I was shaken to my core. Everything I was always able to count on, that was constant in my life, had changed. The woman who was an expert at making plans, suddenly found herself without any. I was, as Julie Peters suggests,“lying broken, in a pile, on my bedroom floor.” You know, that moment, or actually those moments, where you are stripped of e v e r y t h i n g and you sit waving that white flag, praying for mercy. According to Peters it is in these moments that one places herself in the position to make her most epic strides. She is, in essence, perfectly poised for her greatest comeback.
One of my favorite quotes from Anaïs Nin (whom I’ve named my patron saint) is, “In chaos there is fertility.” It’s true. Hindus have even named a Goddess for such times of disarray; she is Akhilandeshvari, which loosely translates to Goddess who is “never not broken.” Awesome. She always appears riding the back of a crocodile (which the Hindu associate with that part of ourselves where fear resides), never weak, but enduring and always prepared to transform and be transformed. Akhilanda teaches me, teaches us, that there is nothing wrong with being broken, that in actuality sitting in pieces is a wonderful thing to strive for. She teaches us, possibly, that our thoughts of togetherness and completeness are only illusions which we cling to for comfort, but they certainly do not save us when things fall apart. Because they do fall apart—things, I mean.
When we sit there, in those piles of pieces, all shattered and bruised, we are able to repair ourselves; to mend ourselves in ways that will make us stronger and greater than ever before. Reading Peters’ post (and hat tip to dream hampton for sharing it) reminds me that in moments of uncertainty and barrenness lie chances to be reborn—sans script and duty and all those things that keep us tied to unhealthy habits, careers, friends, lovers, et cetera. What better time is there than after an awful breakup to make that list of attributes we truly desire in a partner—the list we obviously didn’t write and consider before diving into what we hoped would be everlasting love? When we are fired from that job we thought we’d love but found we loathed, we are open to discover those things we enjoy doing that incorporate more of our passions. In those moments when we are abandoned by friends (and sometimes family) we thought for sure we could depend on, we are given an opportunity to recognize others in our lives who are reliable and concerned, and are even able to forge new relationships remembering to be the type of friends and family that we desire; opposite of those that have forsaken us.
“In chaos there is fertility.” When we view those life-altering dilemmas as ripe moments for better opportunities and positive change, we become less afraid to act. And the next time we find ourselves on the floor, in a pile, we remember that we are able to rise out of the ashes, all new and fancy and phoenix like, because we have done so before and recognize that we will do so again. In those times we can channel Akhilanda. Speaking of the Goddess, Peters ends her post with the following words of wisdom:
But remember Akhilanda’s lesson: even that new whole, that new, colourful, amazing groove that we create, is an illusion. It means nothing unless we can keep on breaking apart and putting ourselves together again as many times as we need to. We are already “never not broken.” We were never a consistent, limited whole. In our brokenness, we are unlimited. And that means we are amazing.