Heartbreak: Bittersweet Medicine
Almost everyone knows how terrible it feels to have a broken heart. Heartbreak goes much deeper than just going cold turkey on love and happyness hormones. It can feel as if life is over, like dying, actually. It makes us touch bottom... and gives us the chance to transform our deepest fears. This is a half-essay, half-poem, dedicated to all of us who can relate ;)
I'm sure many people would agree that the worst part of any heartbreak is the feeling of irrevocable loss. It's like a visit at the morgue. Suddenly you stare death in the face... What died is the chance to be with the person you loved, and the dream of a future together.
But what happens if we suppose that this chance, this dream was never ours to begin with? What if this person was just bait for our heart and mind, to achieve something entirely different from what we thought should happen?
We are born as pure love - almost everyone would agree on that. Sooner or later however, our love is covered by all the masks we learn to wear while growing up... who we are is covered up. To avoid being hurt we hide. We are still love, but love cannot shine under a mask.
Even if we might not be aware of this, our soul is. The soul knows that because we lost love through hiding from pain, we can use pain to recover it. And for it to work we need a pain so big that it's impossible to run away from... Like a mom feeding cough syrup to her protesting child, the soul makes us take heartbreak medicine to recover who we really are.
It's amazing how much the pain of heartbreak resembles birth pain. Both come in waves that feel like they will sweep you away. They overwhelm you and leave room for nothing else. In the moment the pain hits, you dissolve in it. Heartbreak actually is the pain of birth, the birth of your real self. And the one who caused you that pain is the midwife...
So no matter how desperate you feel, your suffering was actually carefully orchestrated. It was your soul who attracted this person so they could work on the delicate points and secret defense mechanisms you would let no one see or touch before. Your soul is deep like the ocean, like space, and it's from the depth that you're being touched now.
Your lover evoked such intense feelings in you that they reached your critical mass, something strong enough to break through your protective layers. Whoever they were, worthy or not, they did their job. They found your spot of bliss and right next to it, the sore one, a deep old wound you've carried from a young age. We all do... it's part of the human condition, at least for the moment.
That wound is the shock of being born as pure love into a world where love meets with conditions. None of us were accepted or even seen for who we really are. We got mixed up in a complicated world at an age when for us, everything was simple. Rejection, blame, depression, anger, coldness were just beyond comprehension for us. We took the blame on us, buried the rage, and learned to deny the hurt.
What we call "character" got built around that hurt, creating masks, twisting our mind and leaving our heart severely damaged. The defenses, projections and protections we created around that wound are more elaborate than Alcatraz. Still that wound festers inside, appearing in our acts, thoughts, moods, our deep mistrust in life. But we almost never allow ourselves to acknowledge and FEEL it. And without that it, how can a wound ever heal?
Heartbreak changes all that. There is no way you could NOT feel your sore spot now. It's impossible not to feel the betrayal, the bitterness, the abandonment. That indescribable pain that leaves you curled up on the floor.
It's impossible to numb it, though sometimes you may try... And it's good that you can't numb it, because this is the chance to feel that wound, acknowledge it, look at it, that denied and tender part of you.
So when your lover took it all away, if they did a good job, they didn’t leave you space to move, to defend yourself, to strategize. They left you in a state of utter helplessness, paralyzed, unable to speak. You got dizzy, feeling raw and open, wounded and powerless. You're not even on your knees, you're on the ground, utterly alone, captured in your solitary bubble of pain.
The real lesson comes in these moments, hours, days, weeks... To be born, you have to die first. Just close your eyes... dream. Imagine. You find yourself on a battlefield behind enemy lines, lying among the wounded and dying.
But this death is not really happening, it is a lesson. This bitter, lonely death has to be lived through alive. Your body, heart and mind are not meant to die from this wound, even if you feel like the life blood is gushing out of you.
You have to merge with the dying, you have to feel life leaving your body, to come alive again. You have to feel the utter powerlessness of that shell, that mask you have been living in, in order to break free from it. You have to fall into paralysis to see how motionless you were before. You have to feel the blood rushing out of you to realize you hadn’t felt your heart beat for so long... You had to come within an inch of death to see you already were dying.
You went through this dream of pain and death, and you woke up a different person. Some dreams can change you forever... because they give you a feeling you will never forget.
Now, your gratitude has woken up. You move with more grace. You have seen something you won't forget. You look into the eyes of a street cat and you see yourself. You have become less dependent on being liked...
You know you will die one day and lose everything, but your soul knows you will lose nothing. You’ve been on the brink and you know you are not safe. But your soul knows you are.
This dance is beautiful. It creates everything that exists. And it goes on forever and ever. This dance will never end until the world ends and even then… something will always dance this dance. You are that something dancing itself.
You truly are made of stardust. And something more, life. And you only know this when death has touched you and has cut you and you’ve lain betrayed and powerless, dying, on a battlefield.
And you dream again and you're back on that field with the dead. It's dark and black birds are circling above. The ravens don't touch you though... You look into a raven’s eye and what you see is the sparkle that caught your heart and mind when you first met your beloved.
And you seem to fall into a bottomless abyss… the blackness of a sweet black cherry, the deep ocean, deep space... And the blood is leaving your face and rushing back in, and the wheel of life is turning, turning…
And you know that at another moment, the one you loved will be the fish that bites another’s bait, and they will bleed… and on and on… until all lies and all fears are gone, and the pride and masks have been ground to dust and sparkle.
And you stand naked in the darkness, naked and not ashamed… not aware anymore of the concept of shame… the concept of naked, of standing, of you, of darkness... And this time you’re letting go and you don’t fall… You fly...
Go stretch your wings. I love you.