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visual artist and writer marisol diaz

i am a self-defined Nuyorican creative (that is a Puerto Rican who is from both the isles of Manhattan, NYC and the Caribbean). I share daily in the joy of education and live in a cute port town in New York, in a 'teensy-weensy' apartment with my two dogs and canary named Valentino. Check out my Etsy shop for purchasable pieces. Please do not reproduce imagery off of this site without explicit credit and no derivatives may be made of my original imagery- Thank You.

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Entries in buddhism (2)


12 Techniques & Strategies for Healing Heart Break 

So how do you turn the worst thing that every happened to you, into the BEST thing that every happened to you?

First of all, I want to say right off the bat, I don't have a magic pill. In fact I don't have any pills - that's the point - and if you have been reading along the last few posts you can see the stages of mourning, anger and acceptance one simply HAS to endure. No, no magic pill - this is good old fashion elbow-grease self work.

These are things that have helped me and things I believe will help others. Especially creatives who are suffering because they as authentic human beings with over-active imaginations have encountered some of the many heartless, less-authentic people that walk this earth who HAVE NOT learned to love themselves and are going around wreaking havoc in others lives esp. those who love them. Somethings may work for you, some may not, but they are as we speak working for me.

At the writing of this post I am happier and freer than I have been in years.

digital art by m.diaz
  • Cry - As much as you have to, no matter how afraid you are of getting permanent bags and dark circles- cry, cry, cry let it out. If you can cry, there is a cathartic letting go that those who can't and do not cry will never feel. Just like an exclamation of, 'ouch' when pinching your finger in a door is your bodies biological anesthesia, so is the process of crying. Eventually no matter the river you cried for days or weeks or months, you are mastering your mind and you are being aided by your own bodies systems of release, or at least tell yourself that.
  • Walk- walking is an under valued and under-estimated sport. It is INCREDIBLY healthy physical activity and ANY physical activity gets you OUT OF YOUR HEAD and that is WHERE you most definitely want to go. So if the gym is not a reality for you at this moment, and yoga too pricey, and you have no system in place for physical challenge, than walk. Walk everyday more than once a day. If you need to cry and walk, than Cry and walk.
  • Practice Visualization
  • In Fact Visualize EVERYTHING and I mean every thing - VISUALIZE YOUR LIFE HAPPIER. VISUALIZE WHAT YOU IMAGINE SURVIVING to look like- Visualize you with none of the memories and none of the pain.
  • EVEN VISUALIZE THE UGLY STUFF- In fact, imagine your WORST fears as a reality...and see how you are still breathing and living and surviving after you visualized the thing that hurts the most i.e., like a super hottie surfer babe working alongside of, living and sleeping in your x's love shack on what used to be your side of the bed... who cares??? They are now SOME ONE else's TOXIC problem, no longer yours and look you survived the vision.
dead bird photo by m.diaz
  • Recognize and MASTER your self-destructive self not from lack of loving yourself (if you read my last post you know I don't subscribe to that ideology). No I am talking about the part of you that is simply reacting to something bigger than you are. When you are confused, knocked down, low self-esteem and your fixated thoughts don't let you get back up. The self-destructive self that simply subscribes to loving so big it was potentially the death of you. It can be as simple as mastering your minds endless replays, thoughts and daydreams that remind and hurt you. It could be the waiting to pack up items and triggers that have to go. It 'no contact rule'.

    For me it has come in many forms through out my life, and this time it came in the form of failing and not eating.

    Once you recognize it, you need to master it with forgiving yourself. i.e., Pick yourself up, forgive yourself, and start the no contact rule all over again. And if you fail again, start again, and if you fail again, start again and I promise if you can recognize your trigger, and see the toxicity playing itself out, you will master your mind and you will cease and desist. And before you know it you will have gone weeks and months without the contact...and healing.

