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A Heart Open Can’t Be Broken

Puerto Viejo

 

Two months ago I returned to Puerto Viejo riding on a rainbow.

 

I was so high from all of the synchronicities and heart openings during my travels in Guatemala and the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and the Yucatan, that everything around me seemed to sparkle.

 

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The sun shone that much brighter.

 

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The flowers smelled that much sweeter.

 

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The sloths looked that much cuter.

 

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I felt so full of happiness and gratitude to be home in paradise, after possibly the most amazing trip I had ever been on, that at times I wondered if my heart would explode into a glitter bomb. I was so in love with myself and my life that it was easy to love everything and everyone. Plus I had felt so safe, free, and loved in Mexico and Guatemala that I carried that feeling back home to Costa Rica.

 

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As I rode up and down the main road to the beach or to yoga or to the farmer’s market, I did ecstatic dance on my bicycle. I sang at the top of my lungs and pointed an imaginary microphone at people on the street. I smiled to every person I passed and shouted “BUENOS DIAS AMIGOS!” then I’d giggle and wave.

 

In the past I avoided the crowded beaches, this time I gravitated towards them. At sunset I’d go there and hula hoop or skip while singing to myself. I had conversations on a deep level with people I never used to give the time of day. I talked about spirit animals and star seeds and getting high without drugs to anybody.

 

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Where I once used to barricade myself in, I let everything hang out.

And people started treating me differently. Very differently.

 

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While in the past I’d get cat called at least ten times in ten minutes, this time I’d pass entire construction crews who simply greeted me with smiles. People laughed and gave air high fives when they saw me dance on my bicycle. Even the women who used to glare at me showed their pearly whites. In this community where it’s so easy to feel like a perpetual outsider among locals, I felt like maybe I was breaking down the wall.

 

I dreamed up ideas for connecting locals and travelers and foreigners in experiences so much deeper than nights out at the bars. I planned conscious beach parties with Acro yoga and bonfires and hula hooping and drum circles. I invited friends over for cacao and cuddle puddles. I snuggled with and saw the beauty in so many people I used to shut out. I got more and more high off my own happiness.

 

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Most radically of all, I sought to see the divinity in the man here who had hurt me so badly in the past. I spoke to him with an open heart, told him how special he is, and genuinely thanked him for helping me. I fantasized about having a truly pure platonic friendship with him that would heal not only our karma, but the karma that made so many women in this town hate men. And honestly, it felt really good.

 

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My friends thought I was delusional.

I thought I was pretty awesome.

 

But there was still that little voice of insecurity that wondered, “Am I more than just happy, am I actually fucking crazy?”

 

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Disconcerted by my possible naïveté, I decided to take a trip back in time. To understand where all of my walls came from to begin with. To remember why it’s so much easier for me to be open when I travel than it has been to be open here in Puerto Viejo. I went back to relive the past so I wouldn’t make the same mistakes in my present.

 

I did it as a full on ceremony, because what else do you do on a Sunday night when you live alone in the jungle?

 

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In meditation I called in the past, all of the times over the years that I’ve lived here in this Caribbean beach town and all of the experiences that transpired. Though what was strange, was that I kept getting distracted by visions of an ex boyfriend from back when I lived in the states.

 

I kept thinking of him and how connected I had once felt to him. I felt the intimate moments we once shared. It was the first time in years that I remembered what deep, physical intimacy felt like.

 

I felt this pull from him that was so strong, I actually asked him to let me go. Then something in my consciousness told me that I needed to check my email correspondence with him. It was strange, because I’ve never had that feeling before, but I very strongly felt that I needed to dig into the email archives.

 

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So, in the middle of my ceremony, I pulled out my iPhone. I scrolled through emails from more than four years ago, and there was nothing remotely significant. I nearly turned off the phone and that’s when I saw it. An email I had written to my ex while I was living here in Puerto Viejo, the very night that the walls came up.

 

I had completely forgotten that I had emailed him that night. It was 4am and I was totally drunk when I wrote it, and perhaps my babbling was so embarrassing I blocked it from my memory. It was the night that I found out about the deception of the man I loved in Puerto Viejo. The memory of that night stung me less than the words that I read in that email.

 

“I don’t think that any man has ever loved me, and I don’t think that any man ever will.”

