A newborn baby.

Dressed in pink and white cashmere, she was camera ready.

Grandpa, the NYC Doctor, had friends in high places and he was about to update them on one of life’s accomplishments. There was a photo shoot taking place for the birth announcements.

Aww.

A beautiful cooing baby.

A quote from the Book of Esther.

A few dozen postage stamps with flowers on them.

Done.

With the mission accomplished, baby could now be tossed from the Silver Cross carriage, her outfit stripped. The pampered life for the two hours as she knew it would never be served up that way again.

As soon as she could hold a broom, one would be put into her hands. She needed to be made ready for the 10 children that came after her.  Domestic servitude would be the path forged for her.

So, that’s how life broke my heart before I knew I had one.

Yet, somehow, from under the piles of laundry and caring for my siblings, I discovered all kinds of wonderful surprises life had to offer.

Although it was out of reach at the time, I would find a way to have the life I wanted someday. I had lots of guides along the way that appeared in different forms.

The women in my mother’s magazines seemed to be smiling at me, with bright white, perfect teeth and shiny hair. Not a broom in sight.  I would be like them.

Anne of Green Gables, the heroine in my favorite book kept me company in one of the top bunk beds that lined my bedroom. I would be a writer just like her one day, in a cabin on a hill of my own, free with my thoughts and ideas.

Some people light a fire inside themselves,  and some grovel in a state of powerlessness, head down, and grind out what the conveyor belt of life brings toward them.  

You Could Dare to Dream When Life Buries You Alive.

How?

You know the crack in the cement sidewalk that has a blade of grass pushing through and growing? You look at it and think,

“How did that weed get through?”

Sometimes you have to dream your dreams and goals, not knowing how you will achieve them, and then reach them by finding the cracks, and catching the rays of sunlight that comes through to help you grow along the way.

You force your own growth and evolution into whatever you want to become. There is no yellow brick road, and the wizard of oz is an illusion.

It all starts with having your desire, your dream, your vision. 

Remember:

“The dreamers are the saviors of the world. Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the after-world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, laboring humanity would perish.”     J A

Here are some of the ways life breaks your heart, and how to take revenge.

1. Trapped

You’re in a stranglehold, life’s tentacles wrapped around your neck, getting tighter.  Your relationship may be bad, bills piling up, mouths to feed. A boss that’s horrid. Illness. Caregiving. Wealth or overindulgence that doesn’t make you happy.

You cannot breathe.

Have you heard the story about the snake?

I once read that if you’re bitten by a snake, and the snake has its’ teeth in you, don’t try to force your way out.

Relax.

The key is to wait for the moment the snake releases its teeth so it can re-sink in and get a better bite and a tighter grip on you.

In the tiny fraction of that moment of the snake’s release, you can pull yourself away to freedom.  But you must stay still and hypervigilant for that moment.

That moment you could break free has many different faces.

  • The text that shows you what will happen if you stay
  • A story in the news of someone that didn’t survive what you’re going through
  • A job posting you could apply to and know you could get
  • The death of someone that died with their music still inside them
  • A friend says you could move in temporarily
  • A piece of writing that has you inspired
  • Seeing someone that changed their life and left the tribe
  • An organization that could help you

Go for it the moment you see it. Once you are released from what’s trapped you, it’s only the beginning. It’s hard. But once you’re free, you can figure it out one step at a time.

Things will begin to light up for you, and you follow the fireflies.

Revenge on the heartbreak of being trapped is breaking free.

2. Powerlessness

You’re not born powerless. Someone stole your power or told you that you have none, either in words or actions.

My father had many good traits, but physical violence to keep us 11 kids in line was a choice of his, of his generation. This created a power dynamic of fear and people pleasing for me and kept me feeling unsafe in the world until I studied Taekwondo.

Often, the power stealers are those closest to you, keeping you blind to how and why you lost your power.

You have to make a choice and do the work needed to get your power back.

Look around and see what the badasses are doing.  They’re obsessed. Obsessed with getting their stolen power back.

When I was going through the powerless feeling of the nightmare that is family court, my kids lives at stake, I discovered David Goggins, an Army Ranger, and Navy Seal. This saved my sanity and taught me a new kind of power,  One where there are no limitations to what you can do.

None.

He says his childhood was so bad he wanted to become powerful, to remake himself.

You have to fucking suffer.  Get in and fight that fucking demon, and say, ‘what’s up?’.  We all like the four-lane easy highway with signs.  Pick up the shovel and make your own path.  That’s incredibly difficult. What comes out at the other end of that motherfucker is some incredible shit that you can’t even explain to people.”

“The permanent result comes from you. A warrior is someone who says ‘I’m here again today. Tomorrow. Don’t get civilized or complacent. Go get your ass kicked again.

I know what’s on the back end of fucking quitting. It’s a lifetime of thinking about why the fuck did I do that.  I ain’t’ fucking doing that no more.”

He inspired me to see that I could take my power back at one of the least powerful times of my life.

I have trained myself to out-endure other people with my expectations of what I want in my life. I learned from him that you don’t have to be the brightest or the strongest, just have the willingness to suffer and do what it takes.

Remember: 

Your personal power is not something that is going to reveal itself at some later date. Your power is a result of your decision to reveal it. You are powerful in whatever moment you choose to be. Right here, right now”.  A Return To Love, by Marianne Williamson

Revenge on the heartbreak of having your power stolen is becoming obsessed with taking your power back.

3. Heartbroken in Love

I’ve got nothing.

Nothing.

Someone you love breaks your heart. Leaves you, betrays you, dies, changes. Moves on. Moves away. Ignores you. Rejects you. Ghosts you. Insults you.

