Last night's Spiral Up session with Dr. Laurel focused on "I feel hurt" and how to use EBT to mend a broken heart. Below is an excerpt from it.

The discussion was about choosing to make your dreams come true, at work or at home, and the inevitability of getting "hurt." I don't mean sad — it's more than that. I don't mean wounded — that sounds born of powerlessness. Nobody knows for sure, but the closest scientific explanation for "broken heart syndrome" is the biological equivalent of putting on the brakes of the car and the accelerator at the same time. The sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system are duking it out, perhaps a push to gain wisdom and a shout-out to the heavens to stop. What do we do about that?

Appreciate that although we believe we are going to die, it's not that bad. It is worse not to try at life, and the essential pain of being fully engaged in life is that we'll need to have a process for healing our own hearts. We have that. We have EBT.

A mend-my-heart tool kit

As you can imagine, the first step requires that we release control as we are talking about the emotional brain (we only have so much power in the tangles of trillions of connections), and instead of keeping a stiff upper lip, surrender to the anger-sadness-fear-guilt flow of feelings again and again . . . and again . . . to return to a gritty but deep Brain State 1.

That's the simple part, as if you are not at One, then you do another five spiral ups, then another, perhaps with drinking some water or going for a walk in between.

The Cycle Tool helps with this emotional release but also the inner conflict, with a sense that there are lessons to be learned here and that mending will not happen until you have extracted every bit of wisdom from it — all of it, not just a tad of maturity here and there.

After the emotional cleanse, create boundaries

Then comes the second step, which is to refashion how you see your life and choose to live it. Without that step, we are willing victims of life, draining our passions into ruminating, dodging, raging, or collapsing. This takes resetting our boundaries, but we have a skill for that in EBT. The Take Action Tool used to be called the Limit Setting Tool because by saying what you will do, you separate from all that you will not do. This part is sobering because if your limits do not change because of what you experienced, part of you dies.

That's the part I find most rewarding. By being at a solid One, I can face the essential pain that I must change, and the question remains, in what way? I get to look at life with fresh eyes and figure out what I will do differently going forward. After the storm of the grieving, the sun comes out, perhaps a bit weakly, but it does come out. With this new light of day, all is possible.

The joy of a well-lived life

These are the two steps, but at the close of last evening's session, with everyone saying, "I am creating joy in my life," I realized that having a "broken heart" is part of the fabric of any well-lived life. We could even have a subculture in which people openly expected to have a few heartbreaks in their life, relabeling them wisdom binges or clarity fests. For family and friends who are always comfortable and in control, think, "Oh, I feel so sad for them, as they have never had a broken heart."

As for now, I hope you will put this EBT tool in your emotional resiliency backpack. When one of those broken-heart times comes your way, you will know you are safe and have a reliable way to get back to a gritty Brain State One and some weak but purifying sunshine after that. Know that your life is well-lived.

You have inside you the ability to experience an ever-deepening capacity for joy.