 

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Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. It felt impossible to believe that the same woman who always smiles and dances for hours without alcohol, sings “I love you” songs to herself and others, travels the world and makes friends wherever she goes, and has been told again and again that she must be the happiest person in the world, is the same woman who once wrote that. It humbled me to my knees.

 

I watched memories from all of the moments between then and now like they were compiled in a flip animation book. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so blessed in my life, and it was simply for my own dedication towards self-growth. I sobbed and held myself and said “Thank you,” over and over and over again. I said thank you for having the time and the space to transform in this way and I said thank you for seizing the opportunity. I turned to my spirit and I bowed down in reverence for its incredible devotion to becoming a more and more conscious loving human being.

 

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“I don’t think that any man has ever loved me, and I don’t think that any man ever will.”

 

I had grown so much, but a piece of that wounded belief was still there. So I let myself feel all of the pain that I had felt over the years. Every bit of heartbreak that I soldered together to eventually create an entire suit of armor. It had been there all along, I just hadn’t been ready to excavate it until now.

 

I laid on my bed with my arms splayed open and my heart lifted towards the sky. “I’m ready to receive all of the love and blessings that you have for me,” I said. “I’m ready to heal this. I will do whatever it takes to heal this.”

 

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The next morning I felt like a different person. And not in a yummy way. I felt like a little girl who had lost her innocence.

 

I didn’t want to smile at people in the streets. I didn’t want to go to the busy beach and socialize. I didn’t believe that my vision of creating conscious gatherings here for people of all walks of life was remotely realistic. I watched blame and judgment creep in. And more than anything I didn’t want to see or speak to that man here from my past. Before the ceremony he was a shining example of God’s divinity. After the ceremony he was the most despicable human being on Earth. A shift in perspective is actually that powerful.

 

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For the days that followed I suffered a lot. It was funny because nothing had actually happened. On the outside nothing had changed at all. Yet I felt as raw as if everything had just happened. I felt like all of the walls I tore down over the years came right back up. And it didn’t feel good.

 

My mind struggled with reconciling it all. With understanding how a human could have an open heart in such a fucked up world where people did such fucked up things. With understanding how a sweet girl could regain her innocence in a place where past experience told her that she wasn’t safe to let people in. Most of all, my mind struggled because what I thought made logical sense didn’t FEEL good. I wondered how it was possible for me to love and act freely, which felt so yummy, without getting hurt, which felt so devastating.

 

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And yet, the hurt that I felt was old hurt. It was the illusion of hurt. Because nothing hurtful actually happened since I got back to Puerto Viejo and decided to act with an open heart.

 

I knew that now was not the time to shut down. Not when I had just been so open. Maybe being on high on rainbows seems idealistic to others, but it feels really good for me. Maybe I’m crazy to imagine myself as a fairy goddess or an enlightened being or a magical unicorn, but doesn’t my happiness only arouse more happiness in others? No matter how delusional it might seem? I knew all of this, but opening back up wasn’t easy.

 

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I struggled to be open when I now felt full of fear. Then, interestingly, I did find myself getting hurt again. No matter how scared I was of getting hurt, I got hurt again in exactly the way that made me fearful to begin with. The pain that I called in during my ceremony, the memories of all of the past pain, came to greet me in the flesh in exactly the same pattern. I watched myself re-enter a cycle that I had done so much work to break free of.

 

To be fair, I was making tremendous strides. It felt like I had taken a step backwards because I wasn’t flying in the ether, but I was working through my barriers with conscious awareness this time. I wasn’t simply caught in the wheel of my past, I was living it out and growing in the process. It really hurt, but I was growing.

 

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Through these challenges I also remembered all of the practices that got me into my rainbow to begin with. I remembered to tell myself “I love you,” as much as possible. I remembered to thank everyone and every situation for helping me. I remembered to turn inward despite the tempting desire to look outward for love, validation, really anything. I remembered to make choices that felt deeply nourishing.

 

I saw that so much of my energy was being drained by trying to heal different relationships from my past, that I forgot to give my attention to the most important relationship of all. My relationship with myself.

 

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So a few nights ago, I removed all of the external sources of validation and rejection. I went completely inward. I did my Yin Yoga practice naked on my deck under the stars. I kissed my knees and my arms and my legs with the passion and affection that I would offer a lover. I repeated again and again the kindest most sincere compliments to myself that I could muster. And when I went to bed, I held myself and felt so blessed to be going to bed with me. Cause I’m a pretty freaking special being.

