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The Wisdom of a Broken Heart

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 by Marianne Elliott

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At the most painful, confusing time of my life – in those months after the killings in Afghanistan that I referred to in my last post – I found the teachings of Pema Chodron who gently encouraged me to relax and lean in towards my own heartbreak, seeing it as a state of presence and open-heartedness, rather than a problem to be fixed.

More recently I discovered the writings of Susan Piver, meditation teacher and best-selling author of five books including The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. When I read Susan’s own words to describe herself and her work, I knew I had found a teacher and companion for my own journey towards a kinder life:

I believe in supreme gentleness, agenda-less curiosity, outrageous self-expression, and, most of all, that walking the path of kindness is the ultimate expression of intelligence. I believe in an open heart.

The power of kindness can give us the world we dream of living in. Much more than being “nice,” kindness is a skillful means of the highest order. To be truly kind, we have to be truly aware. We have to be able to see clearly. Then we can change the world.

Today, as so many people here in New Zealand are experiencing a sense of deep loss, confusion, sadness and despair, I’m grateful to have been able to talk with Susan about the wisdom of a broken heart, and the practices that can help us find openness, softness and stability in times of pain, uncertainty and confusion.

To listen to our conversation, click on this link: Interview with Susan Piver

To download the file, either right click or control click that link and select “Download Link Target” or the equivalent option in your browser. You will be able to save the file to your computer and, if like me you like to listen to podcasts while to walk, even put it on your iPod or mp3 player.

Near the end of our interview, Susan mentions that she will soon be offering meditation instruction online. I wish I had found something like that when I was in Afghanistan and highly recommend that you check it out. To learn more about Susan, her writings or her upcoming online meditation course, visit her website. I also highly recommend her blog, and you can also find her on Twitter (where she adds a little wisdom and kindness to many of my days) and Facebook.

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4 Responses to "The Wisdom of a Broken Heart"

  1. […] To read her blog post about our conversation, click HERE. […]

  2. Roxanne says:

    Right after I read this wonderful post, I clicked on the NYT and what did I find? Research that self-kindness and self-care have medical benefits:

    You and Ms. Piver seem to be right on!

  3. Robby says:

    The past few months, I have fallen in some kind of love/lust with both your writing and also Susan’s. I’m very glad you’ve connected.

  4. Lanham True says:

    Just as a side note: A few months ago, my husband & I were eating dinner at a teahouse & noticed Pema Chodron seated nearby. Her writings have meant much to us. For a moment we had to suppress the wildly inappropriate urge to jump up screaming & beg for her autograph!

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