Your Heart's Not Broken...It's Working Perfectly!
This morning I woke up with a little ache in my heart. I wanted to go back to sleep, pull the covers over my head and stay in bed all day. I rolled over onto my stomach and let out a big breath and sigh, “Ughhhhhhhh.” Then the most interesting thing happened: I felt the steady, strong, healthy beat of my heart against the mattress, and I was struck by the realization, “Your heart’s not broken, it’s working perfectly!” And this truth resonated with me deeply. Not only is my heart beating, the ache I feel is there to teach me something. Where did it come from? Well, after years of being completely independent, self-fulfilling and admittedly emotionally unavailable, I tasted the fruit of romantic connection and intimacy, and I allowed myself to become too consumed by it. For a moment, I was looking to find fulfillment in the eyes of another, only to be quickly reminded that this is not a sustainable path. Still, it is an easy thing for us to do, especially when we feel a deep connection, when we open our hearts and experience the joy of sharing ourselves and our love with another. But this is a fundamental error that we all make time and time again, in our lives and in our relationships: to mistake something outside ourselves as the source of our fulfillment and our wholeness.
When we buy into the illusion that someone else can complete us, make us feel good about ourselves and fill us up with their love, we give our power away and we deepen the insatiable longing within us. This is the longing that gives rise to many addictive and unhealthy relationships and lifestyle choices. The true yearning that lies at the root of these tendencies is to know, connect with and love ourselves fully and to experience a state of true oneness with The Uni-verse.
Once we establish this connection, this direct line, then we can experience true fulfillment and we can engage meaningfully in the sacred space of relationship without abusing or misusing the love of another. Of course, self-love and connection to The Uni-verse are not states that we arrive at once and for all, leaving all efforts and practices that got us there behind us. What are such practices? Any means by which we can go within and explore our true nature as spiritual beings and experience our connection to something greater than ourselves. A good place to start would be yoga, meditation, visualization, affirmations and prayer.
Ultimately, it is a journey and a process, one that is endless and forever deepening, one that requires consistency, and one that will involve missteps, trials and tribulations. There will be falls from the state of bliss that comes with glimpses of enlightenment, which is to know that we are children of The Uni-verse, that we are loved and worthy of love, for no other reason than the fact that we have hearts and souls, and it is our birthright to love and be loved.
Our hearts are ours to cherish, to honor and to treat with reverence. We were born with these magnificent entities so that we could love, give, care, share, nurture, empathize and have compassion. Sometimes, we misuse our hearts and we try to fill them up with the love of others. Just like a hangover after a night of seemingly blissful intoxication, or a belly ache after gorging on sweets and treats, we can quickly be reminded that the high is often followed by a come down and that perhaps our choice to over-indulge did not ultimately serve us.
In the same way, when my heart aches, it is serving a most important function. It is reminding me to look within for the love that I am seeking outside myself, to heal myself and to remember that the source of my fulfillment lies deep within me. Not out there, but in here. In that moment, the choice is mine to feel the ache and learn the lesson that my heart is teaching me, or to run away from it, to distract myself, to numb it and to miss the opportunity for growth.
So many of us experience heartache or heartbreak and, instead of learning the lesson that our hearts are offering us, we vow to never love again, we cut off the feeling, we close ourselves off from connection, we shut the doors to our hearts, lock them up indefinitely and miss the point altogether. To shut down and stop feeling is not the solution and will not give way to the healing or fulfillment that we ultimately yearn for, and will not create the opportunity for meaningful connection and relationship.
I’ll say it again: what we are seeking first and foremost is a relationship with ourselves and with The Uni-verse, and until we establish this connection, all other attempts to be fulfilled will fall short of the mark. Once we discover and learn to nurture this connection, we can begin to exercise our power and ability to be the source of our own fulfillment. Only then can we experience the love of another as the reflection of our own love and wholeness.
Our hearts are our greatest guides in this process, always leading us to the ultimate destination of oneness and completeness. This is our heart’s true purpose and when we forget this, it will ache to remind us that we are its keeper, that we already have access to all that we desire to feel within us and that we are the love that we seek.
Your heart isn’t broken, it’s working perfectly. Are you willing to listen to what it’s telling you and to learn the lesson that its aches are teaching you?
Written for The Daily Love (Aug. 18th, 2012)