Writers & Their Mended Hearts

This post is a part of an ongoing series entitled MIP {Man In Progress}. After my 25th Birthday I decided to improve three aspects of my life, and one of those aspects was my romantic relationships. My philosophy is that a writer’s work and his life are irrevocably intertwined and in order to improve one we inevitably have to improve the other.

Day One

There is a bouquet of sunflowers on my writing desk. Next to the bouquet is an envelope.

The note inside the envelope reads:

“I know you were working hard all day on your book. I thought this might cheer you up.”

I smile.

I put the note away and place the sunflowers in a cup filled with water. I stare at them. The yellow petals glow so brightly against the black spot in the middle, it is almost surreal.

Day Two

A hot bath is drawn. The steam rises up in delicate tangles.

I don’t feel like I deserve it. It hasn’t been a very productive day. I hesitate to enter.

“But,” I think, “it wouldn’t be nice to waste a bath that’s been drawn for me.”

So, I relax. My skin, my muscles, my soul. Relax.

I sigh.

It’s nice to be taken care of.

Day Three

This time there is a CD on my writing desk. There’s something written in black sharpie on the surface of the CD:

For you. I hope you like it.

I pick up the CD with great curiosity. I go to my car, turn on the engine, plug the CD in, turn up my car’s speaker and press play.

As I drive, B.O.B.’s “Magic” starts to play with none other than Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo singing the chorus. The song is followed by some of my favorite new hits, and every song is just at the right beat and rhythm I need to get me inspired.

I start to sing in my car. The people in the car next to me are staring at me like I’ve lost my mind.

I don’t care. I feel loved.

Day Four

There go my responsibilities.

I’ve been taken to the beach. I was supposed to be working hard on my novel, but my mind felt like a dried mop getting squeezed, and I swear I was a split second away from complete insanity.

I was staring at a glossy screen just a moment ago, and then I was taken away, brought here. To the sand. To the seagulls flying overhead.

A couple of yards to my left, the beach bums are building forts out of twigs that have floated on land. There is a sailboat in the distance. A couple is huddled beneath a sand dune a couple of yards behind me.

The sun is magnificent, and its petals brush across the darkness of the sea, glowing so brightly it is almost surreal. The ocean spray sprinkles across my face. The rolling and crashing of the waves brings my broken heart to a rest.

My feet are bare, and as I feel the grain of the earth underneath the arc of my sole, I sense an energy that resides near the ball.

I turn to face the line of shore–from high above, its only a brief dot on the whole stretch of California coast.

But, from the view of my humble eye, the line of shore is infinite.

I kick against the sand, and I’m off.

I run by the sea as it attempts to slap hard against my feet. But every time, it misses. The people at my side are a blur as I pass by. On the other side of me, the sun follows my path, its reflection skating across the waves.

Day Five

Lunch at the park.

Then: headed to a Japanese Tea Garden nearby.

Unfortunately, after lunch, it is discovered that the tea garden is closed.

I’m a bit sad. I was looking forward to it. I’ve been to it before. It’s a very peaceful place.

Oh well. It’s time to head back to my car.

I sit down in the driver’s seat, and before I know it, I find myself beginning to make a commitment.

I make a commitment to take care as long as I am capable of doing so. To not give up as long as I have the will. To make life worthwhile and joyful because it is well deserved. To trust, to respect, to love–no matter what happens. To ensure a bright future for the man I am now looking at in the car’s rear view mirror. The man who I am directing every single pledge of commitment to.

The man who has finally realized that he has to commit to himself, first, before he is ready to ask someone else to commit to him.

The man who is still a work in progress.

This man.  Me.

After I finish making my commitment, I turn on my car’s engine and ride home, alone.

