Life Will Break You.

Via Lauren Hanna
on Nov 8, 2012
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Photo: Pinned by Taylor Cassidy

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going.

And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” – C. Joybell

What meaning is there in the death of a 25-year old man?

What lesson am I supposed to learn?

And why, do we try to stay strong, stay positive, stay optimistic? What is there to remain optimistic about, do tell?

When you see the following:

Stop. Feel. ______.

What is your instinct to put in the blank?









I want to better understand, the meaning behind my patients’ cancers. Not the science behind it. Please, no. I want to know the abstract—the meaning—the purpose behind it, please. It’s not a new question, no. Many have asked, I am sure.

And I don’t even need to know the answer at full length.

I want to know why it erupts and spreads and poisons the body, the beautiful bodies of people that love and are loved.

I’d like to know about the patients in their twenties, thirties, forties, and beyond…the ones with their toddlers and their adult children and their future children. The ones who haven’t lived yet.

Why will he die?

What meaning is here?

How am I to sit by his side and nod my head and say “this is really shitty,” when death has never stared its black eyes down my back?

How about this:

If you’re a smoker, quit.

If you’re an abuser, stop.

If you have love to give, begin.

If you aren’t doing what you love, start.

If your passion is music, play.

If you’re hopeful about the future, dream.

If you have something to say, speak.

If you need a hug, ask.

If you’re a dancer, spin.

and If you’re dying, live.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdich, The Painted Drum


Relephant reads:

A Break Up Letter to My Ego. 

11 Quotes to Change your Life (a Little).

Why One Life Hack Can Change Everything.


More inspiration:


Editor: Kate Bartolotta


About Lauren Hanna

Lauren Hanna, E-RYT 200, MSS Candidate, is a social worker by day and yoga ninja by night. It was in Pittsburgh that she first discovered the thrill of yoga and her love for social welfare and animal rescue work. With her cats Lotus and Calia in tow, Lauren hopes to someday combine her love for yoga and animal welfare with her career as a social worker. Lauren likes to dream a lot about saving the world – one puppy, kitten and human at a time. Lauren also loves cobblestone streets, arts & crafts, action movies and writing books with her Grandmother. If she had a billion dollars she'd probably spend it all here. Follow her @laurenfoste.


17 Responses to “Life Will Break You.”

  1. edie says:

    Thank you. Posted on three of our own FB pages here and my own.

  2. Magan says:

    This is a mantra to truly live by. Thank you. I needed this today.
    with much love!

  3. farmfatale says:

    Stop. Feel. Accept.
    I have buried two of my own children and two of my sister's.
    It means they are not here anymore, but you are, so you have to keep living your life.

  4. heatmort says:

    You remind me of a student who worked with the bereaved parents of children who were dying of cancer. She shared many stories and the worst was having to tell the parent their little child could not be saved.

    It is extremely difficult to understand "WHY" and look for meaning.

    Just the other day my husband was annoyed that a neighbour who has been living here for 20 years would not wave hello. His wife last year went out one morning and threw her body in front of the train. In Europe these trains go extremely fast.

    My response was, "We never know what other people are truly going through. So I guess, if he had a wife who committed suicide then it was pretty bad." And now he lives on.

    It made me think how much we really need to be compassionate instead of wondering why people don't met our expectations.

  5. Charlotte says:

    Who's speaking in the video please?

  6. Joe Sparks says:

    There is never a good time to lose somebody. There is never a good time for someone's mind to stop functioning and to lose an intelligence in the world. Every single one is valuable. We don't ever want to lose any of them. It's a loss and sadness that people die. My hope is at that moment of death they can get a good picture how much their life meant. Each human existence is a joy. It's a sad loss that we don't have those people with us, but it's not grim, it's not a catastrope. It will always continue to be a great joy that we existed.

  7. I wanted to read this and watch the video several days ago, and now finally took the time. wow. Kudos to Shannon for being so open about depression in the face of serious illness…and also having the courage to transform it. And Kudos to you for writing this article. Beautiful.

  8. krystofer says:


  9. Kate Southward says:

    One of my oldest friends is also a social worker but in a children's hospital in New Zealand, I listen to her tragic stories, it is so heart breaking. Along with school teachers, it frustrates me that social workers aren't revered as highly as they should be in society. They should be idolized! Their work is so important and so valuable. I really enjoyed reading your post, it reminded me of the people that I have lost in my life to cancer. Who hasn't been effected by it? Although bitter, yoga teaches us that we create all the experiences in our life, delightful and painful. People that live through these challenges are our real life heros. Although I'm a wordly run of the mill white kid from New Zealand, and in no way "religious" The holy Bhagvad Gita tells us "For death is certain to one who is born; to one who is dead, birth is certain;therefore, thou shalt not grieve for what is unavoidable." & I find peace in that… xxx

  10. GreatNorthSky says:

    MMMMMMM, Lauren, You Are Such A Big Beautiful Loving HEART :: And We Are So Lucky To Have You :: You Are Soooooooooooo Precious Indeed :: In the End There Is A Balance To All This, What Occurs On This Earth Plane :: For Without Your Experience, We Would Not Have You :: Thank You For All The LOVE That You Bring Forward :: Stop, Feel Breathe Deep and Feel, Feel All Of It, Exhale and Release More HEART LOVE नमस्ते

  11. […] You never know what’s around the corner. The things you thought were important, such as a good job and money, are now right down the bottom of the list of things that are important in my life. […]

  12. livingfrombalance says:

    I was wondering that too! THank you!! She is AWESOME.

  13. MP says:

    The entire universe is a cycle of death and re-birth (which can be broken with one’s noble actions in this world). After death there is a wonderful journey to another world. One should be excited to take that journey to the other world after completing your natural stay in this world.And if you have loved and served mankind in this birth you may forever stay in the other world (and break this cycle) and thus attain salvation.

  14. Sabrina Lynn Pierson says:

    Thank you for this post. My precious mother was taken from me as I watched her take her last breath. Liver cancer destroyed her body within two months of being diagnosed, but it did not destroy her spirit or her beautiful smile. I miss you so much Mama. I live on knowing that you would have wanted me to go on and celebrate your new beginning. There is not a day that goes by that I don't wonder WHY… Still, I move on. One step in front of the other as I contemplate my own death and how it will affect those that love me. Do not grieve for me. I am the wind that blows softly through your hair. The birds that soar high in the sky. I am renewed. Do not grieve for me, I did not die.

  15. Caterina says:

    As I read through these posts, I stop and breathe after yours.. I just kept reading it.. I'm frozen.. Thank you Sabrina