It Takes Courage to Open Your Heart

“Our heart knows what our mind has forgotten — it knows the sacred that is within all that exists, and through a depth of feeling we can once again experience this connection, this belonging.” —Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

You need to give yourself credit if you are living with a broken heart. A broken heart testifies that you have taken the first steps on a pilgrimage to a deeper, more compassionate life. To be touched to the quick by losing your love, you must have taken the risk of caring. You must have opened your heart to cherish, trust and depend on another. You showed up enough in your tenderness and vulnerability so that losing that love could crack you all the way open.

Opening one’s heart in intimate relationship goes against the grain of our protective shells—it takes guts. We must find the courage to trust that much before we can love. . . and before our heart can break.  When we open to love, whether we realize it or not, we are agreeing to be deepened and changed by the alchemy of loving. Often that change comes about in ways we cannot anticipate.

A broken-heart is one of those ways. The loving heart has to break, it seems, in little everyday disappointments or with one big blow, to grow down into a more complex, tender intimacy with ourselves, with life, and with our humanity. When loving brings betrayal or loss, if we can find the patience and grace to bear gently with the disintegration of our world, love’s alchemy intensifies its paradoxical work. It marinates you in a rage, fear, loneliness, grief and despair you feel you can barely endure.

But when we are cracked open and fall into the scary depths, fragmented pieces of the heart nourish our dark places and magnetize the healing light of the Holy Spirit within. In the dark times, as we are schooled by invisible hands in kindness towards our brokenness, gradually love’s wounds transform. Compassion, strength and wisdom take root in the loamy ache we thought would never end.  We develop an exquisite sensitivity to the suffering of others.  Until one day, as if by a miracle, we wake to find our heart has grown into a fresh new sensuality and love for this confusing, beautiful life.

Throughout the long months and years of grieving the loss of my abandoning partner, I gradually reframed loving so deeply as an act of bravery and faith, not naïveté and delusion, as I originally believed. Of course, if I had known what was coming, I would never have signed up!  Yet, trusting enough to love him, though he proved to be a faithless partner, was the first step in awakening to a more vibrant faith in the lush compassionate mystery of my own heart.


Love and the Mystery of Betrayal Book Cover

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