December 3

LOVE MONTH: DAY 3: “Sorrow is how we learn to love. Your heart isn’t breaking. It hurts because it’s getting larger. The larger it gets, the more love it holds.”― Rita Mae Brown

I have always believed that a broken heart is how love can come in, because it is expanding. Perhaps this is more true. I am not sure that it matters, but I know how I have been able to expand my capacity for love and compassion.

That has happened, for me, when there was a feeling of pain in my chest. An actual ache that came from the loss of a beloved pet, my adopted daughter, my husband and others whom I truly loved. There is a physical ache that takes place when I am able to sit with that grief and loss and allow it to tell me what is going on.

We all have these opportunities. It is not about transferring my pain onto yours or absorbing your pain to “fix” you. It is about sitting still with ME and allowing my heart to grow in that way to allow the pain to sit with me. I love the images of The Grinch and how his heart grows from that tiny seedling to fill his chest when he hears the village people singing their song.

When we are in the presence of our own ability to FEEL, we grow. When we can sit with our sorrow and our pain, we have become grownups in a way most addicts don’t know how to be. We run from one situation to another in order to avoid anything that feels uncomfortable and may have some pain involved. Actually, that ache is not pain anyway. It is sadness or grief.

It passes fairly quickly when we allow it. BUT, it will dog us for a lifetime when we run from it. And the Ego story that goes along with it is terrifying because fear is the tool of the Ego. There is, in my humble opinion, no Devil or Satan. It is the Ego as I understand human nature at this time in my life. If I substitute that for all the so-called Evil that people talk about, I see how this all works. Always have. It is the crux of my disenchantment with religious bodies.

When I have opened myself to my own sorrow and grief, I can and will learn to love. Until that time, all I can offer is dependence. This is always going to be filled with disappointment, regret and resentment, because dependence is telling me I am not enough and must be with you to be okay. This is why addicts do not know how to love and be in relationship.

We are too selfish and self-serving to actually love and have never learned to open our hearts to the real thing, which requires a great deal of self-care and self-awareness. I see this more often than not in the day-to-day life of most addict relationships. Co-dependency is a horrible thing to live inside. It is a selfless service of ourselves to others…with NO agenda and NO payoff that makes LOVE. We all get to do this, but few ever do. So sad…a broken heart or an open heart is not what Ego says it is. But you have to do this work to find that out. And the payoff is to FEEL all of it.

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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