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The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart

Prefer to listen to your posts? I’m happy to oblige:

I have been madly, deeply, head over heels in love for the last 8 months.

Like, kismet.

Like, the heart wide open, surrendered, vulnerable, magical sacred kind of love.

Like, roadtrip adventures, family introductions, setting up the minister and DJ and caterer for our January 2015 wedding kind of love.

Yeah, that kind of love.

Then clarity happened.

Our diverted paths were revealed and exploring them separately was the only loving thing to do.

Heart. Break.

In the worse kind of way.

Aches in my belly, loss of appetite, restless sleep, overprocessing everything.

I’ve waffled between acceptance & resistance, gratitude & resentment, hope & surrender.

Some days I feel empowered knowing we’ve made the right decision and other days the truth is so painful I want to hide under the covers, watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, eat kettle corn and obsessively prowl Instagram all day.

This isn’t my first heartbreak but I haven’t gotten very good at it.

I resist, sulk and hold on too tight in attempt to still build something beautiful out of the salvaged scraps.

But through it all, two practices are literally saving my sanity and my heart.

You can use them to transform anything painful or challenging – your work, your money, your family, your love.

Practice 1: Build a Fortress Around Your Throne

I am usually exceptionally good at healthy boundaries and self-care. But in the midst of heartbreak, my unwieldy emotions tend to take over. In attempt to maintain intimacy, I can want too much and process too deep with the person I’m supposed to be separating from.

I’ve learned to enroll my Emotional Emergency Dream Team as a buffer between my emotions and my actions.

They hold me gently, listen deeply, tell me the loving truth. When my defenses are low, they stand in the gap between my pain and reality.

They remind me of the beauty of boundaries and help me accept the larger picture at play.

They are my soul salves.

The EEDT consists of beloved exes turned beloved friends, decade-old friends and ones who have been around for less than a year.


  • Create a safe space for me to be vulnerable, imperfect, complicated, in pain
  • Listen objectively without comparing my pain to theirs
  • Ask what kind of support I need, then give it
  • Don’t rush for solutions
  • Remind me of my power, gifts and purpose
  • Help me uncover why this experience is useful
  • Only offer advice when requested

They gently hold my hand & remind me that it’s not the end of the world.

For them, I am eternally grateful.


Practice 2: The Four Questions That Change EVERYTHING

These are from a book called Crucial Conversations. It was created for resolving conflict with other people but I also like it for resolving conflict with myself.

I find it particularly useful in matters of the heart, money and work.

The first question is about what I want for myself.
The second question is about what I want for {the challenging issue}.
The third question is what you want for that relationship, between myself and {challenging issue}.
The fourth question is: “How would I behave if that were true?”

This last question highlights that there are places where we’re not acting in alignment with what we really want.

And that even in difficulty, there are ways to get there.

Here’s how I’ve been working it with my heartbreak

1. What do I want for myself?

Love. Connection. Celebration. Growth. Wholeness. Expansion.

I want value, visibility, dynamism and play.

I want to feel safe, open and alive.


2. What do I want for T.?

Fulfillment. Sustenance. Expansion. Play. Power. Honesty.

I want her to love the life she’s living and feel in charge of her choices.


3. What do I want for my relationship with T.?

Authentic connection. Comfortable distance. Consistency. Intimacy. Trust. Support. Emotional safety. Grace. Play.

Ability to see each other as we actually are. Surrender.


4. How would I behave if that were truly what I wanted?

Express my vulnerability with the EEDT, not with T.

Communicate when invited, not when wanting reconciliation.

Reciprocate love with non-attachment, ease & generosity.

Journal my thoughts and feelings. Be a witness to myself.

Let the uncomfortable energy rise and wash through me, even when I want to push it down and wish it wasn’t there.

Feel and honor all of the feelings.


Your turn!

If you’re inclined to use these four questions (or any variations on them), go for it. You can play with them here or on your own.

If you’d like support, we can be our own virtual EEDT.

No advice or reassurances, please. 

Just ask for what you need.

I’ll start I would love virtual hugs, warm sweetness and hands over the heart compassion. 

I’m sending it all right back to you in support of whatever challenges you might be experiencing.

Biggest love and gratitude to you.
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