The Act of Cracking Your Heart Wide Open

Hey readers! Here's a little change of pace from the motherhood and vegan posts. Enjoy something altogether different below, and have a beautiful weekend!

Even five year old Lindsay had a plan.
Most people who really know me know me as a doer.

I’m a gal with a plan, and for anything I’ve ever wanted to achieve in my career as an emerging film and television actress, I’ve usually created a list of about 10,000 tangible actions steps I can take to achieve my goal.

See, lists are beautiful to me. For me, seeing a list filled with action steps has always given me an elegant sense of calm and control. By thinking of every single possible thing I can do to take apart my goals and put them back together, I’ve managed to make goal setting and action step-taking a career in and of itself.

Which has been great for the overachiever in me.

So great, that I’ve always been able to keep myself busy chasing and chasing and CHASING after my acting career.

I was so busy step-taking and goal making that I didn't pay enough attention to something else important in my life - my marriage.

In 2014, my 11-year relationship and 4-year old marriage to my college sweetheart was abruptly screeching to a halt. For a bunch of bittersweet reasons, my husband and I were painfully separating from each other. Then it happened - I found myself agreeing to file for a divorce I wasn’t even sure I wanted and letting go of the only long-term partner I’d ever had.

And that’s when it hit me.


For probably the first time ever in my adult life, I was coming to terms with the fact that, more than any rejection in my acting career, I was experiencing the ultimate rejection in my personal life.
I felt embarrassed, vulnerable, and so very small.
It seemed like the word “failure” had super-glued itself onto my forehead.
“Hot mess” and “Bridget Jones’s Wine Nights” became regular parts of my vocabulary.

I moved into a tiny ass studio and often fell asleep spooning my ten-year old cat.


The hardest part though?

Feeling and being alone.

It seemed that life was literally forcing me to sit with myself.

And as I sat with myself, I found my broken heart sitting there with me. And it hurt. It hurt in the way a child hurts when they feel like they haven’t been heard. The hurt ran deeper than I knew hurt could. It felt uncomfortable and dark and unbearable and, for a while, hopeless.

Heartbreak, while incredibly painful, can also be enlightening. Because the act of heartbreak does exactly what it says - it breaks your heart right open. And what spills out is everything you’ve ever wanted. Everything you’ve needed. The yearnings inside of you that have gone unmet, unheard, and unloved.

It all comes spilling out when your heart has been broken.

And after the spilling happens, you have a choice.

You can continue to bury all of those pesky feelings down the way you did before your heart spilled them out.

OR -

You can choose to excavate it all and examine it and mine it.

And after realizing that fighting against the tide of my heart would just lead me to more heartbreak, I chose to face it. And in doing that, I realized I wasn’t even really listening to myself most of the time. Which was terrible for the overachiever in me. But amazing for just about every other part of me.  

So I listened. I received everything my sore and weathered heart was telling me. And as I listened, the hurt melted into something else entirely. And I realized something.

I wanted to write.

I wanted to make stories to help myself heal.

I wanted to chip away at the pesky feelings with a keyboard and see what was left.

And so I stopped making too many lists and I just started writing.

What I’ve found in the few years since my divorce is that, while my career endeavors are less streamlined, they are more heartfelt. Literally. I’ve found that since my heart broke open, I can only listen to that part of me when focusing on my life’s purpose. There is an odd kind of clarity in having your ass kicked emotionally, and if you can rise up to it, a pocket will become created inside of your heart filled with the most awesome kind of courage and vulnerability you can imagine - courage and vulnerability that will help you be the most present and honest and loving version of you that you can possibly be.

Since my heart cracked wide open, I’ve written screenplays with strong, dynamic female protagonists I didn’t know were in there. I’ve created blog posts and stories I had no idea I wanted to write. I’ve stopped chasing parts of my dream that no longer serve me. I’ve taken breaks from my acting career when I could feel my heart tugging at me to just play. I’ve taken creative leaps I wouldn’t have dared let myself take had I not known my heart was begging me to do it.

But the biggest, most incredible way my broken heart has led me?

My broken heart has led me to really start listening to what it is I want to do with my life.

I want to help people feel more connected and less alone in this world. I love storytelling and sharing our collective human experience with each other. I live to inspire, to empower, to transform, and to love. And although that is not a list of action steps, it is the new roadmap for my career.

It’s kind of like my new mission statement.

So, instead of analytically breaking down how to achieve my career goals, I am choosing from this experience to first focus on why I have those goals in the first place. And I have my broken heart to thank for that.

You may be wondering - but where are the fireworks?! Where is the big success story?! The awards? The film deals?!

Well, just as it is with me personally, my career and life's purpose are a WORK IN PROGRESS. But here's the thing, guys - how cool is it that we can find a way to tune into something deep inside to help us navigate all of our career life, not merely the high-flying moments?

So, I’ll pose these questions to you.

What do you actually want to achieve in your career?

Why do you feel a pull to do what you do?

How do you want to help make the world better?

When will you choose to listen to what your heart is asking you to do?

These questions may not immediately boost your career to the next level. But the answers may help you simplify the actions you take toward your career goals, because they will be grounded in the WHY of it all.

And the WHY? That’s the heart’s favorite part.

You don’t necessarily need your heart to break open to find those answers.

But it sure helped me.


Momma Fisher said…
Wow .. you continue to amaze me in new ways. I have so much respect for you.