Lodro Rinzler feels your pain. "You know what I wish?" he writes in the introduction to Love Hurts: Buddhist Advice for the Heartbroken, "I wish so much that I could just write out a top-ten list of what to do so you can fix your broken heart. I can't. That's not how heartbreak works. I think the only way we can get through our heartbreak is to sit in the middle of that terrible, devastating, world-changing experience." Instead of trying to sell some panacea for pain, Rinzler then goes on to open up about his personal life--break ups, deaths, mistakes, misjudgments--and also relate the stories of those who came to sit with him at New York's ABC Carpet & Home for heartbreak sessions where anyone could come in to share their pain.
While a Buddhist ethos undergirds all of Rinzler's advice, the book is meant for a general audience and casts a wide net for what it means to be heartbroken. He addresses obvious issues like romantic failure--straightforward advice on dealing with feelings like rejection or betrayal, but also taking the time to consider less intuitive things like not giving up on those who have hurt you or how to deal with relief-guilt. While Rinzler can write up an amazing pep talk, blending humor with Buddhist koans to get right to bone of an issue, I personally thought his subtle moments of vulnerability were the most affecting and helpful. Like when a friend informs him he'll be moving abroad indefinitely and Rinzler reminds himself to sit in that sadness, to fully process his emotions, as training for life's larger heartbreaks.
For all the sage tips in these short chapters, what really hooks you is Rinzler's ability to laugh in the midst of the storm, to confront his own impermanence and let that drive his passion for the immediate. He can also turn a phrase: “Heartbreak can mean loving someone and wishing they would go fuck themselves at the same time.” A perfect stocking-stuffer for someone who might need a comforting voice--or a kick in the pants.