“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write the ending.” ~ Brené Brown
I once ran support groups for preteen girls, talking about self-esteem and being strong in the world.
One of the girls shared about having experienced a terrible and all-too-familiar story of a trauma she had endured from a family member. Her entire family had been in upheaval and therapy due to it, and she amazed us all by saying, “It’s part of me now. Not that I’m glad it happened, but I accept that it did, and because of it, I’ve grown so much. It will always be part of me.”
I was amazed at this profound truth coming out of a 12-year-old. I have counseled adults who have a hard time with this concept. Assimilating and integrating our traumatic experiences into who we are moving forward can be a difficult concept for many. They want to get better and put it all behind them. Perhaps, there’s another way.
I recently learned about a Hindu goddess called Akhilandeshwari Ma—translated from Sanskrit her name is commonly referred to as “she who is never not broken.”
Akhila means whole, but Akhilanda means never not broken. Eshwari refers to a supreme ruler. It is understood among her believers that the brokenness is exactly what makes Akhilandeshwari strong. She is depicted as riding a crocodile across a lake, a symbol of not only conquering fear but using it to get to the next stage.
As soon as I read about this goddess, it resonated with me: Yes, that 12-year-old is never not broken. Yes, I am never not broken.
A part of me will always feel broken as trauma’s wounds are deep, cutting to the core of our being. However, these wounds are exactly what makes me a warrior, a writer, a healer, and a messenger. The brokenness gives me my power. The wounds sent me deeper to God.
“God uses our wounds in beautiful ways, to heal our souls of deeper maladies.” ~ Anonymous
There is a certain grace to this. To be never not broken means you’re living in a constant state of grace, a constant state of healing. It’s a profound shift from feeling at the mercy of our traumatic experience to feeling like it is a piece of my existence that I choose to see as the strength I can rely on every day. After all, the wound truly is the place where the light gets in.
I invite you to take a moment to try to shift your thoughts about this trauma or this wound you carry.
First, acknowledge that it will always be with you, it is always part of you. You may not think of it often, or you may still be newly healing, and it is ever-present. I invite you to accept it as part of you rather than wishing it away. Accept that it is as much a part of you as your heart or lungs—it just is.
Now, take a deep breath as you allow this wound to be part of you. Feel a softening around the trauma and your thoughts about it. Honor the healing you’ve already done and feel the tremendous power around that. The power and wisdom you’re gaining could not have come about any other way—only through the healing of the wound.
Take another deep breath, and as you exhale, feel the union of these thoughts:
I am never not broken.
This means I am always healing.
This means I am building strength,
and faith, and power,
beyond who I was before.
This simple exercise can help us acknowledge our wound, and start to see the gifts in it. Just as mending an object often makes it stronger than before, so mending our wounds makes us stronger than before.
Part of healing trauma and PTSD is, of course, effective therapy. If your trauma is fresh (or if it is old and you never really looked at it), you need therapy to truly deal with it. I can’t stress this enough.
My purpose is simply to give you spiritual tools with different ways of looking at your trauma, to invite your soul into your healing process.
Years ago, I heard Marianne Williamson tell a story about a woman who had come to her for guidance. The woman felt that because of what she’d been through, she didn’t have the same light in her eyes. Marianne assured her that it was true; she would never have the same light in her eyes, but she would have the light of a deeper woman.
Such a profound and simple truth: we are never not broken, but we piece ourselves back together into a new tapestry.
Let’s march forward as “we who are never not broken” knowing that is what empowers us, for the best healers are those who have been healed. We are an army of wounded warriors.
“Don’t moan that you’re broken, be happy that you can break so that you can continuously remake yourself.” ~ Shivali Bhammer