I had a breakthrough this week, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means. How does one exactly break through? I can tell you. It begins by being broken. It begins by allowing yourself to hurt so deeply to feel so badly to pain so completely that you wonder if you will ever see the sun. It makes you wonder if the pain you have endured, the mountains you have climbed, the demons you have faced were all for naught. It causes you to question and doubt and fear that in the end it is a horrible unending painful existence which will never relinquish. It breaks you and then it breaks you again. And just for fun…it breaks you some more. And when you think that thing, those thoughts, those painful, tormenting memories and feelings and ideas and non-stop barrage of self-hate and self-loathing and pity-party crying escapes are over, a wave hits you again, sends you to your knees clutching your stomach while sobbing a most excruciating sound that you can hear from outside of yourself but you cannot stop. That. That is the moment. That is the moment when everything is broken. You are broken. You can not fix you. You are in a bad place. You know you are in a bad place. You can’t pretend to be in a good place. And you just are.
And then because there is now a space inside of you, you are wide open, flow can come through you. God, the universe, all of the world can work through you and with you and beside you. It is no longer you alone against the world. You’ve done alone. You’ve felt the depths of despair. And you know without a doubt when you are no longer alone. And it is relief that rushes over you. It is pure joy and escalation and comfort to know that I am no longer in that place. That wide open space makes room for more.
More comfort. More joy. More peace. More perspective. More of everything that is good and true and noble and honest. You are open to what you couldn’t see before. You are willing now to be the one giving hope instead of looking for hope. You are the one who reminds others to see the good instead of needing to be reminded. You are the reminder. The mere fact that you are standing up right after crying listlessly on the floor in a filthy pile of your own tears makes you able. Gives you strength to give to others. It gives you joy and peace and security. Because now you know. You know you have been broken. And you know you have gone through.
“Nothing is the same.” I mumbled to my therapist at my last appointment. I live in a different house. I live in a different neighborhood. I have a different job. I have a different relationship with my family, my friends, my ex, my children, my parents, my siblings. I even had to get a new therapist because I moved. I gave my dog away and got a different dog for God sake. NOTHING is the SAME!
She let me sit with that for a minute. “Nothing is the same.” I mumbled again in self-despair. “What IS the same?” she asked prompting gently. “I don’t know,” I replied. “There must be some things that are the same…” I could not come up with one. Not one single thing that was the same. She reminded me, “Well you’re the same. You’re still the kids’ mom. You still look like you” I didn’t understand. I thought to myself. I am not the same at all. She’s not listening.
I break, now I get to come through.
It happened this morning. I invited my daughter into my bed this morning for snuggles and cuddles. We chatted about our day and some things we dreamed about. And then I remembered. She used to sleep with me almost every night. She would bring her pillow pet, her stuffed animal and we would sleep together (remember, I already told you he never slept in our bed). It was the same as before. I found something that is the same. The most important thing is the same. I get it now! I am still her mom. She is still my daughter. No change to the outside can take that away from me. I love her and she loves me. That is the same.
And I needed to be reminded that all the things that I mentioned…the house, the job, even the dog and relationships are all external. They are all outside of my control. They are all the stuff that goes from the outside in…not the stuff that goes from the inside out. The “stuff” that goes from the inside out, the me, is the same. And I’m still here.