Have you ever found that life has had to break you sometimes to teach you what you need to learn?
Lately I’ve been thinking that the universe had to break me down to get my attention. I used to be so single-minded and driven. I knew exactly what I wanted. I had this whole life plan, and I relentlessly pursued it. I didn’t allow myself a lot of distractions, and I was skilled in the art of denying what didn’t fit into that life plan.
So the universe intervened. It took away the career I had worked so hard to attain, any sense of financial security, and the marriage I thought was fine but that was actually riddled with holes. Everything I thought that I wanted.
Life—the universe—took it all and then said:
This is the life you are supposed to have. Here are the two children you wanted, and you are more than capable of raising them alone. You’ll be good at it. Here’s a good job with good people. Here’s the career you always secretly thought was out of reach. Here’s the town you belong in. And see how clever you are with money now? This is your life. Look at all of the magic, adventure, love and constant beautiful growth! Here it is.
Right now, I have the life that I didn’t know that I was capable of living—and I love it. But looking back, I see that it only came out of the darkness of the years when I lost everything I thought I wanted. I’ve found some gratitude for being broken, because I was only able to turn toward the life I needed, since the universe so clearly would not let me stick to the path that was not for me.
Perhaps other people learn more easily than that. Perhaps they pay attention to the signs and follow their intuition, and are then able to create the kinds of lives worth living; they are open to whatever comes.
Then there are those of us who learn the hard way. We think we know what we want, and we’re dogged in our pursuit of that idea. It could be a career or an education or a particular love. It may be a religion or politics or a set of ideals. Regardless of what it is we’re holding on to, we’re the ones who hold on to what we think we want long after we needed to let go.
We have to be pushed and prodded and sometimes broken to learn the lessons that are clearly there for us. We have to come to a point where we are shaken out of our complacency or our dogged refusal to deviate from the path we set out on. When we ignore our intuition again and again, the universe will look for ways to wake us up.
Some of us, of course, never learn. We keep going down the same old paths, expecting our usual actions to produce different results. When we do that, we’re never truly happy because we’re stuck in the frustration of a life we don’t want to be living.
But when we open ourselves up and allow the universe to shape us, when we open our eyes to the lessons around us, we begin to truly, deeply live. We wake in gratitude for our lives, and we cherish all the small moments that create them. We have beautifully sensitive souls, in tune with the vibrations of the earth around us, and we truly connect with the people in our lives. We’re no longer satisfied with marking time, and instead begin living out our dreams. We’re no longer content with an average love and instead seek an epic love—one that is true and deeply fulfilling to our souls.
Slowly, we become the people we are meant to be, always striving to be our best selves. We are led by our intuition and inspired by our connections. We live, and we do so in joy.
And sometimes it takes being broken to be able to get there.
I have found myself so many times in that broken place. It can be soul-shattering and dark. It often feels isolating and without hope. But it’s when we are broken and life has worn us down that we must hold on to hope the most, because when we open ourselves up to learning from our experiences, and we honor our intuition, we begin to receive all of the blessings that are meant for us. We begin to heal at those broken points, often in new ways. We learn to let go of what’s not for us, and we begin to accept that those things were never ours to begin with.
We begin to learn to move through the struggle by feeling it, listening to it and learning from it. We begin to open ourselves up to a new way of living our lives. I’ve found that we already have all the answers we need, but we haven’t been paying attention. Life has our attention in these moments, because we’re in pain. Just as our bodies get sick, and we have to care for them, our souls can become unwell too, and we need to make them healthy again—to nourish them, to give them what they need. We cannot heal when we are busy resisting.
This struggle, this broken place, is the universe preparing us for the life we need to live. This is how blessings manifest. This is how everything we ever needed comes to us. So we must learn to be broken if that’s what it takes to get our attention. To listen. To hold fast to the hope. We practice our patience, even when it is in short supply, and we know in our hearts that our joy is coming.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Flickr/Sara Biljana Gaon
Editors: Yoli Ramazzina; Catherine Monkman