  • People. All People, people that in your past life you thought were irrelevant to your life. NEW people, strangers- Go to MEETUPS! Find people with common interests and or just people who want to do or go and see the same thing as you just not alone. There are so many social butterflies among us, that many don't understand the true hurt and pain of real isolated loneliness. It takes a phenomenal amount of inner light and strength to get yourself out of your cave to go meet strangers. You can try convincing yourself you are above it, that the folks you will meet will be sad, lonely, broken people and you couldn't be more wrong. They are like you, maintaining a bright life-force that refuses to stay beaten, defeated and alone, they like you, will not just survive BUT THRIVE. That takes inner light.
  • Laughing. Laughing alone at home, at work, with comedies, in any way, shape or form. Laugh accept others trying to make you laugh. It is at once cathartic and DISARMING and it is light in its purest form. Allow yourself to smile at the little things like the dew on a leaf and to watch this extraordinary and hysterical gif collection on the 22 Things No One Tells You About Life After A Break up and laugh out loud. My faves are number 7, 11, 12, 13 and definitely number 21. Now that you’re in a much better place they might even try to get you back 'HELL NO' gif!!
  • DANCE. Dance with no expectations. Go to club NOT to meet any one - just to dance, dance at home, move, feel a beat, envelop yourself in the affection of movement and musicality. Again physical activity gets you out of your head...but dance, well that's like striking the wonder woman pose to boost your confidence times 10! And yes, strike the Wonder Woman pose = Strike it often, and be documented doing it - you will rise to that pose.
  • WORK Yes you can lose yourself in your day job and maybe for a while you should, But as creatives there is no more powerful time to produce our art or get lost into our process than when we are hurting. It has often produced some of art histories greatest masterpieces. But how to paint, write, sculpt when you have no drive? Master your mind or trick it, SIGN UP FOR a class with strangers or a workshop or a meetup. Put yourself in the place of deadlines, and expectations to help you, so you HAVE the illusion of being obliged to sit and work. And as a creative sometimes you don't work not for lack of drive, but instead for fear of what you might unleash. So be it. Unleash. Let your passion ignite.
  • Learn something new. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE - Break patterns by learning a new skill, shoot for something so out of your realm. I have chosen electronics and circuitry, more specifically Arduino. Meet others into this and get out there and pick their brains.
  • REALIZE your life is so much richer, fuller (perhaps now of extraordinary people, places and things) that you had been missing out on while you were being drained of all your life-force by one undeserving individual.

Disclaimer NOTE- If you do not have a pet to care for, some of these strategies would most likely not have the same affect they had on me.

Pets, in my case, dogs, force you (even if you start off kicking, screaming and whining about it) to contend with a living creature OUTSIDE of yourself that needs you. Even when you are in a bed and unwilling to face the world and get up and out they are dependent on you. I would have most likely not discovered how much walking for example was helping me if I wasn't obliged to walk my dogs every day three times a day. The routine has lifted me. So I am grateful for having living creatures that I am responsible for, they have been my salvation.

Furthermore, I highly recommend being BETTER PERSON by developing the skill of nurturing a sentient creature other than yourself, IN ORDER to better care for yourself. Too many narcissists and self-indulgent people can be identified by their lack of even a plant to water or a cactus being the only thing they know how to keep living.

If nothing else - remember this- once you have truly hit the lowest point, and you accept that as far as your romantic life is concerned you have hit rock bottom you have one of two options. Either stay there (live there) in a place of perpetual negativity or be a little Buddha and detach. If you can manage to DETACH than the old cliche is 100% true- no where to go but UP.


Healing the Creative Heart 

self m.diaz

You all know the term,'spooning', allowing and encouraging your body to curve, mold and encase another's so that they become warm nooks & crannies for each of your limbs. Your forehead fitted into the nape, the smell of the pheromones that intoxicate you. The other's heartbeat lulling you and your responding lips to sleep. Becoming familiar extensions of each other. Having lived together side by side, job-free, breathing the same summer air 24 hours a day for 76 days spooning...well the untethering is brutal. It is reminiscent of a phantom limb that you insist is there, when it is not.

With many of our creative, over-active imaginations who knows how long or if it was ever there to begin with.

You know that bubble gum effect of our hearts and noisy minds; webbed, stretched, fibrous, gummy, sticky residue of emotions pulling off. Especially when you were fooled into believing you were both working to understand this phenomenal bond... Every image, every selfie, every memory has you both smiling cheek to cheek. Pulling off the gum of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine is by far one of the hardest habit reversals we ever face. Especially the inside voice and thoughts that person was a receptor for, when you have no other confidante.

When you love big and hard you are like, Atlas holding that love, that world, that dream, high up over your head, so high, so high, so high that when your arms can't bear the weight any longer and you bring them down you are shocked to see - your love never came down with you.

