When Your Heart is Broken Open…

By on February 23, 2011 — 5 Comments

From within my circle of friends and acquaintances, I recently received news of an uncommon number of deaths…

A father far away in Portugal, a young woman’s tragic suicide, a beloved cousin leaving her five children, a newly appointed grandmother, two dearly treasured friends-of-friends, an old and faithful dog… Sharing my friends’ pain, I felt and watched the ripples from these deaths pound the shores of their hearts.

One woman wrote, “I am really feeling the grief in my body… When that final door on the physical world closes, there is peace, yes, but also a heaviness.  Loss has a heaviness, a weight… the heart aches and grieves while the mind tries to sort and put things in their place.”

Grief is one of Life’s great shaping forces. We are clay in its hands, made ever more malleable with the moisture of our tears.

What happens when we can surrender to our grief and let our hearts be broken open?

Paula M. Reeves writes beautifully of this in her book Heart Sense, Unlocking Your Highest Purpose and Deepest Desires. Speaking from a lifetime of gathered wisdom, she says:

A heart broken open is not a shattered heart. It is a heart unafraid to shed tears, unafraid to be vulnerable, unafraid to weep, unafraid to name its own demons and to refuse to project them onto others.

A heart broken open is a heart full of receptivity to the healing love of stranger, of animals, of prayer, of compassion, and of memory.

A heart broken open offers you sanctuary in which you can find God so that you are never alone.

A heart broken open links you forever to the family of humanity.

A heart broken open is an invitation to become real – to stand before the altar of your soul and pledge that you will no longer waste this precious life on unconsciousness.

Forced open by grief, we can choose to let our softened hearts bend us further into Life. We can invite grief to make us worthy vessels for greater love and compassion.

My prayer in these times, “Let me be shaped by Love,” and when faced with loss, “Let me surrender gently to Grief’s heavy, tender hand.


Related blogs: The Alchemy of Grief

Living Systems Part II: Conscious Surrendering

Recommended Flower Essences: Grief and Loss, Crabapple, Pink Hawthorn


  1. This is beautiful and exactly the compassion I needed to read about today. Thank you.

    • Your blog is beautiful ‘Nimble’… a bone-honest, transparent window into the heart of mothering. Thank you!

  2. Thank you Andrea. So glad you visited. – Jennifer

  3. Andrea, that is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in many a moon. It resonates deeply – and brings me great comfort too, as my aunt died in January. This is my first reply, but please know that I do enjoy receiving your blog meditations so much.

  4. Andrea, My heart is deeply touched by words and echos your prayer at the very core of my beingness. Bless you for your kindness, compassion, wisdom…today and always.

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