As a therapeutically-inclined yoga teacher, I work with lots of people who are in the process of healing broken bones and joint replacements. I remind them that healing takes time and energy and that injured bones and tendons actually repair themselves stronger than before.
The heart is like that too. I don’t mean the physical heart. We all know how our habits affect our ticker. We understand that we should drink more water, eat more fruits and vegetables, get moving, and hit the pillow earlier to move towards heart health.
I’m talking about the spiritual heart. How do we live a life that supports a strong heart in the larger, more energetic sense? To take care of our physical heart, we try to avoid habits that stress or strain the cardiac muscle. But to strengthen our spiritual heart, we need to have the courage to get it bruised and scarred.
We’ve all experienced heartbreak. A terrifying diagnosis, a lost job, the death of a loved one, general anxiety over the future…all of these things test our mettle. Some days the urge to throw in the towel is overwhelming. The world can be a heavy, disappointing, devastatingly painful place to exist.
But there is a greater purpose to pain and loss. When our hearts ache, we’re being challenged to ask the Big Questions about our purpose here on Earth. Answering those questions help to give our life direction and drive.
When I am through with my heart in this lifetime, I want it to be battered and beaten up, scarred from heartache. Because that means I had the courage to be engaged in my own life, to be awake and not simply alive. Life is full of heartbreak and it takes nerve to truly feel it all. But just like a broken bone, a broken heart mends and is more resilient than before. The scars act as validation of our wisdom and experience. When we’re brave enough to welcome the pain, to acknowledge it as a crucial part of us, we emerge hardier and tougher. It is only then that we may know peace in our hearts.