What it Means to Hold Space for your Heart

Matters of the heart. That’s what I wrote down today to write about, and even though it sounds like a cliche title from some cheap and dirty gas station paperback, this is what we need to remember when it comes to matters of the heart:

If and when you hurt, notice if the first thing you do is mentally proclaim – “I am fine.” And then be honest, as brutally as you can in that moment; because the truth is, we’re not fine when we hurt. But just because we aren’t, doesn’t mean we’ll never be OK again. And in order to cross that threshold of pain, we must surrender to what crushes us.

I realized today as I was scribbling my thoughts on paper that there is such a thing as holding space for your heart. But we don’t, and here’s why:

We run.

My most serious relationship ended in a heap of smoke. Neither one of us were invested in self-awareness long enough to truly see what our “togetherness” was doing to our individuality. We called it quits so many times, I lost track, but the first time we broke apart is where I learned how I grieve in love. I realized that no matter how intense the pain was of losing someone, the mental confusion of trying to wiggle myself out of that pain was even worse. I remember spending days at work, just crawling through the motions of my everyday tasks. I felt like someone cut off my legs, like I had no anchor to tie me to this world so that I could put one foot in front of the other, like I used to. Instead, I felt like I had no home in my world anymore, and it was that feeling of being alone that turned up the volume on my fear that I was just then getting to truly know. The worst part was how I subconsciously disconnected myself from people and things that mattered to me. I stopped enjoying time with my friends and family because I didn’t want to explain my pain to anyone; I closed myself off from yoga and self-care, because that would mean sitting with what hurts, and there was no way in hell I was allowing that to overpower me; and I stopped writing, because it would mean that I would have to be honest about what hurts. And for many months, I spent my days and nights in this bubble that I had pulled close to myself, believing that if I had enough thoughts in my head to solve the heartbreak, I could start to piece myself back to normalcy.

I never did. That love gave me two years of beautiful memories and a lifetime of lessons in pain, surrender, and honesty. I am just now extracting the wisdom from that past.

But this is what I mean when I say we don’t hold space for our heart: we don’t allow ourselves to grieve emotionally. Instead, we hold back our tears and brokenness like it’s a rope holding us from the drop, because we have to be “strong” and “not let this get to us.” The only part of our humanness making those hard-ass decisions is our mind – the mind that works like hell behind the scenes, ensuring that every possible solution that could remove the pain is brought up within milliseconds of said pain. We rummage through thought after thought, memory after memory, until we find a solution; until we can say, I am fine, again, and maybe really mean it this time. If the mind can make a decision that we were not just rejected by love, it will go on. It will continue to move through the day and into the weekend, where it will numb itself with shots and drunken walks of shame and hungover regret. And when that’s not enough, it will find busyness to justify that no man will ever take away our happiness if we just stay the course. And the only problem with that is that it’s such a ridiculous lie…

If you do anything when you hurt, try and hold space for your heart. That little ticker that just got stepped on needs to heal. More importantly, it needs to shed the layers that we’ve stapled onto it with all of this mind-making solution work. It needs to rip off the bandages that have held it together, from all of the times we were too scared to let this muscle lead the way. Instead, we relied on logic and thoughts to get us out. We never let the heart decide, and don’t you think it’s been too long for it to not have a say? The heart is the one that hurts. The mind just wrestles, but it can never be rejected. It can’t understand the degree of pain, so why should it be in charge of deciding how that pain is felt?

I’ve been visualizing my heart in a different light recently. I see it like an old friend, wrapped up in her favorite blanket somewhere in the corner of the couch, finally allowing herself to be washed over by what hurts. And I can sit down next to her and not say a word, and instead allow her to find the words alone, even if they’re quiet, even if they’re low. Because it’s not our duty to fix the heart. It’s our permission to allow it to break so that it can come together again, because it always will.

If you do anything when you hurt, hold this space for your heart. The mind will quiet and the solutions will fall away, and there will be a moment of pause. Sit in that pause and give your heart room to weep. It’s in that breaking that we heal, over and over again.

It’s been years since my crash-and-burn relationship. Since then, I feel like I’ve repeated myself in moments of unreturned love, but I’ve taken a liking to these re-dos. It just means I get more chances to see the lesson there. Does heartbreak still hurt? I think I still hurt because I’m finally allowing myself to, but am I hurt indefinitely? Absolutely not. I am whole because of it, and I am wiser for it, and this post is not about telling you to be strong in love. On the contrary, I’m asking you to be a little weak, because if we stop trying to fix our pain so damn much, we may actually heal from it.

 

xoxo

 

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