 

In the morning what amazed me, was that I felt so full of love, that I was no longer drawn to the situation that had triggered my suffering. Oh, right, I realized, because love attracts more love. Align yourself with the vibration of love and you become drawn only to those experiences that match that vibration. The more you fill up with love, the more you release anything that isn’t love. The longing I held that hurt me so much faded, because it wasn’t rooted in love.

 

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I grabbed my hula hoop and started dancing to this song:

“Some think that love is a method for the meek. You have to surrender, you walk the path and get weak. No, if you look for love and love is all you seek, you will see that everything that’s not love has got to leave. It’s a strong current of love holding love and light making light. More of the same: love attracts more of what it likes. Making love is a conscious choice. In the face of your own fear, it’s a courageous voice. Keeping the energy of molecules in motion, don’t deny yourself a faster vibration. Find your communion: sacred emotion. Light is love at rest, love is light in motion.”

 

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Of course!

 

‘Cause the thing about the suffering, is that it didn’t come when I was open. It came the moment that I let myself shut down. It came the moment that I stopped trusting and started fearing. I was reminded of the seeming paradox that walls don’t actually keep you safe, only an open heart does.

 

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Only when you have walls do the wrecking balls need to come in. Only when you’ve built barricades do you need the explosives. Only when you’re judging something does it keep coming back to trigger you until you surrender. If your heart is already open, you don’t need devastation or confusion to come and crack you open. A heart open doesn’t need to be broken.

 

We’re so afraid of the vulnerability of an open heart, but no danger lies there. The danger lies in the walls. Fill yourself up with light and love and nothing else can touch you. Fill yourself up with light and love and you will attract more and more light and love.

 

Not to say that more challenges won’t come your way. They will. But when you see them as playful trickers here to remind you to open, rather than dangerous demons that you have to guard yourself against, that’s when the game changes.

 

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Still, with all of this awareness, at times I find myself falling into the same funk of sadness, unworthiness, and lack of trust. Falling into the same longing and desire for validation outside of me. Falling into the same tendency to shut down and close up.

 

I guess it’s a process that we’re going through together. We’re all here on this Earth, whether in New York City or small town America or bustling Bangkok or beaches in Bali or villages in the Himalayas or jungles in Africa or in the tiny Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, to break down our walls and remember how to love. We are all just here to remember how to love.

 

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And honestly, I wish I had all of the answers. I wish I could tell myself and all of you how to return to pure ecstatic love. But for me, the journey is still unfolding. It’s still revealing itself. So for now, I’m working on simply staying open. Staying open to receiving all of the lessons, the healing, and the love that awaits me. Staying open to receiving love in all forms, to remember that I am love in all forms. Just as you are. Just as we all are.

 

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When you want to shut down
that’s your moment to open up.

When you feel like giving up
that’s your time to give in.

When you think that you’re without
that’s your call to go within.

When you start to judge yourself
that’s your reminder to love yourself.

When you feel like your heart is broken
that’s your chance to crack it open.

 

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May you open to the magnificence of who you are, so that you may open to the magnificence of all that is.

 

Pura Vida.
Namaste.
I love you.

~Camille

 


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Comments

  1. Danielle Says: March 1, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I’ve been reading for awhile and thing I found myself most envious of was not your ability to travel all the time, but the time you put into understanding who you are and the person you want to be. For awhile I thought the only reason you could do this much thinking, writing, working on you if because you lived on a beach, worked online, lived alone, etc. It was all me assuming things about your life and making excuses for myself. I stand corrected, and see the unique thing about you is not that you aren’t busy, but that you work on these things despite all that’s going on. I am a mom with a family and a full-time job. I’d like to start incorporating more self-reflection etc. but it seems overwhelming. Do you have a simple tip to start today that would help on this journey of healing and self love.

