Unbreaking Your Heart: A Lesson in Doing the Work

I know for most of us summer is far from our consciousness. By now, we are nestled in to our warm homes with no intention of facing the harsh winds of winter. And yet, my mind is still preoccupied with all that happened while the days were long & hot. This past summer was a tough one. Many clients I’ve worked with, friends I’ve caught up with, fellow witches on social media, have all shared their struggles through the past season. It’s fairly comforting to know I’m not alone.

We hold so many expectations for the season of sunlight, promise, and positivity. For some of us, however, summer is a season of distraction; a season of trying our hardest to do the work. It can be a struggle to simply get out of bed to enjoy that sweet, sweet sunshine.

Some days are really, really good! Some days just … suck. There’s no eloquent way of putting it.

Now with summer and sadly, autumn, behind us, I’m returning to my introspective nature.

I created this space just over a year ago in the midst of heartbreak & continued to use it as a distraction from the pain instead of what I meant it for; an expression of myself & a space of solace for others. I’m returning to this space having done the work. I promise. 

The thing is, with aches of the heart, they return. The aches & pains wait until you’re vulnerable again. When you open that big heart of yours to let more love in, the same old aches make their way in too. Sometimes they drag us further down than they did the first time.

I struggled to release that pain. Layer after layer I peeled back the hurt & revealed a stronger woman. A wiser woman.

A woman who doesn’t take shit from the boys that cross her path.

A woman who puts herself first.

This past summer started with such promise. Much like the one before it. With so much light & love. I shared many special moments with those I love dearly & met more wonderful souls in those moments too. 

And then my soulmate-best friend moved across the country.

And then I ran into the man who broke my heart.

And then I received a call from my father that left me disappointed and anxious. 

And then I had my hours cut at the job that I love.

It was a lot.

Any one of these hardships I could have handled with ease & perhaps a smile. But, all together, in the midst of what was supposed to be an uplifting season, they left me defeated.

Defeated & scared. Scared & anxious. Anxious & sad. 

So, what’s a witch to do? She unbreaks her own damn heart.

Unbreak My Heart

Queue: Toni Braxton.

Queue: the sweet catharsis of tears.

And, don’t forget about the restless nights spent avoiding growth & distracting myself from the pain.

Just as growth cannot happen when we stay in our comfort zone, love cannot come into our lives when our hearts remain closed.

However, it’s wildly difficult to see past the heartache & deal with the real-life challenges that require our attention. Like, our student debt, or our rent payments, or the laundry piling up behind the bedroom door. Or, more existentially, what we’re actually doing with our lives. That was (one of the many) lessons that I took from this summer’s hardships.

The first step in any rehabilitation is admitting you have a problem. So, naturally, the first step in unbreaking your own heart is admitting its still broken! This seems simple enough. But, in reality, we play tricks with ourselves and our hearts. We trick ourselves into believing that our hearts are fully mended when they’re really just poorly patched back together. Admitting this to yourself is probably (definitely) the hardest step to take. The first cut is the deepest, as Sheryl Crowe crooned to me this summer at my city’s Folk Festival.

We need to cut deep in order to heal deep. And I cut deep. I sat it my suffering constantly. Whether it was in the park on a sunny afternoon, in my sunroom in meditation, or down by the river at my favourite spot amongst the whispering trees. I did this until I could admit to myself that I still had some shit to let go of, to own up to. I had to be brutally honest with myself. And let me tell you, that shit ain’t easy.

The worst part was thinking to myself, Haven’t I done this already? Didn’t I let go of all this pain a long time ago? Shouldn’t I be on to bigger & better things by know?

I had to remind myself, and I’d like to remind you too: Time is not linear. Healing is not linear. We grow & change & transform at our own pace. Once we can acknowledge that, we can stop ignoring the emotions that come up, all the messy stuff we don’t want to admit to still feeling after all of this time. I’ve written about this before, but it will always be true. The challenge is recognizing those messy emotions, sitting in them, allowing them to wash over you & ultimately, letting them go.

This is the work.

A Short List of What Doing the Work Looks Like

1. Pull all your pieces together. 

Pick them up. Really look at them. Throw those away that no longer serve you.

2. Bring your focus to all that you’ve neglected.

What have you let slide while mourning your heart? Clean your room. Pay your bills. Water your plants. Call your grandma.

3. Be honest. 

Tell them how you feel. Tell yourself how you’re feeling. Tell the world if you need to.

4. Listen to the whisperings of your heart. 

Sit in silence & solitude. Listen to what your heart has to say. Write it down.

5. Forgive yourself. 

Send gratitude. To yourself, to those who hurt you. Continue living. Continue thriving.

Mindfully Moving Forward

Now that we’re collectively moving into a darker season of introspection & transformation, it’s important to remember that doing this “heart work” is necessary in order to get the rest of our shit together. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

It’s also important to remember that the pain doesn’t necessarily stop here.

While we may feel great, on this gratitude-induced high, following our unbroken hearts whether they may lead – be mindful of the journey. Take stock in what happened to you. Own it. Move forward with intention. Whatever that means to you.

Don’t forget what brought you to this place.

For me, that means giving thanks for the ones that taught me what pain feels like. And, it means sending loving-kindness to those who need it, those I truly care about, whenever I’m capable of doing so.

From one unbroken heart to another, I send you love.

Always ~ zz

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