The Wild Beauty of Being Broken. ~ Alex Stone

Via Alex Stoneon Sep 22, 2013

In spiritual circles we hear people saying things like “the wound is where the light gets in”—speaking as though they have spoken a great wisdom and to those in the know, they probably have.

But for most people this kind of spiritual rhetoric means little and often the people peppering the phrases about don’t understand what they are saying either. This cod spiritual rhetoric is entering into the everyday lexicon of language, splattered across memes—Twitter feeds—Facebook sites—used as though they were tubes of vitamin C (I stole that line from Julian Barnes).

Oh look, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, there are many worse things in life, but if the prolific use of these incredibly powerful life teachings result in a desensitization to their deeper meaning then what’s the point? How is it helping someone who is suffering?

Many people do not rise like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes of emotional wounds, they carry these wounds with them, exposing them through drinking,  drugs, sadness, depression and anger. Most in reactive non mindful ways.

Those who do make it to the yoga mat or meditation find they cannot sit still and they want to run from the great gulf of silence that exposes their gaping, sobbing, emotional wound. The light seems very far away and it looks like we cannot get in, yet there is a way though and we will not find it in a meme.

When my heart was broken, I spoke about it to another yoga teacher who expressed her sorrow for me. I gratefully received and then replied that really there was no need because I didn’t mind having my heart broken. Her eyes widened. She said it was the first time she had ever heard anyone say such a thing and then she inevitably asked why and the better question ‘How’?

There is no one size fits all to healing and to try and bite size such an undertaking into eight steps is admittedly a little absurd but here goes.

As a survivor of the relationship wars I have learned a few things about handling a broken heart, perhaps you would permit me to impart some of that hard won wisdom today—this is how I let the light inside the wound.

1) Befriending emotion.

I began by feeling everything, sitting quiet, I noticed where feelings manifested themselves in the body, placed a hand there and began to breathe into it. Once a day I would light a candle, sit and let these emotions wash over me. Telling myself ‘it’s okay to feel what I feel, anything that I feel is ok, is welcome.’

Once I gave the emotion space it widened, it wasn’t given opportunity to become constricted in the body, it expanded, it released and it passed, like everything else. This was not a linear process for me, I would sometimes have to revisit certain uncomfortable emotions but eventually they did release and left me in peace.

2) Using vulnerability.

To feel compassion for the suffering of others. We become more sensitive to the world, more present, vulnerable, receptive in the face of our own pain. One of the universal laws is that we feel a sweetness when we help others. I often went out of my way to help people on the underground, the destitute, friends.

There was a lady crying on a bus I was on. I sat next to her, gave her a hanky and just let her know she wasn’t alone. I turned this compassion back on myself; spoke softly, held myself gently and let the tears fall.

3) The mortality factor.

Not the most cheery on the list! What I mean is one day we’ll all look back at all of this craziness (if we’re lucky) and see it as a great and beautiful adventure, knowing that everything is part of the human experience, that no emotion is greater or more valued than another.

Meditation helped me gain a much wider objective perspective on this whole experience. Silence is the true ally of the broken.

4) Hitting the asana and breathing mindfully.

Asana and pranayama really help us get out of the mind space without blocking. Yoga is incredibly healing for the body, it moves around blockages of energy and teaches us awareness. There is no hiding from ourselves on the mat, we are forced to face the truth and the challenge is to love all the parts we think we don’t like.

There is magic in asana, trust it and let it unfold. Yoga has been like a second mother to me or like a nurse at my bedside, there whenever I need her.

5) Singing and mantra.

Hum, chant, whatever, tuneful vibration is healing for the body and has a deep comforting effect on the psyche. I love the Gayatri Mantra and Ra Ma Da Sa, love vibration mantra.

They helped keep this heart open. I use mantra daily, broken hearted or healed and whole. The mind is open to suggestion, I am careful about what I put inside it. Never underestimate the power of mantra.

6) Communicating with heart.

In my personal experience it opens when it is raw and hurt, no longer whispering but shouting, screaming—even! In the midst of one broken hearted storm I found my dharma – yoga teacher! At the very least we can begin the journey to self realization and grow in awareness during these times.

The only way I could communicate with heart was to sit quietly and be patient. Now the communication lines are always open and everything I do comes from Anahata.

7) Lucky Seven: Sleep!

I had to really make a commitment to get to bed before 11pm and get 8 hours sleep. I wanted to sleep less though, the body was stressed, I lost weight, some people are the total opposite. Either way, both responses are signs of a burnt out nervous system. To help me get the deep rest I needed I practiced Yoga Nidra, the conscious sleep. This one became non-negotiable—after learning the hard way.

8) Last but not least—write— get it all out the chattering mind.

Surprising what’s in there, getting it all out helps clarify things, very cathartic. Then later, perhaps, you too can use your wanderings in words to let others know that they are not alone, that a broken heart can be a wild and beautiful blessing …

Wild Place

Wet heart soaked with the promised breath of summer skies
Unfurling gently
A chanting medley
Of wishes, hopes and dreams
This big wet heart drumming folk songs in shy ears
‘To the forest’ it calls, ‘to the wild, once more!’

Flowing streams of tiny tears weeping softly
Crystallizing a map of star like scars across the wilderness of this heart
Dusty deserted bowls of sand
Filling with water,
Awaiting return of the prodigal daughter.

‘To the forest’ it calls, ‘to the wild, once more!’
Away to the quiet place
The silent space
Where words have no meaning
And books have no standing
This is the wild, secret forest of the heart.