Now in Puerto Rico, and probably quite a few other places in the world, we have a saying that you can remove a nail with another nail. Some of us disconnect from lovers in our lives by giving that love away to someone new. In fact some say you can't give romantic love to the new without taking it away from the old. Just look at the premise of the new film, My Old Lady with Maggie Smith and Kevin Kline. Some of us disconnect by substituting one human vessel with another. And if you are alone in struggling with the habit reversal and your partner is not, the chances are that your partner has moved on by doing just that. Especially if they have verbalized the desire to be with others to you often or have even admitted as much.

These toxic heart things would be difficult for anyone no matter how tempered and resilient. Now fast-forward to the world becoming too big, too alienated, too spiritual-less, too screen-addicted, too lonely. Fear, fear of world crisis, fear of being female, fear of being alone, growing old, fear of living. Anxiety cases growing astronomically globally and more of us experiencing panic attacks than ever before. What do you do?

As creatives this is especially difficult. No need for an art history lesson and the revelations between creativity, love and madness.

You'll hear so many suggestions. 'Love yourself', 'Find yourself' as though feeling like you won't survive this love means you don't love yourself. Of course you love yourself, if you didn't how else could you have come to love truer with as much forgiveness, dedication, loyalty, ferocity, and faith-driven persistence not letting go too easy. Those who love themselves are the one's working to hold it together, forgiving lies- once, twice, being made a fool and holding love up over their heads.

Don't misunderstand me, there are definitely many of us who do not love themselves. In fact, I would venture to say they are often the one's 'at war with love' stringing us along, vacillating, not sure of what they want, using you here, not wanting you there, being inconsiderate of you and what you do, breaking hearts like irresponsible bulls in china shops. They are the ones who need to be told to go find themselves, love themselves, and learn to be whole and present before trying to make a life with someone.

So what do you do? You'll close up, clam up, sleep, cry, cry while you sleep, walk lots of walks, cry while you walk, and lock yourself up. When it feels like weeks have gone by and you are still in a state of raw pain you'll hear the words 'meds' and imagine the hospital gown and the cold flush of a tranquilizer shot soothing you into slumber. And for some this may be the way, especially when anti-depressant prescriptions are so readily dispersed. But for me the question was how to heal without intervention.

That has become my determination.

sketchbook page soul-gutted by m.diaz

And I would like to share this journey with other creatives hurting - so no one has to feel as alone and misunderstood as I have, even while you know the one true thing you loved has left you, staged your reality, and is giving all the beauty you bestowed upon their brow away to another.

First I would like to start with sharing tactics that have been helping me in my next few blog posts, things like how to write, draw, paint when you have no drive. How to use routines and healthy habits to create and maintain habit reversal. That doesn't mean I'm no longer waking up at 3, 4 or 5 am with heart racing realizing in hyper-speed that my life as I knew it and my dreams have been radically altered. I am still in mourning of the living- but the process has picked up momentum, and I have slowly reclaimed my mind and find myself laughing more than crying, or have less and less moments in which I am pestered and plagued by fixated thoughts & replays of betrayals.

And as you look at the sketchbook page above, I'd like to offer a different way of seeing it- as opposed to soul-gutted.

You see being able to truly LOVE couldn't possibly be pain free. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Buddhism, 5th century brain science, has the Buddha enduring suffering and it was that very poison turned to medicine the brought him to enlightenment. Now I KNOW THAT IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE and the how as I learn it is what I want to share.

As a young Buddhist recently articulated, it weren't for cellular muscles ripping/tearing when you work out we wouldn't grow stronger- the 'tear' of a muscle the two major ways are that contractile proteins (actin & myosin) are damaged which is ESSENTIAL part of synthesis for making the muscle mass grow. And for those of us creatives especially the sculptors, you know the often powerful result of putting a material through stress like hammering heated metal into form to forge a beautiful sword. Perhaps my sketch is recognizing the essential pain of being CAPABLE of loving empathically and truly.

So for too long I have been seeing myself as the rumi quote -

'The friend comes into my body Looking for the center, unable to find it, Draws a blade and strikes anywhere'
This is me perceiving myself as wounded and scarred by someone I trusted. Though that may actually be - it has also given way to scarification that has made me tougher, clearer, stronger, and in awe of what I am capable of resurrecting from. Many who misunderstand Buddhism believe that it encourages no earthly attachments. It's not the case we will have desire and we will have attachments - it is the ability to affect the mind so as not to be GUTTED by the suffering of those attachments that leads to enlightenment and the suffering is essential to obtaining the transcendence.

Instead I want to share this quote:

Quote from The Heart of the Lotus Sutra by Daisaku Ikeda