The idea of emotions colliding with the physical self is nothing new.
It is often said that the greatest influence on the onset of chronic illness is stress.
Another ‘silent’ killer is again, emotional:
The heartache of being alone kills more relentlessly than cigarettes and obesity.
“Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.“
Douglas Nemek MD chief medical officer for behavioral health Cigna.
If anyone wants to figure out what kills you it’s the insurance Companies.
So life without heartbreak equates to a longer life ?
Think about the heart- it’s that mystical place where the physical and emotional merge.
There is a palpable pain in the chest unlike any other when one is sad. Yet under further medical scrutiny there appears no acute physical source.
So is the goal in making a better past to duck, dip, dive and dodge heartbreak at all costs ?
Not according to the Tin Man in Oz:
“Now I know I have a heart; I can feel it breaking”
After 23 years of being centered around the growth, education and development of our three children, their mother and I have been battered by the emotional impact of something we never saw coming – they have all left home within the space of 30 days.
All three off to begin their lives after a minimum of 20 years of preparation.
This might seem like a time for celebration, but instead I seem to be exclusively aware of the hole in the middle of my chest where the center of my world used to be.
Never saw it coming ?!?
How does that happen ?
The most challenging aspect of life’s changes seems to be my resistance to the change and this one is no exception.
I saunter (sometimes sprint) through thoughts of – Will my I fuck ups impact their lives ? Will they be ok? Will I be alone? And the biggie- Does this hole in my chest ever heal?
The answer is Yes.
And in particular the return to a less painful pressent will occur, however, Yes can only happen tomorrow , if I say NO! to trying to make it all pain free.
I can make that choice to let go or I can hang on until my formidable strength fails and all medical evidence suggests that one day it will, at which point the past that I am trying to make better-by fixing what has been done-will slam into my present.
So why then am I so hell bent on fixing the past? Because I am entranced by the delusion that I can!
And further- if I fix the the things I am ashamed of in my past, by in some mystical time travelling way, then perhaps I can avoid future heartbreak.
Heartbreak like children growing into adults and leaving home.
YA ! That makes sense right ?
If, on the other hand I can take the view of the Tin Man and embrace heartache as a natural byproduct of love, therein lies my only hope of diminishing the impact of heartache, in that the sadness will not be the only emotion I am aware of.
The other will be gratitude.
To be grateful for all of life is so challenging on days when it’s minus twenty Celsius and you have to bend to scoop the poop of the little dog that shares your space. Bending over with warm shit in cold hand is one of the “joys” that accompany pet ownership in Canada. So is euthanasia and everything in between. Like when that little guy rushes to the door to greet you because you are everything to him.
Embracing the frozen shit of life seems counter intuitive …but the alternative is to live alone… and apparently that’s not good for your health.
Embracing the practice of being grateful for heartache is also one of those paradoxical truths that when accomplished, makes tomorrow’s past just a little less painful…and the path to that can be seen as Dorothy boards the balloon to sail off into her future and the Tin Man finds and accepts the only view that will get him through:
To have a heart that is breakable is the very best “proof of a Life worth living“