Just over eight years ago, I went through a sudden breakup.
My ex and I sat down at our kitchen table in Miracle Mile, Los Angeles to have a conversation about some not-great life things. An hour later, we were breaking up.
It seemed as though it came out of the blue – like that time when I was 12 and got hit in the side of the head with a baseball.
But our stuff told a different story.
Surrounded By Broken Things
Over the next week, I went through all our stuff. I was astonished to realize how many broken things we were living with.
Broken mugs, broken electronics, broken chairs, broken tschotskes, old stained pillows…
I filled two dumpsters with broken, worn out, or decrepit things.
As it turned out, there had been signs everywhere that things were breaking down. But I had gotten so used to living with them that I didn’t notice.
It took the breakup for me to see how much was already broken. This didn’t mean there wasn’t love between us. But it did mean that way of life wasn’t working anymore. It was time to do something radically different. I got a one-way ticket to New York.
We all do this in different ways…
You ignore your ongoing abdominal pain and say it’s just cramps.
You accommodate your partner’s heavy drinking because ‘they’re wounded.’
You stuff down your unhappiness at work because you’re stressed about money.
Then, wham! Something bigger happens. Something that turns the fissure into a full-on split.
Your pain becomes debilitating.
Your partner wrecks the car late at night.
You weep uncontrollably at a work meeting.
The signs that things were breaking become undeniable facts that they are broken.
The Moment When Illusion Breaks
Weirdly, I find this moment to be fascinating. I sort of love this moment. Because this is the moment that truth breaks the surface. No more hiding. No more pretending.
At this moment, you get to become wildly conscious and make a radical new choice for yourself – the choice to get real. The choice to change your lifestyle. To end your relationship. To leave your job.
Is it painful? Yes, with big change, the nervous system is experiencing a death.
When my ex and I broke up, it felt like a shark had bitten off my entire shoulder girdle including the scapula on one side. It felt like I just had entrails of nerves and bloody veins trailing out of that empty socket as I limped away.
Was it worth it? 100%
Because in that break, even though I was bleeding, I looked up and could see the horizon again. And it was filled with possibility.
I know that you’ve been through hard things. Some of them came about slowly. Some of them hit you like a truck. Some are in the past. Some are happening now. Some are yet to come.
You may have the support and tools to help yourself through these times. I hope you do.
But what I want to offer, is that you don’t turn back. You don’t try to piece the broken bits back together. Even though you’re scorching, choose to let the fire of change keep burning all around you.
Sitting in the Fire
For me, this meant staying up late at night, sitting with a candle on a worn out porch alone in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, the summer after my breakup, and just feeling it all. Letting it burn me out.
There were tears. There was rage. There were literal thunderstorms that rolled through the sky, amplifying my own process. Then there were new beginnings.
“Your way begins on the other side” is one of my favorite lines from a Rumi poem. And so it does.
If this rings true to you, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and tell me what you know.
If you have a friend who is in a moment of breakdown, sit with them sometimes without needing to change anything. Just let them be, while being in company.
If you want to learn more about the yogic tools for breakdown/breakthrough, whether you’re in it now, or want to be prepared for the future, check out my next two big things:
The Breakthrough Workshop on Sunday, July 21, 2:00–4:30 PM at Prema Yoga Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens – CLICK HERE to register.
The Breakthrough Retreat in the Catskills September 27th-29th (that’ll be my last stop on the east coast on my way to pick up my camper in Minnesota). CLICK HERE to learn more.
Both will be co-led with my dear friend and star-crossed colleague Aaron Dias. She and I have each been going through a radical year of transformation.
We look forward to sitting in the fire with you.
Free “Breakthrough” Online Experience – Join Ariel’s List to be invited to a free online class on how to breakthrough… YES I NEED THAT
Peace, love and great faith to you,