“Be brave enough to break your own heart”. Sugar

4 thoughts on ““Be brave enough to break your own heart”. Sugar”

  1. Your best yet. . .and on one of my favorite subjects these days–aging. I’ve been thinking that of the first three of the Buddha’s “heavenly messengers” (old age, sickness, and death), I’ve somehow thought least about this aging thing. Perhaps our culture has conspired to hide the reality of aging even more than the inevitability of illness and mortality.
    What Sugar’s advice means to me is, “Be brave enough to bear witness to the sorrows of the world, be brave enough to be fully present for all of it, or, as Joanna Macy puts it “honor your pain for the world.” This essential step arouses compassion and allows us to see clearly that we’re all part of one interconnected whole, and, while we can’t remedy every ill, we can each play a part.
    Looking forward to next week’s installment. . .


    1. Wow, thanks so much for your response Anita. Good for me to contemplate. Actually I think aging is out there, more visible than death and dying, but not in a way that helps us contemplate it. Not in a way that helps us accept the losses it inevitably entails, as well as honoring its benefits. Not in a way that sees it not only as decline, but also a period of growth, deeper understanding and wisdom. For me, that and death are equally important because our own death is going to happen (in whichever form it comes, sudden or lengthy), and because until that happens, there will be an increasing loss of loved ones. To stay awake, and allow the heart break, and be brave and compassionate. It’s huge. xo


    2. What a great essay Gayle. The story about your dad’s decline is pretty scary. That this decline can seemingly come out of nowhere when one has been incredibly physically active their whole life. I have a take on the handsome 90 year old with whom your mom sometimes dines. I like to think that he lives most of the time in quiet meditation of sorts. Maybe that’s where we will all live should we live that long. Good reason to hone our meditation skills now. My mom was always a doer, ambitious, running around, busy. But at the end of her life, I think she was happy with much less, less talking, less doing. I think I will be because if I live that long I think I would be very tired. Keeping up with the world and the news makes me tired. Living fully is hard work. Reading your essay makes me try to visualize myself as an old woman just finally happy with the simplest of living, meditating in what physical pleasure is left. Sitting and napping in the sunlight, or petting a kitty, or listening to the birds, or closing my eyes and feeling peaceful. That may look sad to outsiders. At least your moms 90 year old friend smiled a lot. That makes me think he’s not so unhappy. Anyway……..
      As to the quote about having the courage to break your own heart. I have my own understanding of it. I’ve read different variations on it. Oscar Wilde said “Hearts are meant to be broken.” Another buddhist quote said something like “Hearts are meant to be broken open……” so they can expand. I have my own experience of that happening. For me it was allowing my heart to stop being attached to something I couldn’t have. What I couldn’t have was my husband. The decision to leave him was incredibly painful, but my heart finally got it and set me free to live a new life without him.
      Well, this certainly got me to thinking about things. Thank you Gayle for your writing and for opening your heart. I love you.


      1. Thank you dear Maxe for writing your reflections here. I think you are right about the smiling 90 something year old. I think his ready smile did reflect, at least in his case, a peaceful happiness. He did not seem to be struggling with his situation at all, though maybe he did earlier on. Who knows? Thank you for the quotes about the heart breaking and breaking open. And for sharing your own personal story of heart break and letting go. Thank you for your courageous showing up and loving in life! I also agree that living fully is hard work! xo


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