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Old 02-09-2019, 07:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Wisdom of Shattering


This article showed up in my email today. It's written by a woman looking back on her time as a competitive gymnast and the insights she gained into "being a quitter." I want to post it here in case anyone else might find help in it.

https://onbeing.org/blog/the-wisdom-of-shattering/

Here's a quote, to give you an idea of the content:

But I wonder if, at some point, letting ourselves shatter could be our bravest act. Can a moment of giving up be that sacred turning point if we infuse it with faith? When we acknowledge that we have feelings, that we have limits, that we don’t have to be superhuman, that sometimes we experience things that do, indeed, for the time being, gut our capacity to go on — can these moments of recognizing our pain and limits be our most courageous ones?

In other words, what happens when we are simply too fractured? When we were never meant to be healthy in the current circumstances, anyway? When is giving up our current path opening ourselves to finding a path to health?


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Old 02-09-2019, 09:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Love that quote, will read the article, thanks HP
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Old 02-09-2019, 03:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing, honeypig! I relate.
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So I did read it and it's well worth reading, interesting perspective from her. Something to think about.

I notice there is that word again - "broken".

"to allow myself to be as I was: broken".

That's a thing for me, I hate to see people described as broken. I don't see people that way. You are just as you are, that's not broken, that is just who and what you are, doesn't mean you can strive to do better or more - or less.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I hear you, trailmix. I've had similar thoughts at times.

Yet I've been shattered. Now I'm whole. I'm okay with it being illogical.

A thick clear glass dish broke one day and I related to it deeply as having been shattered. It was in many pieces. I had a great acknowledgment of what I've been through. It wasn't as much as thinking it as a soul-deep realization.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for this honeypig. It is definitely something I needed a reminder about today.

LifeRecovery once shared this on one of my threads & afterward I added "Shattered But Still Whole" to my wall so that I can continually remind myself that My Shattering was just a part of my journey, not my destination:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeRecovery View Post
Firesprite-

I almost posted this with another one of your questions some time ago, and I will apologize for the length up front.

This is part of a chapter from Saki Santorelli's book called Heal Thy Self, Lessons on Mindfullness in Medicine. For me the story though helps me to define self-love but it is hard to not include the other purposed of Mindfullness and MBSR in the health care practioner/patient relationship.

Seven A.M. Driving to work on the Mass Pike. Heading east. I turn on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Today the journalist is in Chicago. He weaves this tale: A large, prestigious museum in Chicago raise a lot of public and private money to host an art exhibit. The chose as the theme for the exhibit the works of "disabled" artists, sent out a hundred invitations to exhibit and received no takers.

Perplexed, anxious and probably scared, the museum curator and the board of directors, with a lot of money and reputation on the line, decide to get to the bottom of this. The answer seems obvious. they discover that none of these highly accomplished artists, many of whom have shown their work internationally, wants to exhibit under the rubric "disabled." Months later, after much persuasion and negotiation, a well-known artist who also has a "disability " consented to exhibit his work. Following this opening, other artists accepted and the exhibit is filled.

The radio story picks up with the commentator walking through the gallery on opening day, describing to the listeners what he sees while having conversations with some of the artists. (I removed a paragraph for brevity)

Next we hear about a sculptor. A large, powerfully built man who fabricates and welds metal, building huge and sometimes towerlike structures. We find out that this sculptor lost his leg some years ago, is unable to wear a prostesis, and continues to sculpt with one leg. He is asked if his work now is different from when he had two legs. The man responds, clearly, deliberately. "This is what I do now: This is normal." We come to find out that the sculptor has been chosen to create the centerpiece of the exhibit. He has sculpted a sphere out of stone, perhaps marble or granite. We are told that it was perfect, with an uninterrupted smoothly polished surfaced. After the sphere was completed, the artist smashed it, then put it back together with bolts, metal fasteners, and bonding agents. Now---full of fractures---it is sitting in the middle of the gallery, in the middle of America, labeled SHATTERED BUT STILL WHOLE.

