Learnings, Mali
Comment 1

on broken hearts

How many times a day does your heart break? Are you open to it, or do you turn away?

Mali Segou wall bird lovebirds

Hearts are breaking, lately (Valentine’s day notwithstanding). And by breaking, I mean any state of disarray, from fully shattered to fractured, from weathered and worn to aching. Even those who remain intact still strain from the weight of fear, sadness, anger, deep confusion.


Does your heart break from too little, or too much? Does it break on behalf of others, on behalf of tragedy or injustice, or on behalf of your own trials and more than the occasional tribulation?

Does your heart break for questions?

Mali Bamako boy child dog

Do I love her enough? Is he the right one at the wrong time, or vice versa? Will she ever know what she means to me? Is this the sunset of a best friendship? Will she get through this without me? If they are good people, why do they do horrible things? How much hatred can the world withstand? What’s our breaking point? What’s mine? How will I know when enough is enough?

Mali Segou music festival concert crowd sunset

To paraphrase a quote from the Dalai Lama: Take heart that the negative overwhelms the news. If horrible things are news, it’s because they’re still exceptional. The day horrible things are no longer news is the day we should be worried.


So when your heart hurts, know two things:

1. If you can feel the hurt, you’re still alive–in your body and in your mind–thus the pain is its own kind of miracle.

2. If something makes your personal headlines, it’s because it’s exceptional–it’s because your average is better than that, so the pain is noteworthy. So, note it, pay attention, carry it gently, know that it will pass, and be kind to yourself.


Maybe be open to a bruised heart, maybe hear what it has to say. Be good to it: show your heart compassion, sit with it through the mess.

Mali Bamako neighborhood dogs cobblestone street road,

Your heart has been good to you; best to return the favor.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: on becoming: are you a rock or a leaf? | outerNotes

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