In Baron Baptiste’s book 40 Days To Personal Revolution, he explains his Twelve Laws of Transformation. Law 2 is “Be Willing to Come Apart.” He uses the example of a mustard seed that must first break apart before it can grow to be a majestic tree.
Looking around the classroom that is Nature, we are given so many examples of this very transformation. A seed must crack its exterior to grow into a mighty oak tree. A baby bird struggles to break free of its life-sustaining shell. A beautiful butterfly must tear away at its chrysalis in order to fly for the first time. The crystallized array of colors in a geode must have its exterior broken open before it can shimmer.
Nature gives us these gifts so that we can understand that we also must break through our hardened shell in order to release our greatest potential.
The act of breaking apart came into my life, full force, just six months ago. I experienced what we commonly call a broken heart. My partner of ten years ended our relationship and I was completely blindsided by her decision. I felt myself falling apart mentally, emotionally and physically. At times I felt that I would never recover and that my heart would never mend. The thought of love ever filling my heart again was not even a remote possibility.
In her book How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life, Susan Piver writes:
“Heartbreak presents one of the most profound opportunities for spiritual awakening that one could possibly hope for. It destroys your point of view, which is incredibly valuable. You can no longer maintain your opinion of yourself, your ex, or the way your life was supposed to turn out. It’s all gone.”
The weight of my broken heart bore down on me heavily after my partner left. I wanted to blame her for my pain. For not wanting to get out of bed. For missing many days of work because I couldn’t face the world. Family members, worried about my mental and emotional state, were checking on me constantly. Co-workers were pleading with me to get counseling. In order to appease them (or, more accurately, to get them off my back), I made an appointment with a therapist. I figured that I’d go for a couple sessions, cry and feel sorry for myself, then stop going. That was not the case. I was truly fortunate to be paired with an amazing woman whose guidance, light and compassion helped me immensely. From her, I learned about energy medicine, various self-healing techniques and countless other lessons that I was ready for. Coupled with the love and support of family, friends and co-workers, I kept pushing myself to grow a little each day. I surprised myself at how ready I was for all of the great experiences that came into my life during this time. Four months later, I am in a positive — even blissful — state. I am forever grateful to these wonderful teachers.
In these four short months, I began to think that my partner did both of us a favor. In my case, I felt like this “slap in the face” was precisely what I needed in order to wake up to my life and notice how it was slipping away. It took some time, but I finally took hold of the reins and began to guide my life on a path of my choosing. Realizing that I had allowed too much of my life to go by without even attempting to make it what I wanted, I knew that I was given a gift: re-create my life. By my heart breaking (open), I was able to begin the work and exploration that I had avoided for far too long.
For well over ten years, I declared that my anthem was a song called “U Decide” by Sun 60. The one line that I claimed as my own was, “When do we become the person lost and locked inside?” I’d written that line in my journals numerous times. I used it as a signature line in my personal emails and in online profiles. I kept asking the Universe, not myself, when would I become that person locked inside of me? It was only during the past four months that I had an “aha!” moment. The only person responsible for freeing that person locked inside of me is ME. When I realized this, I immediately felt lighter and, yes, FREE. I suddenly understood that for so many years, I believed that the person inside me should be fully formed and know WHO she was and WHERE her life would take her. In this incredible moment of clarity, I accepted that it’s ok to let her free now even though she is not yet fully formed. I knew that, once free, she’d find her way. And I was, in that instant, completely open to the possibilities.
Other lyrics in “U Decide” resonate with me as well. “Take a look at your life/take a look at mine/there is nothing here to chain your mind” and “U decide/all the colors in your life.” My focus shifted from one of reaction to one of taking responsibility for the colors in my own life. I felt the key turning in the lock. I felt my inner being stepping into the world for the first time. And I knew that she’d be just fine.
Baron Baptiste writes:
“We all have flashes of awareness in which we realize that who we are in all our smallness has essentially to break apart in order for a new self to emerge….I’ve learned that it is only when we are willing to give up the fragile hold we have on our illusions and come apart that we can begin to see the truth, surrender, and begin anew.”
I encourage anyone who is experiencing a broken heart (or a feeling of falling apart or having a breakdown) to, first and foremost, seek out help and take gentle care of yourself. Then, when you’re ready, try to imagine your heart, breaking open, as a necessary part of expanding your life into one that you create. Think of your heart widening to embrace you and all that your life is meant to be.
My perspective shifted from one of blaming my ex for my broken heart to one of realizing that my heart was breaking open for a good reason. I had a tremendous life-force that could no longer be contained. The life-force was one of growth, passion, self-realization and love that had become too big for the container (my heart) that it was in. The breaking apart HAD to happen, and I’m glad that it did. I am a changed person because of it. I am strong, positive, embracing my spirituality and completely open to growth. In this act of my heart breaking apart, my life opened to me. And, with gratitude, I am open to my life.