Hearing this, as I'm traveling at fifty-five miles and hour, shatters me. My chest is split wide open. I slow down, tears pouring out of my eyes--out of all of my fractures---cascading onto my shirt, tie and lap. Turned inside out by the tears for me, by tears for all of us. The river behind these teardrops feels immense and impersonal. These tears are not the old familiar ones that flow from tributaries of self-pity or anxiety driven thirst for that which I don't have and personally want. This flow is far more universal. It is a grief-bearing river. The shudder, the melting tell me in an instant that this membrane of personal history, erupting into the truth of our collective condition.

This is every person's story. (paragraph removed)

SHATTERED BUT STILL WHOLE

With more ferocity, mercy and compassion than ten thousand words could have conveyed, this recognition penetrates. Like mindfullness practice, the story helps everyone in the room remember that having a serious illness and being treated in the mainstream, academic medical center need not, like amnesia, numb us, nor further intoxicate us into a deep, sleepy forgetfullness of our inherent wholeness.

But too often, driven largely by time, training and uncertainty, health professional lose sight of or turn away from the deeper mission of engaging in the intimacy of suffering--our own, and that of those who seek our care. By necessity we have developed a vast reservoir of knowledge intended to relieve, and in some instance cure. But, like a double-edged sword, this knowledge can easily bind us to the shattered aspects of these human beings before us while simultaneously blinding us to their---and our-- deeper, intrinsic wholeness. Most often this reactive conditioning arises out of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the uncomfortable. Fear of helplessness. Fear of our own broken places. Yet, if we do not carefully attend to this within ourselves, we treat ourselves and the ones seeking our care unjustly. Refusing, mostly unconsciously to acknowledge and enter our own brokenness, we remain numb, distant, and most often, cynical.

The rest of the chapter is more on the patient and caregiver relationship but like the Japanese art of adding beauty to a broken object this chapter helped me to sink into self-love is sitting, tending, respecting and eventually loving all the fractured parts, that together make me whole.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow, FS, I don't know how I missed that the first time around! Thanks for re-posting.

And of course that takes me back to this thread: https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...-thoughts.html ("Japanese Bowl"--song and thoughts)

But I think the thing that is different for me now is that I'm learning to allow some time to BE broken before hastening to fill in the cracks. It's like the concept of Awareness, Acceptance and Action in Alanon. I have relatively little trouble w/the Awareness and Action parts, but taking time for Acceptance is my downfall. How can the proper action even be known, let alone taken, if I jump right from Awareness to Action?

This whole thing is such a big, big ball to unwind b/c I'm constantly so fearful of "letting myself off the hook" and not demanding enough of myself. Historically, this has never been the problem, but yet I worry that I'm not trying hard enough...
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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honeypig…...I am going to spitball. a little bit....when you say that you are chronically worried that you are "not trying hard enough".....it makes me think that this could be (mostly unconscious) self-talk that comes from being raised by care-givers who expected too much from the child.....to unaware of the child's limitations and real needs. Pushing too hard and demanding too much can send a message to the child ...that the child may internalize.....The child may become a "slave" to an overly demanding superego...…

what do you think....? Does that ring any bells....?
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That would be a yes, dandy...
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks Honeypig. The word that comes to mind is surrender.

The big book talks about honesty, open mindedness, and willingness. All three elements are required to recover. When it comes to something as pervasive as active addiction, honesty and open mindedness about our situation and its consequences are shattering. Only when we fully "get" the reality of our circumstances (honesty & open mindedness) are we able to fully commit to the course of action necessary to change the course of our lives (willingness).

We will never resolve an issue that we cannot acknowledge exists. "Normal" people like to call that a moment of clarity. Clarity to an alcoholic or addict isn't an uplifting experience... it's devastating.
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Eddiebuckle, thanks for your powerful and insightful reply. You said a lot there, and I'm grateful for that.

This in particular seems important to me:
Quote:
We will never resolve an issue that we cannot acknowledge exists. "Normal" people like to call that a moment of clarity. Clarity to an alcoholic or addict isn't an uplifting experience... it's devastating.
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