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Lions Roar : January 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN jANUAry 2010 29 a Few monThs aFTer my longtime boyfriend and i had broken up, i was charged with conducting a business meeting at a restaurant over lunch. i was pretty sure i was on the road to recovery from the breakup and had been genuinely looking for- ward to this opportunity to discuss an exciting new project with the other attendees, colleagues i respected and admired. i made a reservation at a favorite restaurant, which we had been to many times before and was always delicious. yes, i thought, i’m going to be okay. i have a good job. i work with wonderful folks. our meeting is going to be fun. i am moving on, damn it. so i drove to the meeting with a lovely feeling of things return- ing to normal. The seven of us, as i had requested, were seated at the only round table in the restaurant large enough to accom- modate a group of that size. we were settling ourselves around the table, waving hello, pulling out papers, and turning off pag- ers, when everything completely fell apart for me. The waiter had brought us a basket of jalapeno cheddar-cheese cornbread. oh no. he loved jalapeno cheddar cheese cornbread. a mere glimpse of those crumbly, orange-y squares flecked with green blotted out all feelings of normality and, once again, my world turned upside-down. Tears stung the back of my eyeballs and i gruffly pushed back my chair to try to make it to the ladies room, but not quite in time—the tears had already begun to fall. There’s no hope, i thought. Just when i thought i was getting my life back, a piece of bread caused it disintegrate once again. i sat down in one of the stalls and tried to cry without mak- ing any noise, which, as anyone who has attempted this knows, only leads to a bulbous nose and a mt. rushmore-sized head- ache. somehow i soldiered on and made it through the meeting, andwhenigothomeattheendofthedayiwastootiredtocry anymore, so i just lay on the couch. For about six hours. when i finally dragged myself to bed, i thought, i’ll never get over this. why? why do the waves of grief just keep coming? what is hap- pening here and will it ever end? at this point, i realized that there was very little, maybe noth- ing i could do to predict, modulate, and manage these unpre- dictable waves of grief. Trying to fight them would be like trying not to have nightmares by staying awake all night just in case one might arise. it was just too exhausting. i had to accept that these episodes were simply a part of my life for the time being and i was going to have to learn to deal with them instead. but how? soon after this, i was attending a talk by a Tibetan buddhist monk at a local meditation center. he was young, not yet thirty, but already highly respected as a scholar and spiritual adept. illUsTraTionsbymichaelwoloschinow Making Friends With Heartbreak The best way to survive a broken heart, says SuSan piveR, is to be gentle with yourself.