4 Ways To Mend A Broken Heart

  • Realize That Time Does Not Heal: I used to believe it when they said that “time heals everything.” The truth is that old wounds can heal over time, but not solely because time passes. Old wounds heal over time because you are working hard to heal the wound. It just so happens that working hard at healing your wound takes time. Make sure to work on healing the wound then, and don’t just rely on the passage of time to make things better.
  • Cry: I read a great book this past year that taught me a very important lesson. This book taught me that crying in itself is not sadness, it is actually your body trying to process your sadness in order to heal. We often think that if we resist crying, we will stop the flow of sadness. But in my experience, I have found that the exact opposite is true: when we don’t allow ourselves to cry, the tears get backed up, and we perpetuate sadness instead of preventing it. On the other hand, if we let ourselves mourn, for example, the end of a past relationship, we can allow ourselves to heal until we become open and ready for the next relationship.
  • Perform A Ritual: In some way, shape, or form you’ll have to get rid of the symbols, or objects, you may be carrying from past relationships. For instance, if you carry old photographs or mementos of this person, then that means you may still be trying to hold on to a relationship that has already ended. I hate to tell you this, but you’ll have to throw these objects and mementos away if you want to heal and move on. Getting rid of all the things that remind you of that person may seem simple, but trust me, it works. I promise you will feel much lighter and more open after you perform the ritual of letting go of the past.
  • Commit To Yourself: For one week, do one thing for yourself every day that you would have liked a romantic partner to have done for you. Then, as the week progresses, realize that you don’t have to wait for a partner to make your life worthwhile–you can have that experience now. Also, realize that you cannot ask someone else to commit to you if YOU are not willing to commit to yourself. You have to be the first one to be willing to commit to your personal health, to your dreams, and to your happiness, before you can demand someone else to do the same for you. Then, at the end of this week, I want you to look at yourself in the mirror and ask: “Dear {insert your name}, will you commit to me for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, and till death do us part?” Then, after a moment, answer: “I do.”

much love,

Ollin

What will you do today to make it clear that you are committed–to YOU?

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35 comments on “Writers & Their Mended Hearts

  1. I’ve always believed that we cannot love others unless we love ourselves. You’ve got the right perspective for rebuilding, and your writing will surely grow from it as well.

  2. Alexis Jenny says:

    Beautiful, poetic, practical advice. Nicely done.

  3. T.S. Bazelli says:

    It took me a long time to realize that crying was not a sign of weakness, but a healthy release of emotion. Sometimes we just need to cry it out, and let out that tension. You’re right.

    Your five days sounds so lovely. I think I need to draw myself a bath, and buy some flowers🙂

  4. Linda says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Looks like we should all be our own valentines.🙂 Great post!

  5. jesswords10 says:

    Where were you 4 years ago? I’m glad you’re beginning a new commitment, one to you. I learned the hard way to commit to myself and it’s a constant battle, really, finding that balance of renewal for oneself and still making all the commitments in your life, relationship and otherwise, work. I hope you keep us posted on your journey because you’ve got a support network here for you when you need it.

    • Ollin says:

      Tell me about it. Committing to yourself is actually not as hard as the commitment itself.

      Thank you Jess! I feel loved. It’s nice to know I have support. Thank you for offering it. I will let you guys know if I do. At this point, I think I’m doing pretty good for myself.

  6. You know, it clicks with me too.

    Time is NOT the biggest healer, though I keep telling this to my estranged friends who break up and come to me to share their feelings. Somehow, I have always been a easy cushioning for those heartbroken in love. And I am fine by it, it doesn’t not bother me to help them ease their pain. Sometimes I do feel like a counsellor.

    Anyway. Coming back to time, I’d agree that it doesn’t heal everything. It depends on who you’re talking about and how strongly you felt for them. Somewhere, deep within your subconscious, the thoughts are still there.

    You need to make an effort in line with time.

    -BrownEyed

    • Ollin says:

      I think I would waste a lot of time being frustrated with myself for not getting over someone over time, and then I realized that I had to actively get over that person, that it doesn’t just happen over time–you have to work at it. It was a big lesson for. I thought I would set the record straight.

  7. souldipper says:

    You remind me of the day I realized that I could no longer expect someone else to give me what I needed to be responsible for giving myself. Felt like the day I grew up.🙂

    I could not believe that I had spent so much time and effort being disappointed about what the partner was not giving. Truth is, if the partner had asked me what I wanted, I could not have told him. The poor man never knew that I was expecting something that I could not define.

    I made a commitment to take responsibility for myself. When love knocks again, I want to invite it into my life because I love him, not because I need him.

    • Ollin says:

      You hit it right on the nose. Great elaboration! We need to be definite about what it is we want before we expect others to read our minds and figure it out on their own. We need to learn what we want and we need to have the courage to ask for it when we need it. This is hard. But I am there, I believe.

