Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

What Breaks Your Heart?

--by Maria Shriver (Feb 05, 2018)

What breaks your heart? What does your soul long for? And, how is that connected to how you are living your life now?

I love this question because it’s made me think about my passion and purpose in a whole new way. I wanted to share it with you today because I believe this is a question that applies to all of us. And, I also believe that the answer lies deep within each and every one of us.

I deeply believe that each of us is here to move humanity forward. I deeply believe that each and every one of us longs to be of service to others, and also to live our lives in a way that matters.

“What breaks your heart?” is about the best question I’ve ever heard to help you get closer to your soul’s longing and closer to your life’s passion and purpose. But, I think before you can even answer that question, you must first acknowledge that your heart is broken, or has been broken.

I think we often think heartbreak is the result of lost love. Of course, it can be, but heartbreak also happens when what you value isn’t valued by society, by your community, or by others.

For example, what broke my mother’s heart was the way that society treated those with intellectual disabilities, and so she created the Special Olympics. One of the things that broke my father’s heart was poverty — financial poverty and spiritual poverty — and so he created the War on Poverty. My daughter’s heart breaks when animals are abused and left by the side of the road, and so she wrote a book about it, "Maverick and Me." My other daughter’s heart breaks when she witnesses how indifferent and insensitive people are to those struggling with mental health, and so she writes articles that promote understanding of these issues. And so it goes…

There are several things that break my heart today. It’s broken by the fact that we still don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s. It’s broken by the injustice so many work so hard, yet still live paycheck to paycheck. It’s broken by the state of our criminal justice system. It's broken listening to women speak out against the abuse they endured for far too long.

But, what really breaks my heart right now is how divided we are. How mean we are to one another. How critical we are of one another. How judgmental we are of each other and how angry we are at each other. Also, how lonely we all seem to be.

Yet, what moves me is the deep belief that we are all longing for the same things. We are all longing to be accepted, to be seen and understood, and to be invited into the space that unites us.

This space, I believe, is a big open field filled with dreamers and explorers. It’s filled with teachers and doctors, with mothers and fathers, and with the young and the old.

What breaks my heart is also what simultaneously fills and fuels my heart. It is a deep belief that we are more alike than we are different. It is the belief that we long to be more united than separate. It is the belief that we ache and break and want to put the pieces back together again, and that we want to do it together.

I’m not saying the anger that many of us feel today is not justified. But, let’s parlay our anger into action and allow it to fuel our purpose. I envision all of us with broken hearts coming together to heal and get to work, mending the crack in our divide. 

This is what breaks my heart, but what breaks yours? I’d love to know. 

by Maria Shriver, excerpted from here.

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Previous Reflections:

On Feb 3, 2018 david doane wrote:

 What breaks my heart is our lack of compassion and cooperation with one another and with our environment, which is the result of our lack of awareness that we are all one, we are part of one whole that we call the universe, and all that is is sacred.  Evidence of this lack of awareness is the disintegration of our society, the us vs them divisive attitude that is so prevalent, the anger and violence that erupt so easily, the lack of purpose and meaning that so many suffer, the emptiness with which so many live.  I feel sad about all that, even heart broken, which seems to fill me and fuel me to live more compassionately, and I feel pleased and grateful when I do.  Often I'm busy with whatever and don't notice my broken heart, but it's always there.  Paying attention to the state of our world and to my own feelings makes it easy for me to feel and acknowledge my broken heart -- it becomes unignorable.  Namaste

On Feb 3, 2018 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 I deeply believe in the original goodness in all of us. I also deeply believe that together we can move humanity forward for greater good. And when I see people going beyond themselves to help and serve people who need help and support, my heart gets filled with, joy, hope and aspirations. But when I see people suffering from social and economic injustice, I feel pain and anger and my heart gets broken. When I see two -mouthed  and two-faced behaviors of our leaders who are supposed to serve the people and not to self -serve and their parties, I not only feel anger and pain but I feel despondent. I know I need to remind myself of the original goodness residing in human heart.. When I see some compassionate and courageous leaders taking a position for common good, my pain goes away and  my anger fuels my passion to join hands with such good and bold people. And I pursue my purposeful journey of helping and serving people. And I hear the song  "We shall overcome" in my heart.

I would like to conclude with the inspiring words of Maria Shiver, " I envision all of us with broken hearts coming together to heal and get to work, mending the crack in the divide."

May we keep the spirit of working together by joining  our hands for the dawn to arrive in the sky of humanity!

Jagdish P Dave

On Feb 4, 2018 Abhishek wrote:

 What a powerful question!

For me seeing individuals tap into their potential heals my heart - seeing it wasted breaks my heart. There is also a 'melting' of the heart that happens when something is unfolding. In my case individuals stepping up to do something of service, collectively and their small initiatives melt my heart.

They make me go "Awwww" and thats when it feels right too!

