up to my last post.

Who I Am by Jessica Andrews is a good piece to remind us to come back to ourselves during times of heartbreak or failed attempts at success.  It reminds us to appreciate who we are, where we came from and to recognize those who love and support us.

Enjoy!

Video:

Who I Am (written by Brett James and Troy Verges)

If I live to be a hundred
And never see the seven wonders
That’ll be alright
If I don’t make it to the big leagues
If I never win a Grammy
I’m gonna be just fine
‘Cause I know exactly who I am

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done
My momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends who love me
And they know just where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

So when I make big mistake
When I fall flat on my face
I know I’ll be alright
Should my tender heart be broken
I will cry those teardrops knowin’
I will be just fine
‘Cause nothin’ changes who I am

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done
My momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends who love me
And they know just where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

I’m a saint and I’m a sinner
I’m a loser, I’m a winner
I’m am steady and unstable
I am young but I’m able

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done
My momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends who love me
And they know just where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done
My momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends who love me
And they know just where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

If you have a song you’d like to suggest, let me know @RelativEvolutns or divorce.encouragist@gmail.com

Have a great weekend 🙂