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The On Being Project

Your Heart Can Break Open Without Breaking Apart

Who among us hasn’t known heartbreak?

There’s the child who suffers from bullying, the young adult who suffers from unrequited love, the person in midlife who sees a marriage or a career fail, the elder who endures the death of the one closest to his or her heart.

Here’s a brief but powerful poem by Gregory Orr about the heart that’s been broken open, not broken apart.

“Some Say You’re Lucky”
by Gregory Orr

Some say you’re lucky
If nothing shatters it.

But then you wouldn’t
Understand poems or songs.
You’d never know
Beauty comes from loss.

It’s deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.

It’s one of the places
Where the beloved is born.

Orr, whose own experience with heartbreak often shows up in his poetry, reminds us that loss can allow us to experience beauty — and give and receive love — more fully than we could before our hearts were broken open.

May it be so for all whose hearts are broken.

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