Heartbreak Wisdom Journal – Entry 2: Gentleness Toward Your Experience

“Love Love Love” by Of Monsters and Men


“Reminder” by Mumford and Sons

Until recently, if I heard these songs, I would almost instantly be brought to tears. Such lines, as: “So I watched the world tear us apart. A Stoic mind and a bleeding heart — You never see my bleeding heart…” were enough to bring the depths of my pain and anxiety to the fore, washing over me like a great tidal wave. The other day, one of the two popped up on my phone, and I found myself smiling gently, enjoying the melody and accepting the myriad feelings that bubbled up.

Some might be confused: “Why not just remove them from your phone?” I cannot hide every reminder of my past and my heartbreak. That would be inauthentic, childish, and extremely difficult. It would be like trying to stubbornly deny that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west while doing my damnedest to never look up at the sky.

The tender heart of the warrior makes friends with the feelings that come up, no matter what they may be. The warrior knows that trying to eradicate or obliviate what we feel just keeps us stuck in our painful patterns. Opening to them tenderly allows room for kindness to oneself… and to others.

As a counterpoint, the song that reminds me of this tender, gentle presence is:

 “Megan” by Anesthesia

What helps more than anything is to be gentle toward yourself. Gentleness doesn’t mean being all “poor baby” or coddling yourself in any way. Real gentleness has much more precision and intelligence than that. Gentleness means simply that you acknowledge and embrace your own experience from moment to moment, without judgment. Without trying to fix it. Without feeling ashamed of it or, if you do feel ashamed of it, you do not feel ashamed of your shame! In this way, gentleness is actually an advanced form of bravery. You aren’t afraid to take on your own suffering, even though you don’t know how or when it will end; still, you agree to feel it. Somehow, this acceptance begins to calm things down. On its own timetable, gentleness begins to pacify even the most raging emotions. Gentleness is the spiritual and emotional warrior’s most powerful weapon.

The best way to cultivate gentleness toward yourself, thought by thought and moment by moment, is through the sitting practice of meditation. In fact, meditation, which is sitting with your self, your thoughts, emotions, and yearnings, and simply allowing them to be as they are, is the practice of gentleness itself. There is no better teacher than this.

Most likely, there will be only a few times in your life when you’ll reach the limit of what you can bear. It may be from falling ill, the death of a parent, or even the loss of a most precious possession, such as your home, and of course it can also be because of a broken heart. To face these extraordinary times, you need to take extraordinary measures. Most of the tactics touted as “extraordinary measures,” however, are really ways of escaping the reality of what we must face: our emotions. Certainly drinking, drugging, random sex, and sleeping all the time are ways to avoid emotional pain, but even healthier means, such as positive thought, physical exercise, therapy, or simply forcing yourself to move on are also methods of stepping away from what ails you, rather than toward it. Stepping toward it and going into it do not just mean lying around crying all the time. It means meeting your emotions and relating to them, not as enemies to be conquered, but as wounded friends from the front, needing your loving attention. — Susan Piver, The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, pp. 48-49

The Strength of the Warrior

Previous Heartbreak Wisdom Journal Entry: Entry 1: Wounded Heart’s Tender Flesh
Next Heartbreak Wisdom Journal Entry: Entry 3: Wounds


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Heartbreak Wisdom Journal — Entry 3: Wounds | On the Way
  2. Trackback: Heartbreak Wisdom Journal – Entry 1: Wounded Heart’s Tender Flesh | On the Way

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