When you think of emotional pain, what is at the root cause of it? I can only think of two things beyond the realm of disorders. The two things that I came up with were relationships or traumatic experiences. Both of these together or apart have the ability to send someone into a tailspin. In both cases trauma and relationships can lead to heartbreak, our safety, security or beliefs are put at risk.

If you remember the blog “Garbage Cans”, my thoughts on trauma is that it is a build up over time, rarely is it just one trauma that tips the scales. This is similar to emotional pain, rarely is it just one that seems to crush the wind right out of us. Now we can’t go through life perfectly; never feeling loss, never feeling sadness or pain. Life is about feeling; it’s about feeling everything. Some just live their days longer in darkness and others in light.

Sometimes I ask a question of people in my life, I ask, “How’s your heart?” This question goes beyond “how are you?” Most people have to stop and think about it, it also leads to some more authentic conversations. Ask yourself “how’s your heart?”

Recently, a very close and dear friend of mine not only asked that question of me, they put a twist on it. They asked, “How broken is your heart?” Now I have committed to living authentically and honestly and I said the first thing that came to my mind and it was a single word, “Extremely”. But, then I did what I do, I sit with it, I go into my body and feel it; I go into my mind and make sense of it.

First I wanted to feel the word “extremely” deep into my body, it did not scare me, as it once would have. It did not want to make me run, as it once would have. It was a word that my body and mind agreed upon and it was now mine. Owning it in this way brought peace and tranquility. I was not fighting or resisting I was just letting it flow. (I wish I had learned this technique 35 years ago. Maybe not.)

Here is what I came up with and this is a reason why I don’t always ask the question “How are you?” We have all (well at least I did) learned to live with the answer of fine, good, ok or whatever your standard response. So no matter what some people are thinking or feeling they are fine.

I want you to imagine the first time you experienced sadness or heartbreak. Now I will represent that heartbreak with you now having to carry two 5-pound weights around. Sure 10 pounds is not that much at first but after a week or so it starts to push down. So you do some work or you push it away, and 5 pounds is gone you now only have 5 pounds to carry and this is easier. You feel like a new person “like a weight was lifted off your shoulders”. Your new normal is carrying 5 pounds of weight.

Now, it’s days, weeks, months, or even years later and BAM another sadness or heartbreak hits you. Someone who was supposed to protect you, care for you or love you does something and it crushes you. So you go to the gym and you grab another 10 pounds of weight. But, the original 5 is still there and it’s now 15 pounds.

Again the feelings start to subside and you cease the work or move on without truly morning the loss allowing yourself to grieve simply because you were told to “move on” or “get over it already” or any number of other things. But, hey you feel lighter and you can see the sun again. You have shed 5 pounds another weight lifted off your shoulders (or your heart).

Oh wait, that means our new normal, is the original heartbreak of 10 pounds. But, it’s so much lighter than 15 pounds so we move on. This goes on and on, each heartbreak adding weight each period of grieving work and ignoring subtracting weight, sometimes the work you do may even take the full 10 pounds away. This does not impact everyone the same way like some people have higher thresholds, bigger garbage cans.

Now, do you remember that little baby, the one when you were born with no weight? Now as a grown up or a growing up person you think, 50 pounds is normal. But there comes a point in life where some people self medicate, alcohol, drugs, gambling anything to stop the weight you feel on your heart. Some turn to be angry and mean and blame everyone else for what is in their heart. Others when they see no way in hell to lift the weight and the pressure gets to much, the sadness to much, they end it the only way they can see.

I see that weight can be lifted, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly, mending the broken heart, mending the spirit and healing bones much like how the Japanese tradition of mending pottery. The art of “Kintsugi” it means mending with gold or silver. They mend broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer and they believe that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken and having lived life. Not only can all the weight be lifted, you can heal and mend and be lighter and much more beautiful then when you first started.

 

Keep chasing those cars.

With Love, Respect and Admiration

Steve

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