Though no one likes it, each of us will find ourselves broken at some point in our journey. When we find ourselves there, what do we do? I've been broken many times—through illness, through the loss of a job, through the derailment of a dream and most recently, through the death of my father. For all of this, I can offer a mysterious truth that life has given me: that we are stronger, gentler, more resilient and more beautiful than we imagine, and that the resource we call life is never far away.
I know this because every time my heart has been shattered, I have felt certain that it could never be put back together. And every time, without exception, not only has my heart mended but it has become larger, stronger and more loving for the breaking. The mysterious and unfailing journey of how this happens is the ordinary art of staying awake. It involves the deep and continuous act of being present in all ways, in all directions. Being present in this way is the practice of holding nothing back.
Feeling broken can be debilitating and hard to move through. A few steps we can take to refind our wholeness include the effort to:
1. Accept the Weather
Realizing that we will be broken is not a pessimistic view, but a wholehearted acceptance of the unfolding nature of life. Being tossed and turned by circumstances is part of life's weather. You may trip on obstacles, hurting someone you love. You may find yourself alone, without the person with whom you thought you'd spend the rest of your life. You may become ill.
How do we meet these challenges? For me, I try to remember, when breaking, that every crack is an opening. No matter how harsh the experience, something is always opened within us; and what is opened is always more important than what breaks us. We might experience cruelty or unfairness or indifference or the brutality of chance—all of which are difficult and life-changing. And while cruelty and injustice are never excusable and need to be rectified, we must not get stuck in our list of legitimate grievances, or we will never be able to enter the depth that becomes available for being open.
Next: Feel the rush of life