Hearts. Broken & … not

<written in May ‘16>

A Facebook “friend” I don’t actually know posted something one day last week, & included a comment about all of us having broken hearts. One of her friends commented on the post, saying that she herself is not heartbroken.  

Apparently this has really stayed with me.

Sheesh! Yikes, sheesh & OMG.

Someone whose heart is not broken?

Mine breaks (again) about 10 times a day!

Here is a partial list of things that break my heart:

  • The underemployment of so many of our young people
  • The fact that the chocolate industry rests on the use of slavery – young slaves (we need to eat organic, fair trade chocolate only!)
  • Slave labour (& the use of tons of toxic ingredients) are heavily implicated in the manufacture of our so-called “Smartphones”
  • The # of chemicals in Lake Ontario
  • Water pollution of myriad sources in myriad locations: the lifeblood of the planet poisoned
  • The nuclear waste strewn all over our beautiful planet, on land, in the air, in (all) bodies of water
  • The never-ending fallout from divorce – my own, & everyone’s
  • The shredded ozone layer
  • Our polluted oceans
  • & the creatures in them that are dead/dying/suffering/starving/ingesting plastics/ill from radiation
  • My failed relationships with … well, never mind…
  • The impacts of lead on human beings. OMG…
  • The disappearing bird species
  • & a thousand other species…
  • The messes so many of us have made with our children
  • Racism
  • Misogyny
  • The way we mess up our kids (did I already mention this??)
  • The messed-up lives I encountered as a young woman in the psychiatric & correctional fields
  • The way cancer is ravaging our species
  • Pesticides
  • Fracking
  • The tar sands
  • Corporate rape/pillage/ruin of the planet; it just never, ever ever quits!
  • The exploitation of so very very many women – particularly young women – at the hands of men in a sick, diseased, terminal human culture
  • How poorly understood – & desperately undervalued – so many of us are
  • Deforestation – clear-cutting of forests – the trees & forests all around us that are dying (being killed)
  • My own loss of innocence, & the inevitable loss(es) of innocence we all suffer as we “grow up”
  • The utter despoliation of our planet in a thousand appalling, irrevocable ways
  • My own failures of compassion & understanding & selfishness
  • The endless betrayals we all suffer, & to which we subject others
  • Our inability to understand ourselves, & one another
  • Our utterly appalling self-absorption, as individuals & as a species
  • War
  • Poverty
  • Violence
  • Our terminal, endless, thoughtless, dangerous, rapacious, insatiable greed
  • Donald Trump


The thought that there is a thoughtful, conscious person alive today whose heart is not broken

is truly a revelatory thought to me.

It does not fit with what I know...

& what I feel.


((& btw, there are probably many, many more things that break my heart routinely

that I have forgotten to mention here

the list of what’s going on here on Planet Earth these daze is, after all, rather long.))


Being heartbroken is just a normal, routine thing

in my little life!


I am not ashamed of feeling multiply heartbroken.

Shame is not a part of this deal.


Not at all.

Not at all

at all

at all.



p.s. the thoughtful & wise folks I’ve been reading & listening to lately – Carolyn Baker, Stephen Jenkinson, Joanna Macy, Guy McPherson, Francis Weller – understand & articulate well that feeling deep grief about the state of the world is utterly to be expected of honest, conscious, fully aware human beings. Our gratitude & our grief are both very large. We grieve deeply, because we are so deeply aware of what a beautiful planet we’ve been gifted with. We’re tremendously grateful for life/Life…  & so we are also grieving deeply as it is laid to waste all around us. Below are some links to some wise words & thoughts from these big thinkers.

Do remember this (I repeat it because I need to hear it myself): we do not need, we are not required, to deny our grief, & our heartbrokenness… We may need to be rather careful about to whom we speak of it, however. Not all ears/hearts/minds are open to this kind of truth in our 'Smile; Be Happy!' culture.


A Few Quotations that come to mind

“The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.” – Joanna Macy

“It is good to realize that falling apart is not such a bad thing. Indeed, it is as essential to evolutionary and psychological transformation as the cracking of outgrown shells.” – Joanna Macy in World as Lover, World as Self – Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal

“Facing grief is hard work. … It takes outrageous courage to face outrageous loss. This is precisely what we are being called to do.” – Francis Weller in The Wild Edge of Sorrow

“If a thing is never spoken between people who know each other well, and each knows the thing well, maybe it’s not a secret. …. It’s a powerful thing, that ability to tell the truth when the truth is upon you, but it has another power entirely when you don’t tell it.” – Stephen Jenkinson in Die Wise – A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul

“I encourage people to pursue excellence, to pursue love, to pursue what they love to do. I don't think these are crazy ideas, actually - and I also encourage people to remain calm because nothing is under control, certainly not under our control anyway.” – Guy McPherson in a recent interview in New Zealand (the interview is rather hard-hitting on the concept of near-term human extinction, so please only watch if you can handle that, alright?)   

“A broken heart is an open heart.” – Gretel Ehrlich, nature writer, Shambhala Sun (Jan. 2005)


Some Resources for the Grieving

Carolyn Baker: Welcome to the Planetary Hospice

Carolyn Baker on hospice/preparing for near-term extinction

Stephen Jenkinson interview (simply brilliant!!) “Death Phobia and Grief Illiteracy: How They Distance Us from One Another, Our Planet, and Our World Crisis”    (scroll down; it’s there!)

Joanna Macy: On how to prepare internally for WHATEVER comes next

The Geography of Sorrow – Francis Weller on Navigating Our Losses


** I find Alan Watts YouTubes like this one ever-so-helpful at putting our human fears & preoccupations into perspective

** I find this graphic funny, insightful ... & true. Enjoy!