How to Heal a Broken Heart

Anything is Possible!

How to heal from a broken heart

This is exactly what I learned to do after my divorce. It took time. There was all that grief to work through, a codependent relapse or two, and a great deal of questioning.

But in time, I found me again. I put my love into the constants that had always been there for me: God, dogs, nature, painting, writing, singing, swimming, and family. I explored new interests like drumming, improvisational dance, and kayaking. I bought myself flowers and encouraging cards. Slowly but surely, I healed. In some ways, the healing was like coming home. In other ways, it was like a mid-life adolescence but with a little more wisdom and growing self-love.

What are the constants in your life that can support you through hard times?

What else can help heal a broken heart?

back cover painting (2) My back cover painting for Trust the Timing

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Honoring the Gift of Art



Let Healing Flow, by JoAnne Silvia

Wondering what to do with this blog, since I have another one that takes priority, I was thinking of dropping this one. But then the idea came to me to use this as a place to honor my visual art.

The painting above reminds me of a difficult time of my life and the gift of art as therapy. Things are so much better now. Healing flows when I return to the gifts of art, animals, and nature, my first loves.

I’m not sure what will develop here, but maybe I don’t need to worry about it. Maybe I can just let it happen. That would be different. And wonderful!

What are your healing gifts?

My First Soul Collage

Last week, I went to a training conference I go to every year for addiction professionals. I used vacation time and paid the registration fee myself, so I didn’t feel guilty at all about picking fun elective sessions.

Some of the sessions were about addiction. I learned about methylation, in which certain chemical compounds attach to genes and change them, for example, when a person is traumatized, but they can also detach over time for healing to take place. It reminds me of how we used to think the mind and body were separate, but they aren’t so much. The mind and body are in constant communication, at many levels. I also learned about story listening, something I already knew intuitively. I was intrigued by how we listen from the frame of reference of our own stories. We need to be aware of that to help us listen objectively, using the speaker’s own words. No wonder being a counselor can be so tiring. We’ve got our own stories going on, and our old stories brought up by clients as we listen to their stories, and, as the old 90s punk rock lyrics go,”you gotta keep ’em separated.” It’s important to do our own personal “work” to keep the stories from getting mixed up. Because our own stories will try to mingle. We are human, after all.

The best part of the conference was the Soul Collage workshop taught by Margaret Wyche .

First, we got some history about Soul Collage  developed by Seena B. Frost, MA, M.Div., and the process. We were asked to write down a question or concern we wanted to know more about.

I’ve made lots of collages and used collage making in my groups with clients. This was different in that the pictures are already torn out of magazines. We each went through a big stack of pictures with the direction to not think at all, to not look for pictures, but let the images choose us.  Several chose me. We were encouraged to use one picture for the 5 x 7 background, and then to add 3 to 5 smaller images on top. Two images pulled me stronger than the others: the rock arch and the elephant couple.

Elephant soul collage

(If these images belong to you, thank you! Please let me know, so I can give you credit, etc.)

Though it was suggested that we use 3 to 5 images on top of the background, I honored my instincts and only used the elephants on top of the rocky background with the blue sky.

After we created our soul collages, we paired up and asked each other a list of questions about our collage. The creator of the collage was to answer as if they were the card/collage. Here are the questions and the answers from my collage:

Who are you?

I am your deepest truth….I am the one who can heal your family….I am the one who loves you, walks with you, answers questions….believes in you.

What do you have to give me?

I give you peace, understanding, confidence,…. strength.

What do you want from me?

I want you to have faith. I want you to remember who walks beside you.

Is there anything else you want to tell me?

Don’t be so serious. Let go. Let go of fear. Be brave. You are strong.

How will I remember?

You will remember when you are challenged.

This powerful experience reminded me to be aware of my own strength, and to trust in the relationship with my loving partner as we walk through the challenges presented to us.

Thanks for sharing my soul collage initiation!

Healing At The Speed of Time

Blur bridge

Having children makes time zoom

like the blur when you look out passenger window

from a fast moving vehicle without fixing on one object.

When their father left,

popping the distant bubble

of traveling across the country

after the children were grown,

t i m e

heavy with grief,

seemed to stop.


originally posted to Flickr by Frenkieb at


The double bed

Shared for twenty years,

felt like a football field

at midnight. Game over.

Each heartbeat echoed

blindly through the darkness.


“It takes one year of healing

For five years of marriage,”

said the support group manual.

Would Golden Girl reruns

get me through the next four years?

