Mindful Mondays: The difference between being broken & being broken open

'Allow your healing to be poetry instead of pain. Allow your smile to penetrate your heart, so you can see that you have been broken open to more brilliant places than you could have ever imagined.'

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Mindful Monday

It’s kind of poetic, the idea of being broken. Being broken allows us to behave in certain ways — generally ways that keep us small. Being broken becomes a badge of honor that we proudly carry along with us. It feels almost righteous, like we have earned something. Broken can give us reasons to have closed perspectives, to opt out of relationships, to hide from the world, to isolate ourselves and our minds.

When we feel fractured, it can feel like we have the right to our pain and the thoughts and beliefs that feed it. Like we have earned reasons to respond to situations with excuses for our behaviors. When I am acting from a feeling of being broken, it is as if I have given myself a permission slip to be in pain, to disconnect from my heart and to separate myself from those I care about deeply.

My partner cheated on me, so I no longer trust men/women. I lost my job once and no longer feel like I am safe financially, even though I now have a steady career. I trusted someone with a secret and they didn’t respect the agreement and chose to share it; I no longer trust anyone with my secrets. I am scared of being heartbroken again. I need to keep my heart closed. Sound familiar? We tell ourselves all this crazy stuff about painful events in our lives, and it stops us from feeling free; it confines us to being nothing more than broken.

Being broken gives us reason to not show up in our relationships, in our work, in our families and most importantly, in our own lives.

What if the event that you felt broke you has actually given you an opportunity to be broken open?

I once thought I was broken. It was a very dark place. I was worried for my sanity and my ability to resurface. After a week, I began by taking deep breaths, and said, “I will not be broken by this. I will allow this to open me.” I didn’t want it to harden and close me. I could see how I could easily allow that to happen, so I promised myself a gift: I would allow it to move me into more beautiful places within my own body. I didn’t know how I would do it, but I just knew that I had to allow that to be my truth instead of the truth I wanted to indulge in, which was that I was broken.

I decided to go as fully into the pain as I could. Anytime I watched myself pull back I would then ease myself further into it. I knew that if I could step into the eye of my inner storm, the storm would settle. So, I allowed myself to feel all the pain, disappointment, anxiety, bitterness and anger. Over time (and relatively speaking, not that long), the pain subsided and it had much less hold over me. It was no longer my whole story, only part of it.

You can do this with new pain or older hurts. Instead of ignoring your feelings, allow yourself to feel the feeling until it no longer has power over you. This will be hard, because it is normally enormously intense. Find someone who can support you during this time, be it a friend or a therapist. Remember to allow yourself time to heal, time to feel dark and time, maybe, to retreat. But keep support close, so that when you need to, you can reach out, even if it is just to have someone listen to you as you unravel.

Allow your healing to be poetry instead of pain. Allow your smile to penetrate your heart, so you can see that you have been broken open to more brilliant places than you could have ever imagined. Eventually learn to see the gifts that pain offers. Make that your mission. You are so strong. Strength doesn’t come from hardening, it comes from learning to soften.

What if the event you thought broke you has actually given you an opportunity to be broken open?

Noelle Bovon