This post is part of my cornerstone content, written years ago, updated for today, and still inspiring wisdom and deep understanding.
I was on a walk with Tootsie when I came across this rock.
It looks like one of the many heart-shaped rocks I’ve picked up over the years, but with the bottom broken off. As I picked it up, I was surprised at not only how heavy it seemed but how perfectly it fit into my fingers, my thumb resting comfortably in the space in the center.
I carried it like this on my walk, thinking, as I often do, about what this broken heart rock was trying to tell me.
Broken hearted badass
My first thought was to notice how much it still looks like a heart. Even with the big chip taken out of the bottom, this stone is still heart-shaped. I took this to mean, although our hearts have been broken, battered, and scarred, they’re not any less powerful.
In fact, it’s because of the pain and scars from life’s lessons that they’ve become even more powerful. They’ve developed gravitas; authority, weightiness, and dignity. Broken hearts are no longer tender and perfect. They’ve been around the block a time or two, taken some licks, and gotten back up to fight another day. Broken hearts may not be pretty, but they are beautifully badass.
Broken = Increased future potential
Speaking of beautifully badass, I was sharing this insight with my friend and coach, Lisa Robbin Young, when she told me about the idea of super cropping. She said, “Breaking them [plants] when they’re young makes them stronger and able to produce more than they ever could have without being broken.”
Another way to describe it comes from a Google search.
“Super cropping is a High-Stress Training (HST) technique. When you stress the plant by slightly hurting it in a planned way, the result is a bushier plant with stronger limbs and stems, able to grow and support larger fruit all the way to harvest.”
So, withstanding damaging effects early on encourages future strength and higher production. At least for plants, so why not for humans too?
Heartbreak = Human
About a day or two later on FaceBook, my friend and editor, Don Rush, shared this essay by poet, David Whyte.
Here’s part of it…
“Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete’s quick but abstract ability to let go. Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.
Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream, a child lost before their time. Heartbreak, we hope, is something we hope we can avoid; something to guard against, a chasm to be carefully looked for and then walked around; the hope is to find a way to place our feet where the elemental forces of life will keep us in the manner to which we want to be accustomed and which will keep us from the losses that all other human beings have experienced without exception since the beginning of conscious time. But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.”
Lessons from a broken heart
Perhaps, what matters is whether we look at heartbreak as an excuse or an opportunity.
Do we use it as an excuse for our current, disappointing existence? Constantly going over the details of our misfortune, desperate to convince ourselves and everyone we meet of our victimhood? Do we shrink from the pain, lashing out at anyone who dares to try to help us see otherwise? Do we allow the tragedies in the world to get in the way of our ability to find truth and happiness in the present moment?
Surely, our hearts beat for more than just pain and suffering.
Perhaps we could use heartbreak as a reminder of the love we carry within us and how incredibly clear we become when we face it. Maybe we can let our broken hearts help us see our truest and newest selves, as the pain brings us new life and awareness, over and over again. At best, we can use tragedy as a call to action, an alarm clock for the soul, waking us up to who we want to become and what we need to do for our roots to grow deeper, allowing our souls to expand within the Universe.
Maybe the reality is, every single day, we wake up somewhere along this spectrum. Using the pain and embracing the lessons we’ve learned to grow to our fullest potential. Perhaps, it’s within this search for awareness within the pain that we discover not only our humanity but our divinity as well. So beautifully badass.
What do you think, my friendly blog reader?
What do the scars on your heart tell you?
I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.