Hearts that Ache

“I think many people can relate to that excruciating pain of love gone wrong. I’d rather have a broken arm than a broken heart.” – Christie Brinkley

Heart Ache

There is heartache that comes from a love with a partner, there is heartache that comes from loving your children, from loving your brother, from loving your mother, your father, your friend, from seeing someone with no home or someone who can’t be in their home.

How do you avoid heartbreak? You turn away from what hurts like it isn’t there.  You do things that don’t feel right, and your heart breaks another way.

You do them because you are trying to change something.  Make something new happen.  But you still feel left out. You still feel undone, unfinished, unsure, and you do it anyway. You feel aches that you never knew were aches, you tie shoes, you go grocery shopping, you have conversations, and you still feel heartache.

Whose heart do you break beside your own when you do things for the wrong reasons?   Whose breaks when you do something wrong for who you are?  Whose heart breaks when you don’t do something wrong for who you are?

Hearts do ache, that is part of their job, besides love, besides expansion, besides contraction, besides aching. 

Part of what hearts do is tell you something else needs to happen, something needs to expand, something needs to be considered, something needs to speak from the heart.

You study Buddhism to learn to turn towards the ache, to not turn away, not run away and it all still aches, it gets better, and then the ache comes back with a new cut, intended or unintended. And eventually, not soon, but later, you can learn to distract yourself from the ache, to learn what is about ego and what is about heart, where to focus, where to pay attention, and where to draw your attention away.

My mother, Florkila, told me to get a tougher skin, but I never figured out how to do that.  I knew there was something right about that, but I couldn’t figure it out. And so, heartache is a challenge and takes me to find articles about how heartache actually is a thing that affects you physically, Broken Heart Syndrome. 

I want to leave this with a ray of hope, with the hope that aches go away and never come back, or aches heal and never need attention again.  There is hope, but it is different than that.  The hope lies in the heart, the heart that aches, and loves, and aches and loves, and keeps beating, keeps pumping life into our veins. There is hope in knowing that everything, Everything always, Always changes.


~Thank you to Carol L. and Lara S. for always being “with” when things have to travel deep and Thank you, Maira Kalman, for the inspiration to just write as things are, to be quirky, to let things land where they land, be complete or incomplete.

A Change…Again

I have decided to keep this blog: Whatifitwassacred.com for my personal journey and I will be moving the third person story of Nellie or Maime or who knows, to another blog: https://hername.blog

This where Nellie or Maime can work out who they are, what name is best and the importance of a name.


Long Stretches, Henry, and Strangers


“We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.” From Brain Candy facebook page-

It is April and it is Winter here between Gallup and Amarillo.  This day started with ice on my car windows, followed by alternating sleet, snow, hail, rain, gusty winds, 32-46 F, and upon arriving in Amarillo it has been just plain blustery, rainy and cold here.  Long, very beautiful, straight stretches have been the visuals for my drive.  The radio, when I can get some good music or news and my book on tape, rescue me from the weight of being the sole driver.  Sometimes a conversation with myself works as well and sometimes it is interesting. I tried to teach Henry how to drive and how to have a conversation, but he was just not interested.  Rest stops have been a welcome change for both of us each day.

There is grass here in Amarillo, unlike Gallup where it was mostly “decorative” rocks. When fortunate, there were real, beautiful, ancient rocks at the rest stops.  And when we arrived in Amarillo at our hotel this afternoon, Henry was thrilled to just roll and stretch in the grass, kicking his legs out behind him, rolling on his back, laying his belly on the cold turf.

Our room overlooks the highway and a Longhorn Steakhouse sign. Within a block of each other, there are two more steakhouses. I am certain they are there just in case there isn’t enough steak at the Longhorn.

Steakhouses, Roadhouses, Indian trading posts, souped up trucks that audibly make their presence known within 10 miles, truckers, cowboy hats and boots, line dancing, quaffed hairdos, bolo ties are very real and very personal to people here.  They are part of a culture and identity just as gourmet restaurants, cafes, boutique stores, media and the arts culture are part of mine. What people identify with here in the southwest, can make me curious, it can also make me want to turn away, it can offend me and hurt my eyes and it can stir all my fears and stereotypes.

