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When life turns upside down

For when you step into the unknown

When a significant event turns life upside down, there will be a transformation. We step into the unknown - without the knowing of who or what will emerge.

One of the ways life does this is through loss. Loss creates a hole inside that we have to face. Grief has big things to show us. It is a powerful cracking open, to what is, not just what was.

When we are in the heart-breaking of letting go, we feel everything. Right here is the pain, and the way through. Don’t squirm from it. When we breathe here there is immeasurable beauty.

The heart literally feels like it is broken open. There is a signal in the brain signalling the same pain as when we break a bone. Our physical body knows little difference.

Actually the heart is pulsing with an aliveness and a gratitude, of being so touched, so deeply affected by life, that it floods the whole system with a richness that is overwhelming. Sometimes we don’t know whether to scream, cry, or curl up. This is our body folding in in response to the signal of pain.

The greatest pain is actually caused by holding fiercely onto what was.

In the place of being broken open, when we look into the hole from our loss, we see the world as it really is, with an illusion of permanence. We experience the things we have loved that have come and gone with a tenderness and explosive sense of gratitude for the very moment it existed. Grief opens us to our love, with the whole sensory system.

When we are broken open, we find ourselves pleading with life… We might try to take it back, we ask “Why?” we doubt what is, we fight with what is, we question all of it. Suddenly we aren’t sure of anything. We try to run backwards without tripping over.

Again we are closer to the truth. We don’t know what will emerge. We are broken open to the heat of transformation. And all we know is that we will keep evolving, by our very nature.

This is where the paradox of fragility (life continuously in flow, never stationary) and strength exists. When we are broken open, and we remember to breathe, we touch a quality in us that will sustain us through anything.

The broken heart is the whole-heart.

Mourn your treasures and feel wholeheartedly what it has awakened in you. Be in your grief, which lives and thrives in this moment. Because this too will move. Be touched and vulnerable by the transitory world that we are.

Let this be a window into your great appreciation, tender eyes, honest colours, and yes, a knowing.

We know things about ourselves here. We know what we really love, value and need. We see the things we let in - deeply, to touch, change and shape who we are.

We also see the things we blocked – the regret of what we didn’t allow in, from fear of getting hurt. This is another way grief brings us closer to the truth. We see that we cannot avoid pain, and what hurts more is the regret of not allowing it in, of not receiving what life was offering us. In transformation, we can welcome regret as a wise-old guide.

Let’s not judge regret, let’s look to them directly with gratitude for what they shine a light on. In order to transform. To show us what we know we need to say Yes to from now on.

For when we embrace our broken-heartedness, we are offered a depth, a propensity to bring to everything. Broken hearts do not shut us down. Only avoiding feelings does so. When we accept what is, and stop fighting, when we welcome the gift, we truly crack open to life; to our big-heartedness, to feeling, to a fierce beauty and love.

And it’s true, we will not come out the other side the same

~ Haaweatea Holly Bryson

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