We tend to think of a physical/mental/emotional breakdown as a bad thing. In my world and belief system as a spiritual practitioner and enthusiast, there is really no such thing as good or bad objectively speaking – at least not in the way that we typically think of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative. Of course there is contrast, and there are things that we would choose over others but one of the ways that we work with “bad” or the “dark” side is that we can trust that something will Always come out of it that will serve you. Tony Robbins says “life is always working For you, not against you”.
What if that were true?
What if we could apply this line of thinking to a total and complete breakdown of magnificent proportions? I’ll go first : ) So last Thursday I experienced a little breakdown so profound in its grasp and depth that that’s all I could do that day. My morning started out pretty great – got up early, ate a healthy breakfast, took my son to school, did a little yoga, took the dog on a walk and then started working. I had some things I wanted to get done before my lunch and afternoon appointments.
Then, my lunch needed to cancel which was fine with me because I was getting involved in some work that was going to take me a while to finish. So I kept going… and going…….and going…. Of course, the longer I worked, the more exhausted I became and the more hopeless I felt regarding the situation at hand. I was stuck holding on several calls, two of which dropped and I kept focusing on how much progress I had NOT been making in this area over the past several years. Of course, the more I focused on what wasn’t working, the worse I felt.
Fortunately, the downward spiral drain was finally interrupted by a phone meeting I had set up with my brother (and fortunately was able to honor). After honestly telling him what was going on and how I felt, he tried to cheer me up which worked about 5% but I appreciated his effort. Then it was my turn to offer some advice on something he is working on and by the time I hung up, I felt 10% better.
But then I was alone again! (Insert scary Halloween music here) I spend lots of time working alone. I like it this way. I choose it this way. But actually my ideal way of working is to be working solo but Around others – that way I can’t fall apart like a total lunatic on a regular basis and I also can’t use the bathroom/get a snack/pace/clean more than is helpful (these are my favorite distraction mechanisms).
Luckily my husband and son get home and thankfully I am able to tell them that I’m having a really bad day (I had also received notice earlier that day that a client I was doing some contract work for, no longer required my assistance due to a miscommunication/misunderstanding). By the way, the other way this moment in the afternoon could have gone would have been for me to bottle everything up and try and pretend like everything was fine but then end up blowing up at these special people I care so much about.
My husband was sweet and understanding, my son was in a great mood and was so happy to offer me chocolate ice cream and for me to actually accept lol. I was in no way going to let go of the momentum that I was picking up in my one track down the pooper, so I whined and complained dramatically as I ate my high calorie ice cream.
I was in such a state that I decided I needed to take a bath in the middle of the afternoon (a great idea by the way!). I lit candles and started texting one of my best friends who is also a coach in LA. I felt too introverted to actually talk to her so texts would have to do. She responded by sending me a little voice recording of her saying “Ohhh poor Suzy!! Everything Sucks! Its all So Terrible!! Why don’t you throw yourself a pity party!”
Some people might think this is an insensitive response. But I know her well enough and she me, that it was Just What I Needed. I Burst out laughing which gave me a brief break and distraction from my well affected state! Sure enough though, a few moments later I decided to take her advice and continued to Milk my mental situation for all it was worth!! I entertained this young angsty part of me (I think she’s about 17 years old ; ) ) and let her tell me Everything that was wrong with me and the world! Boy, did she have a lot to say!
When she was done, I got dressed (as fancy as I could muster!) and went out to meet a friend and tell her all about how I felt like such a loser and here were all the reasons why and I had Very Good evidence! After a good laugh/cry with her and some good vocal release alone in my car (ie. screaming my guts out!), I felt much better.
I also felt something else…
Its like, because I had connected with this very raw emotional part of me, I now had access to this softer more creative side.
Furthermore, I was able to connect with a feeling of compassion and empathy. You never know what “state” someone is in. What they are “bringing to the table” or what they are going through when you see them at the gym, the grocery store or gas station..
This empathy is Hugely important in my coaching practice and is what makes my input so effective ! I could give someone all the best “advice” and briliant “ah ha” moments, but if I don’t serve it up with a health ass does of compassion, they’ll never really receive it.
This breakdown then, was also part of my R&D. As artists and coaches we often say “use everything”. That means EvEryThing!! And Everything is useful! What if everything is serving you and those you touch in some way? How could you use ALL of your experiences?
Plus, now I’m using what myself and others would call a “scary” and “awful” day to share with you! And maybe you’ll relate or have some skilz to reframe your next terrible experience.
One last benefit (besides content for my blog ; ) ) that I got out of this experience is the power of being vulnerable – with myself and others. No one is perfect. And when you have a breakdown day, this becomes oh-so-clear. Not only are we not perfect now, but we never will be and isn’t that the point? To be ok with the Wholeness that we Actually Are? Vs. striving for this imaginary state of perfection that we will likely never achieve?
What if I could be ok sharing with you from this experience of imperfection vs waiting til “I’m perfect” to offer something of value?
Are you waiting for your perfect to be of service or to start something new?
Wherever you’ve decided that perfection is a necessary requirement in your life, your work, your family, your business – are you willing to let some of that go?
Since this epic day – a few weeks ago now, I have found myself re-focused on living the good life : ) Re-prioritizing what I want my life to look like and letting everything else go as much as possible. Bull shit has a way of making what’s NOT working come to the surface – so we can address it and move the fuck on.
Here’s to Silver Linings : )
Much love and I hope you find some rocking benefits that you can use from your next breakdown/awful experience/obstacle or challenge!
Let’s appreciate and let go of anything that keeps you from living your fullest mission because that is what the world so desperately needs right now !