Are you ready to be heartbroken?

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One of my favourite songs by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions goes by the title of this blog. I love, more than the words, the riff of the guitar which dances and touches something deep in my soul, and this song title entered my mind this morning when tears came to my eyes as I looked deep into the soulful eyes of my beautiful dog, Jasper. There was so much love in those eyes and my heart swelled up with all of this love, pouring out for Jasper.  Yesterday he had an injury following a walk and I was worried : first, for having put him in a place where he got hurt, second, due to the fact that just over a year ago he nearly died due to a paralysis tick lodged in the paw which got hurt yesterday. I guess it brought to mind and heart much vulnerability around the fragility of life and love.

Today,  I awoke feeling tired, despite this tiredness I made the effort to move out and onward with my day and low and behold grief began to flow like a river. I am aware that residual pain and grief lives within me, mostly  like the deep tide, it recedes and is not as open to awareness.  Then, there are days like this, a little rainy and overcast in which there are reminders of sorrows that have loomed large in days gone by and got buried under the sand of passing time and it flows out of me.

I spoke to my sister on the phone this morning. We haven’t always had the closest relationship.  At times I have been really angry with her. This morning I was feeling a little heartbroken, I wanted to be and was happy for her that my brother had been giving her a lot of support with her garden balcony, but it made me more aware of the lack of support I received, especially when I moved into my own place and there was illness and mental illness in the family and no one close to support me at all.

It seems that from the time my father died, when I was 22 I have been outside on the outskirts very far from love and support. I have a vivid memory of less than a few weeks after my father died finding myself on the London underground emerging from a dark tunnel into cold bleak rain, thousands of miles on the other side of the world, with two bags of clothing and possessions, almost too much to carry not knowing a single soul.  In one way it was an adventure, but I did now know where I was staying that night. Less than a few weeks before my plans to meet my boyfriend in India were cancelled when I received a 4 am phone call telling me not to come, he did not love me, he had met someone he loved much more than me. End of conversation.   My father had died a few days before.

There were two terminations of pregnancy to this man, who could never love me as much as he loved his ex who broke it off. I heard about his love for her all the time. He drove off and left me in a town a long way from home when I was pregnant with his first child. I had no money, my bags and wallet were in his car. I had to ring my parents to get the fare forwarded to get me back to my home town. I didn’t even intend to write this down as I started this blog but it is coming up to be seen and heard and that is probably all for the best.

Back to my earlier conversation with my sister, some of this grief came out. I am conscious that at times I can not reach the deeper grief as my anger overlays it like a hard armour.   I was told following a meeting of my support group a few months ago by someone who had witnessed my sharing of some of the anger that she had been told by a sponsor in AA to trust the anger as it would lead her to the deeper grief. In feeling my feelings this morning I was feeling my broken heartedness. That feels a lot like love to me. Its showing love for myself to allow myself to feel my feelings in order that I can embrace and understand them.

I was thinking of the Buddhist writer Pema Chodron and her mentioning of the soft sore spot in the heart that is the place both of awakening and healing as well as the entry point to our soul. Often we cover this soft spot over with defences. It can be scary to feel this sore spot, especially if we have been shamed or met with a lack of empathy before and it obviously scares others when we feel it.

In the conversation with my sister she shared that she is struggling emotionally at the moment. “I’m just not feeling on top of things. I made an appointment to see the psychiatrist.”  Mmm I thought, on top of things, is that really the right place to be? I question inwardly. We shared about the time of year, certain events that are happening that are triggers for earlier pain and unresolved issues. Then I began to cry and my sister said to me, “Please don’t cry.”   What I long to hear is not those words, to experience being received, held and understood in expressing the sadness. I don’t get this but I no longer feel as angry.   There is no place to really share it in my family.   Just no place.

I had a really insightful astrology reading a few years ago. In it the astrologer told me the myth of Lilith, like me Lilith had to take flight in the myth because she could find no place of refuge or understanding in her tribe. I am not sure of the exact story and will research it again later, but at the time it spoke to me, so deeply of my own journey. The taking flight, which has been like a kind of casting out or exile. The wandering lost and unconsciously driven my buried grief into addiction and promiscuity with the hunger for attachment and connection buried so deep as to be invisible, and yet acted out painfully and unconsciously. The finding of relationships where the same wounds would be enacted so that I could finally come to a place of understanding. The restless search for cure or a fix that could not come because the healing of it actually lies in understanding the wound and feeling it through inwardly.  It was always me that needed to wrap myself in the tenderness of love and understanding.

I am so grateful today, that I am conscious of this. I find it a blessing to be able to be feel the soft sore spot in my heart.  The paradox is that in my willingness to feel it, the pain and sadness soon transforms into something else, something bitter sweet and gentle, not hard, armoured and defensive.  And yet I acknowledge that even that harder place of defence is a necessary stage too, to the evolution of a soul. It was a place I had to live for many years until the alchemy worked out.

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As I consider how to wrap up this blog I see in my mind’s eye the image of an eagle that has burned clean of the flames. I think of an expression of the astrologer Liz Greene that speaks to of my own journey. “Wisdom through suffering and purification through the ordeal by fire”. I can relate to that : It speaks to my soul.

Suffering is, for me, the place of awakening, of realising that what needs to occur for peace is not the putting to rights, but the deeper acceptance of the reality of what is and was, in order that I can pass through from darkness to light. In allowing it to burn me clean I become like that eagle, with an enlarged vision, no longer so immersed in suffering with much wisdom earned that is the fire that keeps me warm and nurtures me through the sad days.

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