Life will break you. It’s not because you have done anything wrong, it’s because that’s what life does.
It breaks us over and over, so that we may awaken.
Of course we don’t like it. In fact, if we didn’t fight it, the process wouldn’t work: it’s the struggle that leads to the breakthrough.
That’s why aboriginal societies took their young people through “coming of age” rituals. To break them. They knew that in time life breaks us all, and it’s best to be prepared for it. They would purposely break them to teach them how to find the light. So that when life breaks them, as it does all of us, they would know that nothing is wrong.
It’s best to be broken in a conscious way, and then be taught how to work with the aftermath of a broken heart, than wait for life to teach you in its own ruthless way.
In Western culture, we have no concept of “life will break you”. We go around thinking all crisis can be avoided, all problems must be smoothed over. Not only can everything be perfect at all times, it should be perfect at all times, and anything else is evidence of a deep character fault.
This means that at a time when we are most likely to think “now I’ve blown it”, our culture reinforces this idea by implying “now you’ve blown it”.
Life breaks us all. It’s what life does. There’s no escaping that.
And no, it’s not because we have personally screwed up. It’s because life is relentlessly committed to our own awakening. Relentlessly breaking us so we can love more.
If you’re going through a crisis, that’s life trying to break you. You won’t like it, but trust me, nothing is wrong.
You might find yourself thinking “but Mary, I could have avoided this crisis, if only I hadn’t been so stupid, if only I had known better”. And yes, all crisis could have been avoided, on some level.
What we can’t avoid is crisis itself. In time, life breaks us all. It’s not because we are particularly flawed that we break, it’s not because we are inadequate, or unskilled, or lazy. It’s because this is the way life has chosen to break us on this particular time.
If life is trying to break you right now, I’m sorry. I know how much it hurts.
And yet, this is not wrong. You haven’t screwed up. You are a human being, living a human life, an life breaks us, it’s what it does.
There is nothing wrong with you for going through the crisis you are going through.
It’s just how life is trying to break you. If it wasn’t this crisis it would be another.
What we can do is learn how to break and how to put our hearts back together.
If you know how to break, if you know how to keep in check the voices that say “now you have screwed up”, if you can keep the pain moving through you, then eventually light will break in.
When that happens, and your heart falls apart completely, it grows back again, stronger and kinder.
Your capacity to hold love will increase. Take comfort in that: you will be able to love more.
Let your heart break. You can’t help it anyway. The more you try to hold on to the pieces, the more energy you spend trying to prolong the inevitable, energy that is stolen from your life.The more you try to stop the obliteration of your heart, the less life you live.
Don’t hold on… Just let go and accept that life is like this, sometimes. Heartbreak is on the cards for everyone.
Life breaks us. Our hearts go through complete annihilation, over and over.
And maybe, just maybe, after your heart breaks, and then heals itself anew, more light will stream in.
And what will emerge from the rubble is a bigger heart, capable of holding more love… And yes, more pain.
A stronger heart, a healthier heart.
That is, until the next time it breaks.
If you’re going through a crisis remember:
You haven’t screwed up. This is what life does.
I am so, so, so sorry.
May your heart heal and grow bigger.
I dedicate this to Someone Pretty Awesome. May they find light.