On Feb 6, 2018 DK wrote:

Because the statement "what breaks your heart' so broad that I can not wrap my arms around it. That I find frustrating and breaks my heart. Excellent analysis and yet (no fault of author) no one is holding the lamp to show the way in this dark hour of humanity.   All I can and will do is to accept the reality and seek contentment with what is. Not try and straighten out a dog's curly tail. LOL.

On Feb 6, 2018 RuthAnne wrote:

 What breaks my heart is when comments are made (referring to article) that there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s. What breaks my heart is the knowledge that there ARE cures for Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc. It breaks my heart when people put all their faith and hope in pharmaceuticals. Open up to natural, holistic ways. It breaks my heart that there are food deserts here is the US. It breaks my heart that we don’t all have access to fresh, organic food. And yes I am in the Holistic Healthcare field and it breaks my heart to see people roll their eyes at the mention of homeopathic remedies. Change your diet, change your life. Stop believing your doctor know best and recognize you know best. Espavo! 

On Feb 6, 2018 Joanne wrote:

 What breaks my heart is the racial injustice in our world. I just watched I Am Not Your Negro. Truly breaks my heart! To hate to such a degree based on skin color not only brings me to my knees, it boggles my mind. We are not born hating. We are born into a hateful environment and it alters our beliefs. Open up your heart to feel the connection to all! Speak the truth even when your voice shakes! Hold others accountable! Nurture your heart that you may freely show love to others. We can heal the world but we have to love ourself first.

On Feb 6, 2018 Susanne wrote:

What breaks my heart is fear.  Fear I believe is the underlying cause of all pain and suffering.  It has become a daily practice of mine to try to release fear from my reactions, the way I view others and the way I make decisions. I am a work in progress!  How can I help others to release fear?  This is a question that inspires me and allows me to become more of who I am.  Hopefully we can mend our broken hearts together.

On Feb 6, 2018 Susan wrote:

 What breaks my heart is watching is seeing so many people use others for their own selfish purposes, and then discard those they used once they have achieved what they wanted.  Selfishness breaks my heart, egos that that are out of control, and the pain left in their wake.

On Feb 7, 2018 dev wrote:

 what breaks my heart is how we take life for granted and prioritize materialistic pleasure over spiritual. What breaks my heart is inequality, handful people have so much wealth yet when i pass by those multi milllion dollar houses and office i see homeless people suffering, waiting for another chance. What breaks my heart is wrongful incarceration.

On Feb 7, 2018 Ambika wrote:

It sends my heart quivering when I consult a doctor and he says its related to 'OLD AGE'. So therfore I'm doomed to undergo pain with no relief? So therefore getting me into a painless state is of no significance? If they think I shall suffer- they have got me wrong. I choose to not suffer.. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

On Feb 7, 2018 Deepak wrote:

 My heart has been broken before for the people I loved moved away and am alone today . However over the years , the healing has taken place within and have moved on . However in today's world , the heart has been broken because of the intolerance , basic lack of humanity from one being to another and hatred which seems to be growing without no end in sight . However at the same time , the heart also seems to say , ok if all these negative  vibes abounds in today's world.  be unstoppable and take action and that is my intention .

On Feb 9, 2018 ambika wrote:

 I break my own heart many a time with self defeating thoughts. It heals and mends as fast as I break it when there is a space such as this where I can express myself and not be judged. Bless his space. 

On Feb 9, 2018 Jo wrote:

 This breaks my heart David.  I feel your brokenness as my own.  

On Feb 9, 2018 me wrote:


On Feb 11, 2018 Ruksi wrote:

 I hate when some body ignore me. My heart is broken when some1 reject me whether be it friend or girl friend.

On Feb 11, 2018 Muka wrote:

 Hello Ruksi. I understand your concern, then how you cope up with situation when your gf rejected you? I am in similar pain and have no idea what to do now !!!!

On Feb 17, 2018 Kawthar Abdeldeen wrote:

 Unfortunately, there are many things that breaks my heart:
A parent that is abusing their child physically, verbally and publicly on the road 
A man who treats the women in his life in an inferior manner because they are women 
People being tortured for political, social, mental or any other reason 
People torturing animals and having no remorse 
The abuse of prisoners  in prison rather than offering help and guidance and rehabilitating and integrating them in society after their dismissal from prison
The wars that are taking place around the world in the name of God, Religion , Freedom and all the bullshits reasons that war makers keep feeding humanity.
Many many other reasons 

On Nov 8, 2018 Jennet Courtney wrote:

 He broke my heart in so many ways. This is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to deal with,to find out that the man i have been loving has been busy fucking another bitch.the truth came to light after i contacted a hacker who hacked his phone and helped me gain access to all his secret phone activities,i was also able to read all his deleted messages and hurts like nothing on earth,everything i thought was real was never real at done with the pain and am much better can contact with this genius hacker via Email=hackinloop6 @ g m a i l . c o m OR text +1(712)2922655,if you are facing trust issue in your relationship. or you are in need of any hacking related issue.i believe he is the real deal and his services are reliable.