“We are pain and what cures pain, both.” Rumi
“What is real can never be fully taken away; its essence always remains.” Poet David Whyte
Many years ago, my heart broke wide open and since then I have not been the same. It splintered after an operation and my body wasn’t recovering well. My heart broke for the vulnerability and fragility of my physical being. At the same time, my father died. The grief oozed through my body and I saw everything through the temporal lens of death. Listening to a song I would say to myself “this could be the last time I hear this song,” then I’d cry for its beauty. Watching sunrises and sunsets choked me up more. I couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful and I knew there would be a time when my eyes would behold its last. At the same time, a major relationship ended. I chose to leave my home town and relocate to a city far away from family and friends and a job I enjoyed. My heart break was violently severe with one ripple after the next. Health, death, relationship, home city, work, all severed. I was splayed open.
During this time I nurtured my Soul. Poetry felt good to me and I understood it as my private salve. I listened regularly to David Whyte’s CD entitled Poetry of Self Compassion. He spoke fiercely of the broken heart as a right of passage and as a common occurrence within all areas of living. Experiencing broken heartedness in the workplace is expected, if the work I do is work I love. Same with relationships, and cities or structures. That which I love changes, and with attachment comes inevitable grief making. Although I listened to the CD hundreds of times, with each listening a word would jump out and tickle my insides calling me into contemplation and love. My broken heart taught me to love. It taught me to live in the unknown with the courage to go beyond my comfort zone and desire to live there.
The Buddha says when our heart breaks, it is not for the purpose of becoming smaller and hiding, it is so that it may open. Open, open, open.
As I blog today, several of my friends are going through break ups or redefinition of relationships. Others are burying friends. One friend is consoling the heart of a neighbor child who lost both parents in one accident. This past month I sent out five sympathy cards. And, I celebrated birthdays, marriages, the passage of the same sex marriage initiative. Lots of celebrating woven with compassion.
As I sit today and ponder, I realize I can live with heart break. I don’t like the feel of it in my body, and yet, it is evidence I have loved. This is good. I sign off today with a poem from the CD I allowed to leave its impress upon me.
Sweet Darkness, by David Whyte
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds except
the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the
sweet confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
With a full heart,