Photo By: Dexx Creative Imagery
Be brave enough to break. It’ll set you free.
Some of the most monumental moments in our lives are the most difficult ones. The ones that break us open. The ones that throw us in a pit of despair. The ones that leave us gutted. It’s in those moments that we uncover fragments of ourselves that help reveal to us who we are. That is of course, if we choose to navigate in the direction of self-discovery and awareness.
There is no clear and defined path to the truth or the inner self; nonetheless, the journey is still worth exploring. Crack your heart open, embrace your suffering and navigate those monumental moments with courage. You will surprise yourself.
1. Allow yourself to break open.
Break. Fall apart. Bear witness to the dissolution of your reality. Pain can obliterate us. It can be so profound, so palpable, that all of our senses become amplified and command that we re-awaken to our very own existence. Pain can make us come alive in a whole new way. It can, and often does, rip us open, exposing us to places within ourselves that we’ve always needed to excavate. Those very places that for some reason or other, we never knew required our attention.
And so, there is only one thing to do when pain destroys any trace of our joy. Feel it. Embrace it. Sit with the pain. I mean really sit with it. Let it marinate in your heart. Swallow the bitter pill that it is and taste the acrid, nasty flavor as it burns in your chest. Accept that it is there indefinitely while also knowing that, although it may never fade or even be gone…possibly ever, it will become a great deal more manageable.
It’s a start.
2. See things for what they are. And be honest, no matter how much it hurts.
The human condition is fascinating and the only way to unravel its mystery is to unravel our own. And to do so, we must be willing to accept what was and what is. Life, whatever it has been to each of us, has gifted us our very own collection of scars and fears – made up of atoms rendered by supernova explosions in abundance. For some of us, that collection is vaster and more colorful, which is an unfortunate truth, but a truth that must be accepted. We cannot bear the burden of every pain that we have felt if we wish to emerge from our current fire relatively unscathed. We cannot allow our past experiences to muddy the perception of who we really are or what our life really is as we move through our pain and suffering. In all our flawed and broken glory, we must accept ourselves – including our mistakes – without crucifying judgment. We must do the same for our lives – as imperfect and jagged as they may be. Through acceptance, we can establish the truth as it exists in the now, and that, is where we must move forward from. Delusion, no matter how reassuring, is still delusion and ultimately our internal resistance to accepting life as it is.
The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded…it is the most poetic thing I know about physics – L. M. Krauss
As difficult as things may seem, accept them and see them as they are. See yourself for who you are. Cosmic brilliance.
3. Find your courage.
Do you take pride in your hurt? Does it make you seem large and tragic?…Well, think about it. Maybe you’re playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience. – John Steinbeck
We want so very desperately to be good and worthy which is an inherently fragile, yet incredibly beautiful way to be. In our desperation, we fail to accept that we have been imperfect. Or even that life did not stop, despite it’s grave injustices towards us as we strived for goodness. And this is why we suffer because it is a very precarious way to live. If we do not find the courage to shift the dialogue we have with ourselves to a more compassionate one, we can easily drown in our own internal chaos, fighting to deny our reality. No single human on the face of this planet is perfect or has it figured out. Not one soul. To be imperfect is to be human. And to be human is to feel, to suffer, to be right sometimes and to be wrong many times. But finding the courage to accept your pain and your reality is so important. Have the courage to let go of the pride in your hurt so as not to minimize your life to a tragedy.
Begin the work.
This is incredibly difficult. It is also absolutely necessary. Healing begins here. When we have been sucker-punched by life, we mustn’t give in to the depression, despondency, and difficult emotions. See what I did there? I tried to bring a fun alliteration into an incredibly heavy sentence. That is what we must try and do. Find love in even the smallest things. Love comes in varying degrees and forms. The ultimate joy of life is found in the love that transitions us from the negative to the positive. It is the contrast that reminds us how fortunate we are. Let me reiterate, the work is hard, but it is not impossible.
After we’ve found the heart to break open, the sense to see things as they are, and the courage to understand that our life is in fact, not the greatest tragedy to have befallen this world – we can begin the work of picking the pieces up. Our broken and shattered hearts will require reflection, time, and diligence to mend. We will have to take the time to understand, accept, forgive, and let go. And when we do, we will begin to find love in the little things. We will find it in every step forward and even in some steps backward.
But its only when we make an honest and patient effort that these things will happen. We all must do the work. Everyday. Some days will be easier than others.
Be here now.
Some may argue that this should be the first step in this list. I disagree. In order to tap into the infinite pool of awareness that is the now, we must first acknowledge that this is a step that must be taken. And that is radically different for each of us.
This belongs in our journey where we see fit. It is not a forced first step but rather a necessary one that is integrated where and when is appropriate in our lives.
Reader, I urge you to read Tiny Beautiful Things Advice On Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. I then encourage you to explore, at your leisure, the wealth of information that is out there, detailing mindfulness, meditation, and all things associated. Take your time, and with an open mind, consider adopting a practice that suits you. You might surprise yourself.
Set yourself free by healing yourself. It is by far the most important thing you’ll ever do because it will become your gateway to the infinite
Nidhi Kaur Bagga
PharmD | Professor | Writer | Yogi | Backpacker | Speaker
Nidhi has dedicated her life to empowering humans, integrating mindfulness into the educational system, and changing the landscape of public health. In a day and age where focus and peace are seemingly impossible tasks, Nidhi teaches mindfulness and how to be engaged in the present moment without fear or judgment. She pioneered the first ever academic program for the study of mindfulness, meditation, and neuroscience at the University of the Sciences. She delivered a TEDx talk about the limitless potential of mindfulness, and how, through practice, we can learn to unleash the power of our infinite capacity, become maverick thinkers, and change the world for the better. She whole-heartedly supports and encourages a community mission to create and manifest change from a place of great kindness through service to others. When Nidhi is not teaching, or writing, she is immersed in the simplicity of a tranquil tedium on the Appalachian Trail, relishing in the rebirth of each day, one breath at a time. Somewhere between classroom and the trail, you’ll find her: A human. Being.