Grief, disappointment, and loss all can be felt so profoundly and can penetrate so deeply that we truly never see the world in the same way again. From a Chinese medicine perspective, such wounding affects the heart – which is the metaphorical Emperor of the body – and as such, rules how we navigate life. Yet the choice remains ours as to whether we will be broken by what happens to us – or broken open. In my romantic fantasy “Atlantis Writhing”, the character Alaric shows us what it looks like to refuse to be reduced by unimaginable pain. And that requires looking at our shattered pieces and accepting there is no “spiritual super glue” that can ever recreate what once was. But that in the shattering, we lose our old armoring, too. Fear never actually feels the same once you’ve faced the worst. And so if we can take away from our traumatic experiences the knowing that we survived our worst-case scenario, we can have a newfound grace and gratitude for each precious moment moving forward.