I Believe A Broken Heart Can Mend
This time last year I was on retreat in New Mexico. My heart was freshly wounded from a devastating breakup. Sitting in a circle with 45 other people made me realize how I felt more like a moving shadow than a living person. Our teacher encouraged us to write, so during a lunch break I sat under the trees on the Sandia Crest Mountaintop and let my heart speak. This is what it said:
What does it take to know something?
To know it in your bones?
To know it in your heart?
To surrender to the screaming truth of your soul?
I have known the deep truth about myself.
That I am deserving of love.
I am worthy of being seen and heard and felt to the depths.
The depths that I am too afraid will be too deep for anyone to hold.
And yet I’ve known the deep truth. I’ve felt my bones assuring me that there is someone.
There are many someones.
But an instant later my bones, my heart, my soul disappear
and I am left alone with my mind’s fears and my hollow body.
The sadness consumes everything,
swallowing any ounce of hope that remained after the fire.
The aching feels like it will never stop.
I wonder who that person was who once loved herself and could live according to her own soul.
I wonder if it’s worth all the work.
Will I ever be enough?
What does it mean to open all of your heart to someone,
to accept their light and dark,
and then be abandoned by them?
What does it mean to trust and believe
and see and feel the love they gave you wholeheartedly
until one day they don’t anymore?
I believe, somewhere I only have access to in small moments,
that a heart this broken by betrayal can mend.
I can feel myself healing
but in the moments when I’m in the cellar,
key to door,
I’d rather run away.
I’m so tired of feeling pain.
I’m so tired of sitting in my dark.
I’m so tired of this being so hard.
I’m so terrified that the truth may be that
I am always working on myself,
always facing the pain,
but never healing the wound
because it’s too deep.
I turn the key,
open the door
and face it all.
It feels like the only way
even if I don’t know.
That day, hours after I had written it, I gave voice to the great fears of my heart. Reading that poem to a group of people was important.
It told my pain that I was more interested in healing than in hiding.
It is one year and countless Breathwork sessions later. I can, with great certainty, tell you that it's true that a broken heart, that broken by betrayal, can mend.
Not only can it mend, but it can become fuller than it ever has.
I can genuinely tell you that I am so glad I lost everything I did during that time. One year later I am a wise old woman looking back at the words of her youth. I could have chosen not to turn the key and unlock the door. I could be sitting here with bitterness, resentment, and victimhood.
Instead I’m happier, more peaceful, and more me than I have ever been in my life.
For over a year I have unlocked that door over and over again. Each time I see something new. I peel back layers. I face truth, feel pain, and process emotion. In my commitment to wholeheartedly healing has come revelations with each turn of the key.
I suffered a lot first. I fought my pain. I wished myself into nonexistence. I wanted it all to be done. Life felt too hard. Healing felt too hard.
And then I hit a turning point, a moment of clarity and commitment. I became interested in seeing what I was hiding from. I decided to face all of the truth, no matter how excruciatingly painful it was. I knew in my soul that there was no other choice.
So I committed to healing. I worked with my breath every single day. I got support. I expressed my soul. I even wrote a book about my experience, something that ended up being integral to my healing.
I did all of this even though I was tired, even though I felt moments of complete hopelessness. There was something inside me that told me this was the way.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I listened.
Every single thing I have learned this past year has helped me own who I really am. It has uncovered incredible strength, fortitude, and beauty. It has allowed me to reclaim parts of myself I had hidden away long ago. Through it I have learned what it is I really want for my life. I am more clear than I ever have been before.
Now, one year later, not only am I certain that a broken heart can mend, but I know there is a man out there who is more right for me than I can even imagine.
In the moments we feel that everything is over, that we’ve been buried alive, there is an small opening, the truth that we are actually being presented with an opportunity to resurrect our true selves.
When I look back at that poem I know that even through the darkest moments there was always a muffled crackle of my soul’s cry, nudging me forward.
A part of me has always known my heart would mend.