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 1, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Ah wow thank you so much for this comment and for your honesty. In a sense, you are right. I’ve created my life in such a way that I do have the time and space for this deep reflection. I have created jobs for myself that actually require me to do this self work (being a writer, a yoga teacher, and leading retreats.) All that said, absolutely any person on this planet living in any which way has the power and ability to self reflect and work on becoming more and more compassionate and loving. My recommendation, a very simple approach, is to take time each day, even just for 5 minutes to sit in stillness with your breath. Maybe even set a timer and you can sit any way that feels comfortable, perhaps on the floor with your back against a wall. To keep your mind calm and centered, you can just repeat mentally “inhale, exhale” in synchronicity with your breath. OR you could also repeat silently “I love you” to yourself. By doing even just this short practice daily, you will notice that over time it becomes easier to have greater awareness in the way that you do EVERYTHING. Once you cultivate greater awareness, you can notice in the moment where your unconscious behaviors lie and give yourself the opportunity to correct them. For instance in the very moment that you feel unworthiness arise, tell yourself silently “I love you.” Or if you find yourself feeling victimized or blaming yourself, you can repeat the mantra to yourself “everything is here to help you.” Eventually if you keep going down this path, there are sooooo many ways to get your family involved too. Anyway, I don’t want to overwhelm you, so for now I recommend taking a minimum of 5 minutes of your day to sit with your breath in meditation. Sending you so much love in your journey. If you want to heal and love yourself more, I have no doubt that you absolutely will with time. xo

  2. Amazing post. The way you went into your pain consciously and with self love is so beautiful. I love “When you feel like your heart is broken
    that’s your chance to crack it open.”

  3. Thank you Camille for this moving and powerful post.

    All love
    Mom

  4. Gabrielle Says: March 2, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you ❤️💕❤️ I had goosebumps throughout your entire post. It’s like your words were coming from my soul expressing everything I’ve been wanting to say. I cried, I laughed, I loved your words and your soul and I felt your love through it all. I’m so happy to have found your wonderful blog! Thank you Camille ❤️ One of these days, our paths will cross in person, I just know it 😊

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 2, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      Oh, sweetheart you are so welcome. I’m deeply touched by your comment, thank you for reminding me why I write and share. Hope to see you somewhere out there <3

  5. Wow, beautiful Camille! Thank you for being so vulnerable here and sharing it with us.

    And may I just say – perfect timing as well..I have been contemplating on self-love and what practices i could take up to cultivate it more after a failed relationship. The like attracts the like..so when there are some broken parts in us, or fears and insecurities of being unloveable..we will always attract partners to show us exactly that..
    Thanks for confirming everything that I was thinking of. Oh and I love your writing style – very eloquent and easy to read at the same time. Please continue being open <3

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 2, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you so so so much angel. And remember, there is no such thing as a failed relationship. Every relationship is here to help you become an even more open hearted compassionate loving human being. <3

  6. I absolutely love how raw you are. Your travels are great, but your awareness of emotions and your beautiful soul are what really shine through in your posts. I absolutely love your ending poem also, printing it out and putting on my vision board soon!
    xoxo

  7. Beautiful. Powerful. Amazing. It nearly made me cry (in a good way).

  8. Kristina Beck Says: March 2, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Camille,

    Thank you so much for opening up like that! This article came at such a perfect time in my life. I am struggling with opening my heart up again, it was closed for such a long time for fear of being hurt. I opened it up for such a short time to watch it get hurt, yet again. This post gives me hope to look inside and keep it open. It’s so easy to shut off emotions and run and hide to avoid the immediate pain. Thank you for this reflection, it has changed my train of thought to be more positive and stay open to the idea of love <3 Keep loving life girl! You are definitely an inspiration. Sending love and thoughts your way!!

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you honey, I completely understand. Your heart is so beautiful and it deserves to be seen. Sending you all of the love in my heart too.

  9. Hello Camile!

    I’ve been reading you for almost 2 years now but I’m not usually the type of person that comments publicly in social media or even blogs. But this post is so worth it. You are a person that has inspired me so much for a while now and it’s weird you know, cause I don’t know you and at the same time I feel I do know a small part of you, of your essence. This is by far the best post you’ve written and I must say one of the best I’ve ever read in my life. Honestly I just wanted to tell you: WOW!!! I’m speechless… I send you with all my heart the best of my vibes, hoping you’ll receive them and feel loved from a 25 yo Mexican that has never met you!!!

