Archive for July, 2013

Keep Sending Love Out

Last week, a dear patient of mine came in for his weekly appointment. After he slowly and carefully dismounted from his tricycle,named Suzy Q, he greeted me in his customary way: with a fistful of handpicked wildflowers, a focused, warm smile and a two handed handshake. He carefully cupped his large cold hands over mine and stared straight into my eyes as if to say, yes, there you are. Each time, my heart swells with gratitude and I am reminded of times gone by, times that I’ve only heard of or seen in the movies.

That day, when we sat down to talk, I asked him my customary question: How are you? And he answered with his customary answer: Will do. We then share a sweet, knowing laugh. Today after our little opening dance a heavy quiet fell over his face. I sat silently, waiting to hear what he might say. He looked at me, his face sincere, serious and bewildered and asked, Thuy, what do you do with a broken heart? The question stilled me. I cocked my head and furrowed my eyebrows as if I needed to listen harder to actually hear or understand what he had asked. He looked out the window and said, My heart is so broken by the world. Sometimes I don’t know what to do, how to carry on. Then his eyes found mine again and again he inquired very seriously, Thuy, what do you do?

I stared back into the gentle eyes of this 90 year old African American man. He has lived more than twice my lifetime and has seen more than I can even begin to imagine. He is an accomplished and influential poet and writer, and a revolutionary for love. He sat there, so humbly, so interested, so vulnerable, telling me about his broken heart and sincerely seeking my input. Without any mention of the very recent news on the Trayvon Martin case and Zimmerman verdict, both of us understood the extra weight that pressed on his heart, on his brow.

What do you do with a broken heart? My eyes lowered as I searched inside myself. The sincerity of his inquiry demanded an answer. As incapable and small as I felt, I reached for something because I felt honored by his desire to know what I, myself do. Without much thinking, these words emerged from somewhere inside me: I let my heart break until there is nothing left and then I look upon other things, positive things, to mend it back together.

He listened quietly and intently to my words, nodding his head and lowering his gaze. But he did not respond. He just listened. And it seemed to me that he was slightly disappointed in what I had to say.

There was no more said on the topic and I directed him towards the acupuncture room where I gave him a treatment that consisted of grieving and heart supporting points. I did not see him after his treatment as I was preoccupied with another patient, but I thought about his question for the rest of the day. I wondered what I could’ve said better or more sincere. I wondered what he was really asking me.

The next day, I recieved an email from him thanking me for the treatment and stating that he felt good all day. I was touched to receive his simple email. And then, suddenly, I knew the answer to his quesiton.

What do you do with a broken heart? You share it. This is the value of community. When your heart breaks to pieces, when you don’t know how to carry on, you share it with others. I thought about the Zimmerman verdict, about how comforted I felt by all the personal and touching sharings I found on Facebook. I felt that the sharing in and of itself healed something for us all. There is something so profoundly moving, simple, powerful and healing about sharing hurt, bewilderment and fear, simply as they are, before they become outrage, before they become strategies, before they become justifications and illnesses. There is something bold and brave about the simple act of feeling what is in the heart and sharing it, as it is. One heart touches another and another and another and the community is quietly, yet clearly, transformed. Love. Compassion. Wisdom.

When My Sister, When

“…One way I know, among the many, is to

Keep sending love out, so

Keep sending love out

To where the heart clutches and the soul sings

Where the heart clutches and the soul sings

Keep Sending love out

Send it into the lighted dark, over the fog swept sea

Send it where it may die a dusty death

Send it where there may not be an echo, no return

Send love, that drug of madness, the poet’s bane, some fool’s delight

Send it where there may not be an echo, no return

Send it where it has never been, a new address,

Keep sending, sending, sending….”

–Adam David Miller


Read Full Post »