Photo by Fe Ilya
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13 thoughts on “Breaking Open: How to Fix a Broken Heart”
What a beautiful story of awakening. You speak to all the important elements: seeing what happened as an opportunity, taking responsibility for your feelings and recovery, getting good support, being willing to let your heart break open. Your story is a testament to the possibility for all of us. Thanks so much for sharing it.
Excellent post. I have always know in some way, that trauma or when your heart is broken can make people stronger, but couldn’t visualise what was happening. Your story has made perfectly clear what changes are happening inside me. My outer shell is being broken down, so a new seed of life can grow; wiser and more suited to the new environment.
I love how you are focusing on the fact that your heart is breaking “open” and not just apart. Your writing really demonstrates that you’ve in this for the good, no matter what the situation looks like right now.
Thank you so much for sharing openly about your experiences.
Oh my, Liz. What a beautiful post. Rebirth is so painful and exhilarating at the same time. When you are in the middle of it, it feels like you are swimming in thick pea soup with no vision. But once you come up for air (or someone helps pull you up!), you can see an entirely new vista. As much as we resist emotional pain, the pain helps us to make the most profound leaps in our personal growth. Gratitude is such a mature and self-aware response to breaking open. I don’t know you, but I am proud of you! I hope this year brings you many more reasons to be grateful.
Thanks for sharing your story, it takes a special personal to see and learn from the lesson in relationships
Thank you for the wonderful comments. I was hesitant to share this piece, but your feedback makes me so glad that I did.
Peter, thank you so very much for the opportunity to contribute this piece to your wonderful blog!
Inside everyone of us there is potential for greatness, but for some it is harder to break free from old habits and truly experience what they can accomplish. As you so eloquently pointed out, it sometimes takes life changing experiences in order for us to break free, be it a painful or pleasurable one. Instead of waiting for one of these moments, I try remind myself daily of the vastness of power inherent in all of life, and how I too am a part of that power. Breaking free of limits, I believe, is the goal of life.
your story is so very heartwarming and so beautifully written. I got my heart broken recently too, in a different way. Whilst I am still so very, very sad I decided that I wanted to live on and the experience has led me to put in a much greater effort in achieving goals and being happy. People always say happiness is a choice and they are right. May you be very happy Liz. Thanks for your insights.
The most difficult part is always seeing the good behind the bad, turning 180 degrees and declaring “I’ve learned my lesson”. It takes so much courage and will. But if you want to stay afloat instead of giving up on your life and yourself -look for the positive in the hardest times. Thank you for the story.
Oh wow!!! I can’t even begin to let you know how this has been like a bomb going off in my head. I came to realize this morning how I’ve spent my life filling my empty spaces. I started writing about this in my blog and a link to this article was delivered to me inbox. You have given me a light to my path . I saw the path stretched before me, I just couldn’t see where to go. Thank you.
My heart and life was destroyed by the loss of my soulmate 8 months ago. I have learned to survive, to go on, but inside, the loss haunts me as much as it did the first second that she held me in her arms and whispered in my ear ” I dont want you anymore”, and with a kiss, she let me fall to my death.
I have felt some inkling of the rebirth that you are talking about. I have been able to step outside of my numb , normal life and look at things anew. I have no choice. I must rebuild who I am without her. I will admit that inside, I still hope and pray and beg for her to be in my life again, but im not holding my breath.
The loss of a loved one is really no different than a death. It is an ending that you have no control over and no answer for. It is illogical and makes no sense, yet it is what it is.
I dont know how you started to feel better 4 months after. In the past 8 months, the love and desire that I feel for her has not abated even one small bit. It does not fade, it does not go away. The ache continues day after day , never abating in its relentless grinding grip on my heart and mind.
I wish that I could say that I have found the zen about it that you have, but she was my life, my everything. I will love and ache for her for the rest of my life. I know this as surely as I need to breathe. I dont know how in the years to come, I will deal with its eternity in my life, I just hope that I dont go mad from it. But I may, I may.
Steve, I can relate but my story is far more sad or desperate. It’s been almost FOUR years and I still can’t get this girl out of my head. Worst part is she’s the one that begged me to date her, I ended up agreeing to being a “couple” thinking It was perfect because I would never get hurt and I loved the overly sexual personality she had.
Anyway long story short, slowly through our two and a half year relationship the tables turned to where I was begging her for affection. Every great time together as well as every nasty, hurtful thing said is at the tip of my memory like it happened yesterday…anyway Liz I wish I could find some closure like you did, and I’m happy for you. Anyway I had to get this out in the open its been FAR too long.
An inspiring account of how you worked through your heart break. Finding closure is very important but sometimes it doesn’t work that way.