Breaking Open: How to Fix a Broken Heart

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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