    All my love,
    Sandra

    PS: I’d love to join you in your adventures and yoga someday

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 2, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you so much sweetie. I really appreciate you and your kind words! I’d love for you to come and join a retreat one day. The next one is in May xo

  10. I always love reading your posts. You dig right down deep, bare it all and express yourself. Your honesty and self reflection is always refreshing, and you are exactly right, practicing so much LOVE brings more love in. It’s not easy, and some days its damn impossible. But remembering to do the best of our ability is SO important. We need to love ourselves, and love those around us, and watch it breed more love!! Thanks Camille :) <3

  11. Heya Camille!

    TOTALLY! THANK YOU!! I truly understand, my friend. I’m sure you heard that Thich Nhat Hanh quote, “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.’ I LOVE how aware and intentional you are and that you’re able to share your feelings/thoughts and lessons and it helps ME! You are adorable! I love you, too! Hope our paths cross on the road somewhere. Have a magically delicious day! <3 <3 <3

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 2, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Awwww Dina you are so wonderful and such a clear expression of joy! Thank you so much for this comment, I love you!

  12. Oh the fear walls… What an accurate observation of our inefficient self-protection patterns. Stay open beautiful heart. You are love.

  13. Precious vulnerable wisdom. Keep doing what you are doing because you do it well!

  14. Kristen Says: March 2, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Camille,

    I have been following your blog for awhile but this is the first time I have commented. Your writing tonight really touched my heart. I hear you, I feel you! Lately, I have been going through the same cycles. I was high on life and feeling wonderful and then this week it all just hit me. Nothing bad happened, I just felt old hurts creep in and start to fester. I rarely dream but the last 3 nights I had dreams about old hurts. And you just helped me remember what I know deep deep down. Love attracts love, light attracts light. Life is not perfect but it is short and fucking beautiful. I needed this so much today. Thank you, thank you , thank you!

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 3, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Awwwww thank you Kristen. I hear you and I feel you and I love you, I’m right here with you!! <3

  15. Momma Lynnie Says: March 3, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Hey Sweetie. Have I told you how truly amazing you are!!?? Wise beyond your years. I hope I’m still around when youre my age to see what’s going on in that head of yours. A teacher, you are. Big hugs from Cali!

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 3, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Awww Lynne thank you I love you so so so much. You really are my family. I hope to snuggle you this summer in Cali <3

  16. I am so in love with this blog. I identify with it so purely. I had a moment this week of closing my heart and starting to fear. I woke up, thankfully, out of it and pressed on with an open heart. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I love you!

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 9, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Thank you for your vulnerability and your kindness! I’m blessed to touch you with my words. I love you too!

  17. Camille.
    This was absolutely amazing.
    I love you! Sending you all the good energies and yummy vibrations of the Universe and know you’re always protected by all the spiris that love you, and they’re a lot.
    Magic Your Way seastar,
    Aria

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 9, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Awwwww thank you angel what a sweet message from another mermaid!! I love you too :) Phew I have such amazing and powerful guides, and you’re right, they are always there with me, thanks for the reminder <3

  18. vincent Says: July 15, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    hi an amaing written piece,that resonates with me in terms of understanding.peace and love to you beautiful girl. namaste

  19. […] But eventually my shadow came to the surface. It scared me to be so open. The more I gave into my fear, the more I descended into the shadow. And then one day, I fell back into the old pattern. I became blinded by my desire for him and because he had never changed his patterns, I got hurt again. Even though I already knew his game, it still hurt like the first time. And the pain made me want to shut down again. I couldn’t believe that after all of my healing, I had let myself get back to that place. (Read more in my post A Heart Open Can’t Be Broken.) […]

  20. shepower.pk Says: September 2, 2016 at 6:37 am

    I’m going to quit my job and go back packing for this huge fun, Incredible images and exploration of Nature’s beauty.

  21. Svetlana Says: July 19, 2017 at 5:06 am

    Hi! I’m just amazed at the synchronicity that made me come across this article. Twitter was open on my web-browser.. I was talking to someone and not looking at the laptop.. the person leaves and turn to my laptop.. a tweet has been clicked on and its open as a highlighted pop up.. I didn’t do it.. must have clicked it accidentally.. I notice and read.. and I take a screenshot… because at this moment in life, there is nothing more that I needed to read.. this is just amazing..

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 22, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      I am sooooo grateful to hear that! May you blessed with the sweetness of your own overflowing love <3 I love you !