Breakdowns to Breakthroughs

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Lessons from the bottom of my broken heart

A month ago, I could not even write. I was too broken. Everyday I would wake to the same unwanted reality. I was stuck at the bottom of a dark cold hole, deeply depressed.

Getting out of bed took all the energy I had. Life became the opposite of the story I had worked so hard to create. Life seemed to shift from a manifestation of my dreams to pure survival mode, merely eating and sleeping to stay alive.

Looking back on it now, my misery all came from me being a total control freak, a dictator to my own life if you will. Life suddenly seemed out of control. When things happen in life that are not planned like sickness, injury, loss, miscarriage, infidelity, then in comes sadness, anxiety, frustration, confusion, and depression (this list could go on forever).

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The deeper the growth, the more painful it can be.  These scenes of suffering in our lives test our spirituality, our belief systems and our overall perspectives.  True transformation often times is a challenge.  It is uncomfortable.  The process is hard.

Breakdowns are an essential part in becoming our best person. As painful as these times might be, getting through them builds our courage, compassion, strength, and understanding. These obstacles along the path are opportunities for an awakening and wisdom.  

Looking back on it now, this scary and uncontrolled moment of darkness I was going through might have been my worst nightmare.  Little did I know that it would soon be my greatest joy, a source of strength, inspiration, and pride.   It is the blessing that comes through unanswered prayers.   Whether you call yourself  religious person or a spiritual soul at the end of the day doesnt really matter.  One must trust the unchangeable, the uncontrollable and the inevitable path we are on.  Call it God, fate, destiny, or just life.  At the end of the day,  we can not avoid change.  And so too, we can not avoid growth.  

“Peace is the result of retracing your mind to process life as it is rather than as you think it should be.” ~ Wayne Dyer

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5 steps to turning your breakdown into a breakthrough:

  1.  Allow yourself to grieve.  Set an amount of time just for crying, for accepting, for allowing and fully experiencing the situation.  The amount of time may vary depending on the situation you are going through.  Be compassionate as well as reasonable when setting this timeframe for yourself.  A few days for losing your job to an entire year for losing someone close to you, you might not be finished grieving at the end of this time, but allow yourself complete sympathy and compassion during this time with only one goal, to grieve.
  2. Re-establish a healthy daily routine.  Just like you brush your teeth and shower everyday, add a few things to your daily routine that will benefit you.  Pray for what you want and give gratitude to what you are grateful for.  Do this every single day. Prayers are your deepest desires released into the universe.  Expressing what you are a grateful for takes you out of the victim role, and into a more positive realm.  Make prayer, meditation, yoga, tai chi, or chanting a daily ritual.  Ritual is a focal point from distraction.  Ritual is your ladder out of the hole.
  3. Build Strength.  It is climbing time.  What do you love to do?  What inspired you before the crash?  Yoga, meditation, singing, dancing, writing, drawing, painting, gardening, hiking, dinner with friends.  If these are things you enjoyed before the breakdown, then it is time to climb out of the hole into a world full of things you love to do again.  The lows may have stripped all the fun and motivation away for a moment but to re-engage in these activities is to re-engage with that happiness you were so familiar with before.
  4. Make a “dream” list.  Before long you will be out of the hole and completely unstoppable.  What do you dream of doing? Where do you dream of going? What do you dream of seeing or making? What does your deeper self desire?  Write down ideas even if they might seem impossible right now.  Soon (if not already) the strength you are in the process of building will come flooding back and this list might not be so far fetched and unrealistic after all.  In fact, you will grow so much from this experience that you will find yourself fearing less and thriving more… so be ready to move mountains, because you will.
  5. Keep lifting yourself up and floating. You will be amazed how far you go by just doing these two things. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year.  A thing cannot freeze if it is constantly moving.  So keep moving, reaching, growing, thriving.  Now, you are actually moving mountains.  You have no idea how many people have watched you move from No.1 on this list to now, and how inspirational you are to others.

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“Tears are a river that takes you somewhere  Weeping creates a river around the boat that carries your soul life.

Tears lift your boat off the rocks, off dry ground, carrying it downriver to someplace new, someplace better.” ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes