Recently I ended a relationship with someone I loved very much. It was a painful, but not hurtful ending to a beautiful love affair. On Valentine’s Day (ironically), we said peaceful goodbyes and wished each other the very best.
No matter how elegant a breakup may be however, no one is immune to the way heartbreak can turn life upside down.
When a death happens, be it of a person or a relationship, we honor it with ceremony and celebration. So as soon as I got home on Valentine’s Day I invited a few close girlfriends over on Friday night for a Heartbreak Party.
I made a big pot of risotto and invited my friends to bring chocolate, wine, ouija boards, oracle cards, performances, side dishes, four legged friends…whatever was their pleasure to contribute.
This request was more than just a desire to not do all the work. It was a demonstrative prayer that when it comes to throwing a dinner party or mending a broken heart, I can’t do this alone.
And that the ideas and offerings of all of us are so much more healing and powerful than just the directives of one of us.
Lindsay was the first to arrive, bearing semi-sweet chocolate chips and ripe strawberries to make us sumptuous dessert. Quinn brought her signature gluten-free brownies that shimmered with big crystals of sea salt on top.
Cynthia walked in with an armful of flowers – when she was shopping the grocer asked if she was buying a belated Valentine. “Actually I’m going to heartbreak party” she said.
“Well then, I want you to go pick out another bouquet, and tell your friend those are from me” he replied.
And so we were blessed with not one, but two bursting bouquets of nature’s beauty, both imbued with the love of an empathetic stranger. (sigh and swoon)We enjoyed a great meal, meaningful conversation, Qoya by candlelight, and deep belly laughs.
At the end of the evening, a friend reflected on how the traditional way to have a heartbreak party is to take a girlfriend out, get her drunk on tequila, and cheer her on while she makes-out with a stranger. But this party was different. It was about being present, rather than trying to escape. No one was shouting about it being “his loss” or feverishly reassuring me that my life will be better in no time.
This was about drinking in and savoring the bittersweet flavor that comes when the only way for a heart to open is for it to break.
It was an honoring of the fact that love doesn’t have to end just because relationships do.
And it was a celebration of the fact that sometimes the most brave and loving thing we can do is simply let go.
Often we use the expression “sit with our feelings”. This party gave me and experience of not just sitting with my feelings but savoring them, like they were a potent glass of cloudy absinthe, or a dark, floor-length velvet cloak.
What acts of beauty do you use to savor every taste and texture that comes from celebrating the darkness and the light? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Here’s to Brownies For Breakfast,