Arriving Home :: How To Navigate Our Brokenness
Life calls for great courage and great strength at times. It is in our most difficult and trying moments where we are put in a place of raw vulnerability and utter openness.
In a sense, this is mindfulness in action. When we are in the direct experience of the present moment from being so cracked open, and all of our usual defensive mechanisms, layers of operational ego and buffers are dismantled, we can’t help but be extremely present. Trauma, difficulties and our heartbreaks will do this. They knock us into the direct experience of who we are and the reality of the present moment.
When we remain awake through our challenges and heartbreaks - then there is a real opportunity to do nothing more than show up, albeit courageously, and become stronger. The moment we do not shut down, numb out, disassociate or bypass our situation, is the same moment we build another layer of strength within that we will always have to move forward with.
Even when I have been in the center of my own storms, still in the healing process, not quite through the rock bottom and not at all feeling whole again - at the very least I know no matter what, I am becoming stronger and more resilient. As well as more open, raw, empathetic, caring, wise and understanding.
We all experience brokenness. We all meet our matches. We all fall down. But it is whether or not we are willing to remain engaged and open up to why we fall. It is whether or not we are willing to let ourselves grow and become stronger. It is whether or not we are able to show up and learn with humility - even when we are still experiencing the pain from the fall.
Here are my 5 ways to navigate life’s most broken moments
- even when you are mid-fall.
Show up. Still. Show up. When holding heartbreak, sometimes the only thing you can do is show up with your brokenness and sadness. When you are shell-shocked by the fall itself and the reality of waking up on new, unfamiliar or unwanted ground - all you can do is show up and take the next breath. Even in all of the shakiness.
Keep moving forward even in the shakiness. One of the most predominant signs of reaching rock bottom is you feel shaky internally, and in some circumstances, externally. Your centeredness is not quite there or maybe gone. The practice here is to stay open and aware, even in the shakiness, as fear will tend to make us want to shut down and constrict in order to protect.
Do small acts of kindness. Help someone else for a moment. Do something you normally wouldn’t do for another. We’re talking small steps here. A smile. Holding a door. Making someone else laugh or feel good through a compliment. Say thank you. Pick up something someone dropped on the floor. Go out of your way a little bit to make someone else’s day better. When we are in a free fall or in pain, it is our tendency to focus only on our own situations, feelings or things. By default, it is hard to connect with others or have the bandwidth to lend our attention, let alone our generosity. Extending small acts of kindness connects you back to our shared human condition. You feel the reverberation of someone else’s joy when you make them smile. You catch the wind of someone else’s gratitude when you hold open the door. You take in the delight felt when you offer your help to someone else.
Practice simplicity. When navigating our hardships and falls, I like to allow things to get really simple. This is where we can really lean on our mindfulness. The more attention we give each action and each step, the more room and space we make for healing. The falling apart itself brings overwhelm and complexity, and often gives us a lot to sift through, discern and hold. So to be simple about as much as possible is sometimes the only real choice we have. Make simplicity your mindfulness practice. Find the simplicity within each and every step, breath and movement you make. Make your words simple. Make your moves simple. Notice when you are overthinking and instead - choose simplicity.
Practice ‘Still …’ Still make the bed. Still move a little. Still sit in stillness - even though it hurts. Still be kind - even in the midst of navigating brokenness. Still take care of yourself and your basic needs. Still be forgiving and compassionate towards yourself and others - this is being an actual human hero in the brokenness. Sometimes it takes all we have to still show up to our lives and to the emotions or turmoil we are in. When you are in brokenness, remember to practice “still…(fill in the blank)”. When you still show up and do all of the little or big things, you build strength and resilience layer by layer. To still do what we know will lead us to healing - that is the most heroic thing we can do in our moments of brokenness.
In vulnerability and openness, real strength is born. It’s in the strength where you will start to heal your brokenness - piece by piece.