Posts Tagged ‘heartbreak’

with thanks to Joi Sharp

There’s a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, “Why on our hearts, and not in them?” The rabbi answered, “Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.

―Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Again today I rest my hand above my heart
and feel how naturally the body softens,
how simple it is in this moment to forgive
myself for thinking I should be anything
but what I am. Hello air that fills
this body. Hello life that pulses through.
Hello mystery of gentling. Hello self
who would resist. I rest my hand
above my heart and think of how
for many years my teacher laid
her teachings exactly there—
placed them right where my hand is now
so that when my heart broke,
the teachings fell in, just as the Rabbi
once said they would.
I think of how it saved me, this falling in,
how in that terrible breaking moment,
what had been understood only by the head
became blood, became breath,
became every step, every unstep,
became nerve, became bone,
became true.
I rest my hand above my heart
and feel how this, too, is the tenderest of teachings—
to say yes to the body, to ask nothing of it,
to feel in the palm the miracle of heart beat,
and fall in, fall all the way in.  

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Strange Wish

I would never have wished
for those years when I starved myself,
years when any number on the scale
was a reason to hate my own body.
I would never have wished to be in the room
with the man who didn’t listen
when I said no. I would never
have believed I was capable of weaving lies
that could cause so much hurt,
would never have wanted to break
so completely I walked through the world
like a ghost. And yet I have never been
more grateful for the breaking, the grieving,
the struggling, the loss. I didn’t know how resilient
I was until I was shattered. I didn’t know
how failure would teach me trust. Didn’t know
how pain would open me to feel more compassion,
to fall more in love with the world.
It would be a lie to say I am grateful for pain.
But I am grateful for this heart
that contains grief and joy,
grateful for this body that expresses
fear and courage, anger and hope.
Grateful to know myself not only as self
but also as whatever is holding me,
as great space holds the day—
how much bigger the world is now.
I would never wish heartbreak on you,
but if it comes, when it comes,
I wish you the gift of holding the heartbreak,
the miracle of opening
beyond what we ever dreamt was possible,
I wish you gratitude for life,
no matter how impossible it is
to say thank you.

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