  8. John says:

    Great to know all that! The beach pic is sooo calming,soothing and relaxing ! Feels like I got a massage! Besides, the five ways to heal the broken heart seems to be very promising. I liked the Cry and the commitment part .
    Am I Heart Or Mind?
    Are you led by your heart or your mind?
    http://www.3smartcubes.com/pages/tests/heart-mind-test/heart-mind-test_instructions.asp

  9. Marci Payne says:

    I took a nap before writing a post about mending broken hearts…

    Healing our own wounds instead of hoping others will fill in the gaps. It’s lovely to be loved, but it is also lovely to direct our own life. We desire both🙂

  10. So moving. Wish you’d written this post 19 years ago!

  11. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Wendy A.M. Prosser and Wendy A.M. Prosser, Ollin Morales. Ollin Morales said: Today's post, MIP Update: "Writers & Their Mended Hearts" http://tinyurl.com/4nt25l4 […]

  12. I. says:

    Beautiful post. May I ask the name of the book you referred to under Cry?

    • Ollin says:

      You know, I don’t remember! Otherwise I would have mentioned it. Sorry, I’ve read a ton of self-help books over the past 3 years and sometimes it’s hard to remember what book I learned what from.

      I’m glad you liked the post!

  13. Some of the lessons of life have to be learned more than once…we slip back into old patterns or ways that keep us from going forward. I have asked myself, now why is this coming up in my life again, did I not deal with this already? Maybe not…

    This post is beautifully written and expressed. I will read it more than once. And I love the title for your blog. Thank you for the thoughtful reminders of lessons learned.

    • Ollin says:

      Thank you Shirley, and you are welcome. {I wonder if you get that “Airplane” joke a lot.}

      Yeah, sometimes we need to pay attention to those patterns. They reveal a lot.

  14. Andrea says:

    Ollin, your blog is right on cue to the way I’ve been living these days. It’s all about me, taking care of me and loving me. It’s a good feeling to be blissfully in love with myself. I like the fact that you’ve taken it a step further and committed to yourself. I will do the same. Thanks for inspiring me.

  15. Liza Kane says:

    Great post! I love that beach picture!

    You said: “Old wounds heal over time because you are working hard to heal the wound. It just so happens that working hard at healing your wound takes time. Make sure to work on healing the wound then, and don’t just rely on the passage of time to make things better.”

    I like the sentiment behind this statement (I’m assuming that the focus would be on creating solutions and not just obsessing over the problem). I tend to think of “pain” as fodder for growth in the same way as “failures” are opportunities to learn and become better in the future.

    One of my favorite quotes is: “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” A. Schwarzenegger. I claim that quote as I navigate the gray areas of my business decisions, as I push through my fitness goals, and as I conquer my writing goals.

    An abundance of strength and courage to you, my friend.

    Liza

    • Ollin says:

      Yes, Liza. That was what I was hoping to get at.

      I love your thoughts and that quote! Thank you for sharing. Who know Arnold was so wise?

      Strength and courage to you, too.

  16. Thanks for sharing this, Ollin. I have been working on learning to love myself better as a means of healing a broken heart and preparing myself for a future relationship to be a healthier one than ones I’ve had before. I’ve read and re-read your words over the last few days and have gained so much encouragement from them. Thank you!

    • Ollin says:

      You are welcome! It took me a LOOOOONG time and I mean a long time to reach the point that I describe in this post. Especially since no one really teaches you how to love and take care of yourself properly. You have to sort of figure that out on your own. I’m hoping to save some people time and I hope this post allows to them get straight to the chase–and heal.

  17. Thank you for this post, Ollin, After my late husband died, I felt better when I was busy crying. The actual heart ache, the physical pain before the tears actually feels worse than crying. Your right that you have to be busy in the process of healing before it time heals. The first three years are the worst. Then I thought why was it taking so long for things to get better and it was because I had stopped working on the healing process.
    I’ll go into that some time on my blog. But as far as crying, yes, you do need to do that.

    • Ollin says:

      Thank you for sharing your personal story. Hopefully my readers who have suffered the kind of broken heart you mentioned will go visit your site and learn from your wisdom.

      Thank you, much love to you and I hope you are doing well today.

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