Published on 7 June 2022 at 17:25

"It's gone...I didn't dream it...Don't say I did." 


If I had to say which movie was my all-time favourite, I'd say The Shipping News (2001).

Of all the different topics, characters and realistic scenario's, the most fascinating thing, is that house. Tied down, frozen in snow...and time, weathering the storms throughout the generations until it finally lets go and disappears forever; taking with it all the sorrows of those who'd passed through it.

There are a lot of self-help books, articles, blogs and advice on how to deal with heartbreak and sorrow but none that I've come across that have resonated with the inner workings of my mind and personality. That's the trouble with it all, in fact: it's a hand in glove scenario. Advice and therapy (professional or otherwise) is based on commonly acknowledged and accepted principles. Science meets the psyche. A cognitive approach to a cognitive problem. Right?

Some of us run along with it, nodding our heads to that acknowledgment, taking that next pill, watching for signs of improvement, and yet...

One random thought, and the healing was just an illusion. Why? 

Possibly because we never believed it in the first place. There's a gap between what we logically must ACCEPT to be true, and what we subconsciously WISH to be true. Heartbreak is one part of the human condition, which creates a gap between reality and imagination.

Rejection - Loss - Breakup - Divorce - Betrayal - Neglect - Abandonment

Those are some of the most pertinent causes of heartbreak and often seem insurmountable once they occur. I say "seem" not because I aim to follow with the line "but they're not", but because it's how it feels and cannot logically be disproven.  

I often wish I could get a personalized approach to my pain, past and present, but most of the time I get the best another person can deliver within the context of their own lived experience...which often doesn't match mine. I politely thank them, try to adopt what seems to match, and then retract silently back into my shell. I wait for that breakthrough moment where my conscious mind finally links with my subconscious one. It does happen. Sometimes on its own (years of dreaming), sometimes with a push from various techniques.

Talking to someone who takes your information and fills the blank pages in their own book, is one technique. Avoiding heartfelt darkness with those who simply squeeze your data in-between their own endless rows of code is also a reverse technique of sorts. Then, there is this house.

Having had a brief, by-proxy introduction to the Silva Technique I found many similarities to the contents of my own "Mind Palace" (to quote the term from the Sherlock Holmes series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch).

Everything that happens, takes place in the mind. Our perception of reality, our penchant for fantasy, our love, hate, pain, sorrow, euphoria all manifests in the mind and connects to our body through our nervous system highway (more or less to be taken with a pinch of salt since I'm not a qualified neurobiologist). Everything is real, including imagination. I made a statement not so long ago about human beings as the higher, intelligent lifeform. Today we are more aware of our natural environment and it becomes politically incorrect to place animals lower. However, I do not say this in pejorative manner.

"What about crows?" He asks.

"Yes crows are intelligent, as many animals are. Many types of creatures have superior senses to a human."

"Well then?" He adds.

"But what have crows created?" I ask him.


"Yes...still just nests." I reply further. "Look all around you...it is saturated with human imagination. We have built everything we have ever imagined. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) were the tools, not the seed."

So, heartbreak...

One mental technique, excluding the help of others and all their potential prejudices, is through imagination.

Your heartbreak is that house. You put everything you feel and every instance that connects you to that feeling, inside it: facts, events, places, faces, memories, smells...

You tie your house down by the four corners to a cliff and you let it freeze in the harsh winters of a Newfoundland climate.

That house continues to exist, because it cannot be unbuilt. You (meaning me and anyone else who functions similarly) cannot negate what has happened because it is committed to memory in that Mind Palace, for an indeterminate period of time. However, the pain is immobilised in one place and acknowledged from a distance. You don't go back to live there: it's too cold, too windy and too empty.

One day...the untouched has been neglected for so long, that it no longer has the structural stability to stay in place. All it takes is one more storm, to rip it all away until you can't see it anymore.

But does it work?

Yes, sometimes. It depends how closely your physical existence links to your inner world. Or otherwise stated, how much time you spend inside your own head! 

Does the heartbreak really go away?

I don't know for sure. I've managed to achieve it on two occasions where two sets of feelings ceased to exist. I remember them, but I don't feel them anymore. On other occasions, I haven't managed to tie them down and abandon them.

When heartbreak is mixed with anger and rage, it's much harder to avoid going back into the house. You don't want to let the storm remove it, for it seems like such light punishment to a thing that caused so much pain. You want to disembowel it yourself and burn it. And yet you can't, because that house is you. It's an interesting dilemma to which I have yet to find a satisfactory solution.

Meantime...I leave you with the end scene of a second movie that stuck on me like glue since I was a teen. Worth a watch despite the heartbreak:

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