“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of sh*t and not be squeamish about taking a good look.” ~ Pema Chodron
Life has ripped me up, spit me out and shattered me.
I’ve landed on the cold tile floor in a thousand shattered pieces, my heart raw, bleeding and broken.
And in that rock bottom real-ness, I’ve given up. I’ve cried until I couldn’t breathe. I’ve screamed. I’ve hated myself.
I’ve lain motionless, lifeless and defeated.
I’ve also learned to get the f*ck up and breathe fire.
I’ve learned the sublime serenity in surrendering.
I’ve learned the incredible, unexpected beauty of breaking.
Because I didn’t scrape those splintered, broken pieces together and try to create the same old thing they were before—no.
I let them fall away.
I lived each piece, loved it and hated it, and I exhaled and gave it all to the breeze at midnight.
And in letting go of what I thought I should be, I became who I really am.
Just me. Unedited. Raw. Silly. Weird as hell. Intense as a tornado. Not-so-perfect, but real.
My mask is ripped off, my soul is showing, and it hurts, but I’m finally starting to feel at home in my heart.
And contrary to what New Age bullsh*t will tell you, my path to transformation, to self-love, to joy—it hasn’t been pretty, filled with rainbows and blooming sunflowers and cotton candy clouds.
It’s been heart-wrenching and lonely, sobering, humbling and scary.
It’s been a path of darkness.
A darkness so flagrant, so thick, so far-reaching, that I had no choice to but to gut it out, reach inside and be my own light.
So I did.
Struggles have been my lanterns; pain has been my greatest teacher; disappointments have shown me the untapped strength inside me.
And yes, life broke me—but not really.
Life broke my mask. It broke my shell. My bitterness. My fear. My mistrust. My self-hatred.
Yes, life broke away my shell, and, like an egg, my soul oozed out through the tiniest fractures.
And my tears—my buckets and gallons of tears—they watered the wildflowers of possibility growing in the tenderest places inside me.
I am grateful for it all.
I bow down to each disappointment; I pray to every not-so-pretty lesson; I respect every challenge, heartbreak and mistake.
I am grateful for it all.
Because it revealed
It revealed the truth. It revealed growth. It revealed destiny.
Transformation hurts. Becoming who we really are hurts, and it’s not always sweet or smooth, but it’s real. It’s perfect in its own wild way.
And this whole chaotic ride has showed me that I don’t want to die only knowing the sweet, comfortable, shiny half of life.
I don’t want to only know the pretty, happy parts, like in sugary-sweet romantic comedies—the yummy parts of this existence that dissolve on my tongue like bright pink sprinkles and give me a wicked-good sugar rush.
That’s lovely, yes.
But, there’s more. There’s more to experience. There is more to see. There is more to respect.
There is darkness. There is betrayal. There is jealousy. There is deceit. There is sadness. There is pain. There is loss. There is heartbreak.
Why turn away, just because it’s not so pretty?
Why not fall in love with all of life?
These darker parts can be powerful forces of transformation; they can soften us, lift us up and set us free—if we let them.
There is a gem to be found in every moment.
Are we brave enough to stay in our discomfort—to breathe and uncover those hidden gems—even when it hurts like hell?
Could we remember that heartbreak has value—that our scars are golden, and our tears are filled with rubies?
Because every single moment is worth something beautiful.
Sweet soul, I know your pain. I know how you long for the golden cure-all of happiness. I do too, but happiness fades. It’s an unreliable lover; coming and going like the ocean’s tide, it dissolves, it ebbs and flows, and there are more fulfilling treasures to be had.
You can be free. You can be awake. You can be wise. You can be real.
You can be you.
You can taste every flavor of life’s ever-changing bouquet.
So dig deeper, go deeper, and feel.
Feel the thing inside that aches, that loves. Feel your tears. Feel your anger. Let your sadness come inside.
It might just be the thing that transforms you into something wildly magnificent—
The real you.
So don’t edit out the tough days or terrifying moments.
It’s all part of the masterpiece you’re constantly becoming.
Be willing to experience it all.
Wake up to truth.
And know that life is more than sweet smiles and happy days.
It’s the smiles, in contrast to the tears, that make this existence so goddamn beautiful.
Savor the tears.
Grow from the heartbreak.
Be intrigued by the sh*t storms.
Because every moment, every grin, every pain is ripe, blossoming with something we so desperately need.
Every experience helps us grow.
Life has a wonderful way
Of revealing truth
Of showing us
Who we really are,
Why we’re really here,
What we really need.
But only if we look.
Only if we listen.
Slow down, look around,
And open your heart
To your pain, your beauty, your brilliance.
Fall in love with life—
Smiles, tears, storms
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Toby Israel