There’s certain kind of beauty to a puzzle for my eyes at least. Sometimes I just stare down at those thousand pieces, all of them supposed to fit perfectly to one another. Complementing each other softly, smoothly, without any effort if being put together the right way. It’s comforting to anticipate and to know that each and every one has its correct place and in the end there’ll be a scenery unveiling itself in front of me. That is to say if done correctly.
There’s also a certain kind of beauty to a broken heart. It’s a puzzle in reverse. Something that was once a whole living organ now consisting of a myriad little pieces which complemented each other softly, smoothly, without any effort. Every part had its correct place and although the whole thing might not always have been perfect it still was beating. True, some parts were rough and others edgy. But it had lived.
In the beginning it seemed to be perfect. Belonging to a child it nurtured its smooth, soft surface by the sound of laughter and breeze and ice cream and the sound of birthday parties in the backyard and bright Christmas trees in winter. Occasionally there were some bruises but they healed fast. Even that one time when the dog was run over by a car and not knowing what death meant the child kept waiting for it to return. During this period of time the heart seemed so joyfully in anticipation of what was to come, regardless what it was, it greeted it with trust and warmth. But this didn’t last forever, as it seldom does. Soon heavier bruises left marks not healing completely. And then one day something really big happened. After that incident the outer wounds healed with time but there remained a shadow in the child’s heart eating away parts of it making it believe it was wrong instead of realising what wrongfulness had been done to it. It felt like acid burning a deep scar right through the heart. Didn’t break it though. Just left a very deep rift which kind of hurt each time the child was touched deeply as an adult. However, this abyss had its advantages as well. From its blackness came compassion, intuition, the urge to help. But it also made her withdraw into an inner sanctum whenever she experienced profound pain because in her childhood being alone meant being safe.
Love can be something that breaks the heart for a while. The more we love the more we get hurt, that’s pretty easy. The difficult part is the mending process. What if the heart gets broken once or twice? It hurts but you gather the pieces together and put them back into their place or at least what you consider for them to be their place. Sometimes they won’t fit that perfectly anymore because you want to be healed soon and tend to put together the pieces in a hurry – as one is expected to. But putting together the pieces in a hurry also means that each and every breaking leaves crevices, sometimes narrow and sometimes wide. Luckily enough sometimes we encounter a healing emotion in the outer world and then it flows down a crack like honey and fills it up so it almost disappears completely and the only thing that remains is a faint memory of it. But most of the time this healing drug is difficult to be found – and to be honest should be provided by our inner worlds – or it takes a lot of energy and time to discover it and pour it down all the rifts that have been gaping open for years. But it is possible.
The problem arises when a heart gets broken and mended too many times. You don’t know how many times you’ve put it together anymore and therefore it looks like a deserted rugged mountain with rough cliffs and deep trenches. Maybe you used something that vaguely reminded you of a comforting memory of your childhood to hastily glue some parts of the heart puzzle together. At some other parts you had to forcefully scratch away bits and pieces because no way were you going to be able to remember how they had fit originally and at some point you (and your therapist) had lost your patience and just taken out the sledgehammer to make the fucking parts fit somehow. Then you poured something into the crevices that looked and sounded like self-respect and self-care but in reality was dictated by Instagram.
And then something happens. First it seems too good to be real. Trust grows gradually, you see that it still hasn’t disappeared and you find that the fractures have filled up more than just a bit with layers of true affection, hope and laughter echoing the days of the child when the heart’s surface was still smooth and unscarred. And something even more wondrous emerges out of this magical alchemical process. Narrowing your inner eyes you’re able to recognize images in some of those cliffs that seemed just cold and rugged before. Actually they start making sense as does the whole landscape. The edgy rocks and deep abysses suddenly transform themselves into a photographic negative and you see the light parts as dark and the dark parts as light. The striking realization is that the whole time this very landscape you thought of as damaged and broken was indeed hauntingly beautiful and open.
It lasts for a while. Then again something happens and this time it seems too bad to be real. And again you stand there looking down at the pieces that have been torn apart. This time it’s really pretty bad. The impact must have been intense as the pieces are smaller than usual, they are also deformed and have the emotional sticky glue dripping from their edges. That bluish thing was once trust. And that golden one looking like the sun had descended and kissed it softly was once laughter. And you sit on the ground surrounded by a myriad of tiny pieces that apparently don’t fit together anymore because of you violating yourself with the sledgehammer previously in order to be able to function again, to be able to proudly say ‘I’m over it’ when you weren’t or ‘I can take it’ when you couldn’t. It’s a characteristic of these times to ensure we function. Even if we don’t.
And what now? Sitting there exhausted, tired to the bone, with a broken heart and no idea how to put it together again. Feeling the urge to take everything and bury it in the black ground, give it back to the mother, the underworld, the darkness. Maybe you’ll get a new unscarred one in return. This is not how it works though. You look around and see those beings who trust and depend on you and despite the dust, the aftermath of the explosion that hit you so hard it tore your core out, despite the mess of blood and tissue around you – such a heart is a pretty bloody thing – despite the bruises, the feeling of acid running through your throat and stomach making you want to just lay down on the floor you start with the first piece. During that painstakingly slow process your mind remembers that hauntingly beautiful landscape in negative colors. You wish you wouldn’t because it is useless to even try putting the pieces together in such a way that they depict this very landscape you felt safe within. It is not possible. This time the outcome will be a different landscape. More rough. More edgy. Even more compassionate and more intuitive. But this time the cracks won’t be filled up with glue and the sledgehammer won’t take another turn. Maybe some parts might crumble away naturally but that will be okay. No forcefully trying to hold on to things that don’t belong here anymore. And also no forcefully trying to make parts fit that don’t out of fear of losing them. I know there will be another breaking. Another impact. And I’ll repeat the whole process. But the difference will be that obsolete parts won’t be made to fit anymore.
Does this mean the heart will degenerate with time? No, as deep compassion and love from within itself will keep it big enough until its last beat.