Well, I said I’ve got nothing.

Perhaps you could try crying. Praying. Go through the motions of life. Eat, sleep, work, repeat. Lay down and want to die. Do everything except die. But don’t die.

Life moves you on. Pit in your stomach, life moves you on. Like on that conveyer belt.

They say living your best life is the best revenge. But what do you until you feel like living your best life? What if you were already living your best life? What then?

Bandaids. There are lots of band-aids.

Like ice cream.   Punching a pillow. Loud music. Sad music.  Taking a trip. Shopping. Reading. Studying something new. Talking to friends until they stop taking your calls. Rebounding with someone new. Sitting and staring out the window.  Nature. Working out. Letting time pass.

Running.

Running.

Running.

Maybe that’s all there is for heartbreak in love. Lots and lots of Bandaids.

Revenge on having your heart broken in love is taping your heart back up and making sure it’s stronger in the broken places.  –Marianne Williamson

4. Hopelessness

I remember babysitting my little baby sister when I was about 11 years old, and she was 1, and she began crying, and I couldn’t get her to stop. She was breastfed, so I couldn’t even feed her anything.

I sat on the bay window crying, holding her, craning my neck to look for my mother’s car to come barreling down the street for what seemed like hours.

That hopeless feeling of NO ONE IS COMING. Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway, on the island, talking to a soccer ball he called Wilson, on his knees, filthy, hungry,  screaming, begging,

“Somebody!!  SOMEBODY!!!”

And no one heard. No one came.

Walking down the aisle in my wedding gown at 19 years old, knowing it was going to be terrible.

The lights being shut, the heat turned off because the bill wasn’t paid. Dressing my babies in snowsuits so they wouldn’t get cold at night.

Pulling the curtains aside to look and see if his motorcycle was parked in the driveway at 3:00 AM, even though I knew it was not, and not knowing what to do.

Hopeless.

How do you keep the hope alive as you tumble down the slippery slope with nothing to hold on to?

“This too. This also”.  

Eckhart Tolle, who wrote the bestseller The Power of Now, says to act towards everything that happens in your life as if you chose it.

Ouch. That’s a tall order, yet there’s a strange peacefulness when you can eventually get to that place, become stronger for it, and move on to better things.

“This too shall pass.”  For the better or worse, it passes.

Sometimes doing for others helps us out of our own hopelessness. It’s like saying to the universe, “I’m down, but I’m a helper. I’m not staying down. Fix me universe, so I can keep helping”.

Taking the time to “Plant trees under whose shade you do not plan to sit.” –Jay Shetty, As heard from a monk

“We don’t get our lives together and then give back, but rather we give back as we can, and then things start coming together. As our hearts open, our talents and gifts begin to blossom”.   Marianne Williamson,  A Return to Love

Revenge on hopelessness can be reaching that place of “this too, this also.”

5. Distraction

Driven to distraction.

BSO syndrome.  Bright shiny objects everywhere.

This can be a combination of choosing to do different things, like the latest fitness fad and dropping it after a week. Or starting to write your book and you only wrote the title, or a chapter or two and then stopped.

Signing up for many online programs, thinking of starting five different businesses, buying many domain names and still have no website complete.

You chase. You lose focus.

You want to decide on one thing and commit. Start and take action and push through the pain, yet you don’t.

In school, you were told as a child,

“Concentrate!”

Yet, you were never taught how, and you certainly have no practice in concentration techniques.

Dendapani, a monk,  speaks of having unwavering focus, being taught unwavering focus.

There are the daily distractions.

Each day we allow something or someone throughout the day to take our awareness from one area of the mind to another.

All day long, from the time we wake up we allow people and things around us to take our awareness from one area of the mind to another. So we become distracted.

“The art of concentration is the art of keeping awareness, that ball of light , on one thing for an extended period of time. Every time that ball of light drifts away, you bring it back. Drifts away again, you bring it back.  

To be concentrated is to be able to keep your awareness on one thing for an extended period at a time. How do we practice this? We do one thing at a time throughout the day.

Every time you speak to someone, keep that ball of light, that awareness, on that person. It drifts away? Bring it back. The more you practice this, the more you become better at concentration.  Give her or him your undivided attention.”

Revenge on the distractions of social media, the world, your mind, and bright shiny objects, is by doing one thing at a time, and practicing by keeping on bringing the ball of light back.

The Journey of Healing Your Heartbreak

This is a journey that is ever evolving. Along with heartbreak comes the gift of the stronger places we develop in ourselves.

What happens when you want to go forth and heal and take the reins of your life? Usually the fear of failure. Don’t let that stop you. JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter phenomenon, says,

I had failed on an epic scale… marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless.

And by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

…failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was. I began directing all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.

Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena that I believed I truly belonged.

I was set free. Because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea.

And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. It is impossible to live without failing at something. Unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you failed by default.

Failure taught me that I had a strong will, more discipline that I had suspected…” –JK Rowling, Harry Potter

What REALLY matters at the end?

Heartbreak is inevitable, so remember this:

“The world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward, and that we, who are more or less OK for now, need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers.”  –Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Be kind. You can be kind through tears, through laughter, through joy, sorrow, success, and failure.

So be kind, people. Be kind.

(Oh, and also, never, never, never NEVER give up.)

Well, there you have 5 of the 101 ways to take revenge when life breaks your heart.  The next 5 is on its way.

Where has life broken your heart? Send me your topics, and I will try to include them in a future post.

If you would like a list of the youtube links for the source of some of this material, email me at estherlitchfield1@gmail.com and I’ll gladly send it to you.

Guide to Inspired Life