 

 

 

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Assistant Editor: Leace Hughes/Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo’s: Vaya Sigmas

About Alex Stone

Alex Stone is a yoga teacher, poet, conversationalist, lover of adventure—and then some kind of soul, a story teller, an ex-marathon runner (knees ouch), occasional standup comedian, family girl, mummy’s girl, a juicy smoothy kind of girl, dancer, prancer, people loving, earth loving, music loving, body loving, word loving, film loving, horse loving, romancer. You can find Alex on Facebook and Twitter.
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12 Responses to “The Wild Beauty of Being Broken. ~ Alex Stone”

  1. Steve ONeill says:

    This is such a refreshing change from the usual approach, which seems to turn all attention inward, with no countervailing extension of the gaze outward to others. The call to heal ourselves while helping others, in a mindful way, I believe shows a more humanistic understanding of our emotional strength, which increases the less it is rationed.

    • Alex Stone says:

      Lovely observation Steve, as within so without, it is an interchange of energy and a great universal law that what we give is what get. Thank you for reading – xxx

  2. Philip Gorry says:

    There are certain unalterable truths. One is that, like great joy, you don't have to throw a stick very far to find great sorrow and hardship. This piece, although short, addresses tried and trusted ways to begin the process of healing. To those familiar with the terms and, ultimately the benefits of using these methods, it makes sense. How, the question arises, do you get the message out there to a wider spectrum of people and stop it from being a "private conversation" between those who seek answers, within?

    If we leave aside the thorny issue of relationship wars where the walking wounded are seemingly everywhere, it's clear that compassion for both ourselves and others, is a good starting point. Simple kindnesses; a sandwich given to someone on the street, checking in on an elderly neighbour, are good ways to remind us of our better selves. By creating a good space within which we can live, we create a space that is attractive for others to visit.

    The yoga mat is a good but daunting place for many. For those that surround themselves with external stimulation, which more often than not is a device to distract them from the idea that their existence is not all it could, or should be, the silence can be intimidating. It's also true that most people like the line of least resistance in all they do and, given yoga for many represents hard work with little obvious immediate gains, it's easy to look elsewhere for comfort from lifes difficulties.

    This is a good piece and, if as a result of someone reading it a kindness or thoughtful act comes about, then all the better.

    • Alex Stone says:

      Hi Philip,

      I truly believe that all the goodness in the world stems from compassion towards the self and this then flowers outwards to the people around us. I loved when you said 'By creating a good space within which we can live, we create a space that is attractive for others to visit,' this is very true, if we want beauty in our lives it's really up to us to create it, whatever the weather. I understand the yoga mat can be a daunting prospect, yes yoga does require the student to be unwavering in facing personal truths but I do think the benefits of yoga happen pretty much immediately, in my experience as teacher and student. Often the so called comforts we seek to anaesthetise ourselves from pain prolong it and in the end they can become the cause of it. Pain isn't as bad as we imagine usually, sometimes we must be brave and pour the stinging medicine on the wound in order to set the healing process in motion, our bodies know this process intuitively, if we let it do its thing.
      Thank you for engaging, very interesting points raised. x

  3. Philip Gorry says:

    I agree with all of the above. Some of what I said stem not from a personal perspective but, that of people you might encounter and engage with every day on the street. In this increasingly frantic world in which we live, the need for the yoga mat or, a quiet moments reflection is greater than ever.

    Getting that message through to people is the key and, that can only happen when their is a recognition on their part that the methods they use are not serving them well. However, as much as you and I know of the huge benefits, we have to be careful not to proselytize Those that can't, or don't wish to hear, would be turned away quicker than you can say, there's a Jehovah's Witness at the door. This is why I believe in many respects the most compelling method is to create the kind of personal space that will attract others and may lead them to question the choices they make. If we are truth to our self, like magnets, we will attract some and repel others and without judgement, what will be, will be. x

  4. Alex Stone says:

    Yes, the old adage 'you can lead a horse to water' applies. We each must walk our own path, do our own thing, speak our own truth. I hope I was not proselytizing, the intention was to share my own experience as a method of healing that worked for me 'there is no one size fits all to healing' , each unique individual must find their own path. The words of those who had experienced suffering and triumphed helped me in my time of need, I hope I can pass that light on. For those who can't or don't wish to hear, namaste, I hope they forge their own beautiful trail and find a method of healing that works for them. I will continue on my own journey, speaking and actioning whatever resonates with my heart. X

  5. Clare says:

    Beautiful piece of writing. Very true that compassion and empathy is built through feeling our own pain. It's reminding me of something from the recent new series of Downton Abbey (not that I watch this avidly I will add, but it was one of those rare occasions… ;) One of the main characters was compelling one of the others whose husband had died, to use her pain as motivation to help others. Transforming the energy of a painful trapped emotion outward and into the world. I read somewhere recently that in some fields it is believed that elements can transform from one state into another. Cannot remember where. Actually I think it was my very intelligent friend Naomi Tanner who said it..
    Thank you for this gift, Alex.
    x

  6. eric esko jalonen says:

    Thanks alex.

    The Simple Truth.

    In my experiance. You are right on.

    Have you put together a Program of such ?

  7. Lars says:

    Very tender and personal truths. I especially connected to the benefits of surrendering to the vulnerability, ” We become more sensitive to the world, more present, …” More and more I value the gifts of being present. Through those magical moments I am able to experience my own Divinity. I agree with your early premise that healing through embracing our pain has become a cliche. I think it masks the truth that by experiencing our joy we also “become more sensitive to the world, more present, vulnerable,” I would love reading your thoughts on this path.

    • Alex Stone says:

      Thanks so much for your words Lars. I hear you, in those vulnerable moments we are truly ourselves, completely present and alive, and this allows the heart to speak its divine wisdom. When we speak tenderly to ourselves in these moments it allows the real person from underneath the conditioned mask to shine, and that light is always brilliant, always, and without exception. I do write regularly, join me on FB if you're plugged in to that network. Have a peaceful weekend beautiful being. X

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