I Am A Million Broken Pieces Creating A Whole
This image is of a Hindu goddess named Akhilandeshvari, whose name translates to “she who is never not broken.”
Without even knowing much about her mythology, I realized recently I have been living and telling the story of Akhilandeshvari for many years. You see, She represents the parts of ourselves that are not keeping it all together, the parts that are ripped open by loss and grief leaving us utterly transformed by the brilliance and resilience of our own light. She is also riding on the back of a crocodile which suggests courage to conquer all fears. Her image really resonates with me for what I see is that Her cracks reveal the magnificence of Her light. I truly believe that it is when we plunge (or are plunged) into our woundedness, our brokenness, we open to grace and in these moments we are cradled in the arms of God.
It’s been over three years since my father died and my divorce was final. Over the course of the summer of 2012, two men who represented love, security and home were gone. For a girl with a deep core wound of abandonment, it’s safe to say this cracked me open and tore me apart. I was the driving force behind the dissolution of my marriage but the months leading up to that decision were as malevolent as the cancer that stole my dad’s life 31 days after his diagnosis.
My truth, in retrospect, is my undoing was not sudden nor solely provoked by these events. I was not plunged into any pool of grief I had not been sticking my toes in for years. Much like my physical yoga practice, I had slowly been cracking open for years and steadily gaining the confidence and courage to ride my biggest fears. Akhilandeshvari was my patron saint long before She was even slightly in my awareness.
Much of my adult life, I have devoted myself to the path of self-discovery and have been utterly lost many times along the way. More than once, I have certainly lost sight of the magnitude of light that blazes through my deepest cracks, seeing only darkness. But recently, I have felt into the most abandoned places of my heart only to discover I was the one doing the abandoning. The ego is very stubborn and shadow is ego’s clever ally. We could live our entire lives with ego as our driver. Who we think we are in the world gives us a sense of security even if it is false security. Furthermore, it takes great courage to ride our fears, tend to our deep wounds and acknowledge our role in inflicting wounds in ourselves and others. But when we do mount our crocodile and commit to our inner work, we discover that beneath the fear and all those core wounds is a deep driving desire to love and be loved.
My personal experience of love has had a profound shift this past year and I have really been juicing up my practice of self-love. Holding in awareness and loving up the little girl who feels abandoned, the rebellious teenager who yearns for attention, the critical judge who seeks approval, the desirous lover who fears rejection, the rigid mother who wants control, as equal partners to the woman who trusts her divine knowing and acknowledges love as her guiding force.
My self-love practice has recharged me in many ways and my Sankalpa–– sacred intention/resolution of the heart––for 2016 is very clear. A Sankalpa is most effective as a concise, present tense, positive affirmation.
My new Sankalpa is “I’m in love.”
I’m in love as a verb, I’m fully in it whatever expression the moment is presenting. I’m in love with my darkness and my light. I’m in love with my family, friends and heart tribe. I’m in love with teaching yoga and in love with my practice. I’m in love with the mystery, the divine, God. I’m fully in love with every breath of this wild life. I’m so in love!
To support my Sankalpa I am re-wiring my brain by giving up something that doesn’t serve me and starting a healthy habit in its place. In the Sankalpa workshops/retreats I co-lead with my dear pal Tracy we use Rod Stryker’s guidelines of giving up a habit/ distraction for 40 days/40 nights but I am hopeful this is just the beginning of a permanent shift. I am giving up wheat and joining a gym to weightlift again, a former habit I really loved.
On my first trip to the gym, I couldn’t stop weeping. The realization of my coming full circle was overwhelming. You see ten years ago I spent 10-12 hours a week at this very gym. I was unhappy in my marriage and couldn’t see a way out. The gym became a place of refuge where I didn’t have to think of how distant I felt from my husband or how stuck I felt in our life together. I worked out with a trainer and became very fit and lean. My trainer’s approval was intoxicating as I felt none from my husband, and very little from myself.
I was trying so hard to keep everything together, to not fall apart, to not crack open and everything felt out of my control. I was controlling the one thing I could––my body, and I was tremendously disciplined. The irony is I was so physically strong but my self-esteem was quite weak. Now a decade later and twice the size I was then, I am willing to release control over holding myself together and navigate my broken-openness and my self worth is so much stronger. It took everything falling apart and my heart to shatter in a million pieces for me to discover my authentic self and truly fall in love with her. The gym is once again a place of refuge but this time I’m not running away from anyone or anything. I am simply giving myself time to rediscover my strength and vitality, which makes me feel whole again.
I feel the essence of Akhilandeshvari and see my journey as a sacred offering. Sometimes the only way to feel whole is by honoring each shattered piece of ourselves and loving it up. She who is never not broken is made whole through the resilience of love.