And then this happened.

While waiting at the bar for my dinner to go, at one of the steakhouses tonight, I met a man who wore a cap with an orange bill and the rest was camouflage like his jacket.  His first comment in a deep Texas accent was about Henry and how he had had a yellow labrador and what great dogs they are.  He talked about moving around with his dad in the service, his ex-wife who didn’t like hunting, his son who had committed suicide in his early 20s, over which he got ever so slightly choked up, and how that was the end of his marriage. With a large smile on his face, he talked about being happy to have a great girlfriend now who liked to travel, camp, fish, and hunt.  I can hear about the ex, the son’s suicide, his moving around, the girlfriend. But I really did not want to hear about the hunting…really! Or even the fishing. I am such a hypocrite because I eat meat and fish, I just don’t kill it. Maybe that’s worse.  He was a nice guy and he might not have chatted me up if Mr. H was not there.  We shared a lot about travel and the adventure of entering a different culture.  He was a really nice guy who shook my hand when I left and genuinely wished me safe travels.  It was so good to connect with another human and not keep a distance just because of some stereotype that I can project onto another.

Henry opens doors, opens hearts, brings out a smile, and kindness in most everyone.  With all that he brings out in people feeds my belief, that underneath, we all have similar needs. We all want connection and a reason to connect, we want to be accepted for who we are, and we want to be free from fear, we want safety, food, and shelter. We want to care.

Right now, the weather is just weather.  The drive is just the drive.  And, everyone is just doing what they do and being who they are.  Henry will always be Henry, no drivers license and not a conversationalist, but indeed a true love and companion.


Wondering if anyone might want to drive…

I have been inspired to write this blog as I have had some people say they wanted me to keep them in the loop about my journey. Posting for a driver to drive my car to Chicago on FB has gotten so much attention, curiosity and questions about what the hell I am doing, that I am trying out publishing.

Friends have used words like warrior and courageous to describe me and what I am doing. I alternate between feeling crazy, getting the business done of unloading household belongings, hand-me-downs from parents, and packing. All the while I am considering what it means to be a warrior and courageous. Inside I have a battlefield, sometimes erupting, leaving me bloodied, but when I hold the idea of what I’m doing as an experiment, I feel more permission to be curious, be kind, and have some freedom to listen to my knowing, intrinsic voice.

I am a warrior, I get bloodied, I am courageous and I am crazy.

I moved to California in April of 1982; after a breakup that left me really depressed.  I drove out from Chicago with a roommate who I never saw again once I arrived.  I knew one person who let me stay with them in their home in Woodacre. I moved a few times and finally went back to school because at that time, being a student was my favorite thing to do.  I became a psychotherapist with a private practice, supervised, taught, married, had two wonderful daughters, divorced and then seem to have lost myself.

Or, now, after some years, I think I found myself.  I began to realize that I wanted to be home and hadn’t felt home since we were a family, married, busy doing kid things in an almost uncomfortably safe community of Piedmont, CA.  If you know me, you know my kids always come first and this community was perfect for that; good enough schools, very safe, neighborhoods, etc. But it lost its luster after the kids were grown and I was a single woman again. I have wondered, was it my projection that single women weren’t really wanted there or was it true?  Was it just about me not feeling right there?  I now think some or all of it is so.  With my divorce, the threads of not feeling at home anymore had begun to spin a tale.  I sold the house we remodeled so beautifully and bought another beautiful home in East Richmond Heights, CA.

This blog is about that tale and where my most intrinsic self is asking me to go.  It is about making the steps I take sacred (not religious) but respected and regarded with love. Keeping myself curious and not riddled with bloody self-judgment.

Sometime after Christmas 2016 and a very big conversation with my girls, after a lot of suffering from my internal battlefield, I knew a few things.  The first was that where I lived, though beautiful, was not the right place for me.  I also knew that I wanted to feel home again. After the relief of admitting I didn’t know what was next, I knew I needed to go home to the Chicago area and it needed to be in April. I had forgotten at the time that April was when I came out here to California. 35 years later, I am going back.  Back for at least the month of April and then I am not sure what is next.  


Source: Ellen Stern – Wondering if anyone might want to drive my car from…