Golden Girls

Then came the rebound from hell

And time twisted

like slimy vines,

letting me fall

down into the pit

Of sludge and rat droppings.


Sick and confused,

I knelt and begged,

to be rescued

by the Shepherd’s love.

His arms wrapped around me

like a safe, warm blanket.

GS close up


Time evened out

As I learned to love me,

Like the Shepherd loved me,

One day at a time.

Now, time is like a water slide

Cool and sparkling

In the sun.

A Good Cry

Rose of Sharon with Dew By Ayla

Tears water the garden of your soul.

Let them flow freely, nourishing the seeds to sprout

the most beautiful part of your being.

Breathe deeply. Breathe in courage.

Then rest with sweet dreams of better days ahead.

Peace to you dear one.

That was inspired by Lorrie’s post:

I  really learned how to cry after the divorce from the twenty year marriage I thought would last forever.  Now I understand that it needed to end. But then I was confused and deeply wounded.

When the kids were gone to their dad’s new home, I sat on the hard wood floor in the middle of the house and let my crying be what it wanted to be.

I let it be sobbing, and wailing, and moaning.

And I learned to breathe deeply in between the sobs and wails and moans. Remembering to breathe was important to prevent damage to my body. Breathing deeply was part of the healing too.

The best healing came when the crying flowed into chanting. The rhythm helped with the breathing. It became meditative, like the soulful sounds you might hear from Native Americans dancing around a fire.

The chanting in the video below reminds me of this sound, especially when the woman’s voice comes in at around 1:47. She returns at around 4 minutes.

I gave my body permission to release the pain in whatever way it needed to,

allowing whatever wanted to come,  come.

Then I could rest in the loving arms of my Creator.


Photo credit: Ayla Likens

Healing Meditation


Photo by Ayla Likens

With each breath, I am protected

by the shimmering shield of angel wings

A soft blanket of love and peace

Allows all goodness to come to me now.

Any negative energy is deflected away to be

Transformed by a Power Greater than myself

Allowing me to see beyond negativity to the True Soul.

I accept with gratitude the gift,

The healing Power of God’s Love

As it flows to every part of my being. 

I breathe it into my bones,

Into every cell of my body

and into my very soul.

As I breathe peacefully, now

I am re-nourished.

This healing Power as abundant as air

Is ever flowing

With each and every breath.

By JoAnne Silvia

Include Yourself!

heart in chalk w leaves

My Circle of Compassion in Sidewalk Chalk

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”   __Buddha

“You need to include yourself in your circle of compassion.”  My therapist told me this not long after the divorce. What a novel idea! It’s taken years for me to apply the concept. Visualizing my circle of compassion and moving myself inside that circle, helps me remember that I am just as worthy of love, rest, nurturing, healing, fun and compassion as anyone else.

Since childhood, I’ve heard the phrase: “Love thy neighbor.” But that’s not all of it! In Matthew 22:39, Jesus doesn’t stop with love your neighbor.  He says to love your neighbor as yourself. He doesn’t say, love your neighbor more than yourself, or instead of yourself.  The Living Bible version goes, “Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.”

I love it when Jesus and Buddha are in agreement.

Sometimes it’s okay to make sacrifices for others. Sometimes. But, I’m no longer waiting until I’m totally exhausted to take care of me. I know this is especially hard if you have young children or elderly parents to care for. But we need balance. We need to take care of ourselves too, so we can help each other grow in healthy ways, because we all deserve to enjoy life!

I’m working on not feeling guilty anymore about occasionally leaving my office when my schedule says it’s time to leave, though every single thing has not been done that could be done. Last week, after almost 30 years with the same company, I cut back to 30 hours per week (I’ll still work more now and then.) I’m working on not feeling guilty about working my scheduled hours when I know some of my younger co-workers are working more than their 40 hours. I’ve been there and done that kind of overtime for long enough. I’ve done my share.

(Am I starting to rant?)

This beautiful circle image at Soul Art Medicine will help:

For all these years, I’ve encouraged my clients to take care of themselves – to love themselves. It’s time to practice what I preach. It’s time include myself in my circle of compassion, to enjoy life! To be creative! To do more of the things that nurture my body, mind and spirit:

Swimming, watching sunsets, writing, singing, puttering in the yard and just breathing the natural air outside where I can hear the music of the birds and the bugs and the frogs.


A good place to watch a summer sunset.

What nurtures your body, mind and spirit? What do you want to make time for?

Name it and claim it!