A broken heart can weigh on your chest like an elephant. Perhaps it was a parent, or a child, or a pet, or a lover, or a job, or a house, or a hobby. No matter the catalyst–a broken heart is a broken heart is a broken heart. The second the shift happens, you are left with brand new circumstances after having loved something.
And yet, no broken heart is the same. This means that, when it comes to putting the pieces back together, there is no one way to mend it. You cannot simply show up at the doctor and receive one pill for broken hearts and then move on with your life. It just doesn’t work that way.
You can try and fill the space with new people or new places or new things. You can distract yourself with a new job or a new a hobby. You can shut the broken heart out in the cold. But, I know from experience that doing so will only mean that that heart of yours will go on to peer through the window into the warmth of your home, forever, like a ghost.
Until you sit with your heart in its likeness, you likely won’t get anywhere useful. And sometimes, the sitting with it is only the beginning. Once you sit down, you might realize you have been speaking the wrong language this whole time. You might realize you can’t even see the finish line from here. You might feel helpless to know how to fix it. You might notice just how heavy this elephant on your chest is. You might feel uncomfortable, and this discomfort might make you want to go back to pretending the elephant isn’t there. I suppose this is how so many broken hearts go on to remain broken.
If what I am saying speaks to you, I want you to know that I see you. I do not have all the answers. But, I do have an exercise that I created years ago, when a sudden ghosting made me realize how not over an [unrelated] old, old flame I was.
Back then, I did not have answers, either. And, this exercise certainly wasn’t the Toni Braxton to un-break my heart. However, I did feel lighter afterward. And since then, I have fallen in love again; I have lost love again; I have made big life changes; I have been diagnosed with cancer; and I have beaten cancer. At some point along the way, I started feeling whole again. And better yet, I have built a relationship with my heart wherein we listen to and honor one another.
If you ever feel pulled to sit with the elephant on your chest, too, here’s what you do.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Write out How to try and mend a heart at the top of the page. Then, get going. Let your heart guide your pen as you figure it out.
Make a prescription to mend your heart. Write a list, if that feels right. Or, draw a hand turkey. Or, graph your options. Or, write a recipe. Or, make a venn diagram. It doesn’t have to look any certain way. Just see what comes up when you set in motion that you want to figure out how to try and mend a heart…and let it all out.
You might notice old things come up. You might notice how much you have tried to mend your heart, or how much you have tried to avoid it. Get those things out of you and know that you have done your best. You are here, now.
Here’s what mine looked like, years ago.
How to try and mend a heart. Take a road trip. See new faces. Relocate, as many times as you have to. Read. Don't read. Lose concentration. Let someone think whatever they want without trying to resolve it. Let that ruin other opinions because it wasn't your poison, anyway. Practice yoga. Stop practicing yoga. Practice halfheartedly. Practice half-assed, wholeheartedly. Laugh a lot. And then, a little. Stop thinking about the other person's feelings when you are standing up for your own, once. And let that be an unfortunate relationship, if it has to be, because at least it expressed itself somewhere. Slap a name on a mailbox. Eat too much ice cream. Dye your hair. Buy a real bed. Collect rocks. Take pictures. Get lost in them. Get lost in the world around you, which is full of pictures, if you think of it that way. Go out sometimes. Don't, sometimes. Most of the time. Part of the time. All of the time. Fast. Hear what people say a lot about hindsight. Know it may not be ideal to realize afterward, but at least you did end up seeing it. Wait for it. The day when it weaves a bit back together. Know that it will come in time, even if it feels that too much time has passed. Even if it isn't here yet. Even if you never get to even see a glimmer of that. You do not get to decide. Your heart does. Ask it. Ask it how. Acknowledge all that you have done and all that you did. Tell it you did those things because you wanted it to heal. And when you feel helpless to really mend it, give it
the whyBecause it matters. Because it doesn't deserve to break every damn day. Because it is meant to feel light again. And you may have tried all these things you thought were right, but weren't, because you are not it, so how can you know for sure. But you did it because you wanted it to mend, and now you are asking because it matters because it mattered because it is time because it deserves to be because no one has to live that way, especially not your beautiful heart [even if it feels no one sees it, or everyone does, but keeps on keepin' on] and then, pause with a warm cup in the late summer evening, sunburnt with shades open, even at night, to let the moon in. Crushed mint leaves and dried rose petals, lavender and spindly twists of lemon, cool verbena and smashed cinnamon sticks. Whirring fans and beams of light through the windows. Blinds tingling with the movement of air. Thumping dump trucks too early Tuesday mornings. Little fellas chirping in the trees. Thumbs twiddling, awake a little earlier than you need to be most days, waiting for the moment to arrive . . . . : . ;