Have you ever had your world shatter? Had the foundation of what you thought gave you safety and security totally fall apart? Had something that rocked you to your core and left you feeling vulnerable and defenseless?
You can have big shatterings from things like divorce, betrayal and loss. You can also experience smaller shatterings, and even those can really rock you.
My biggest shattering came in the form of my tiny daughter who was born more than 3 months early and weighed less than 2 pounds.
Margaret Alice was born with a major lung infection and died the next day, almost exactly 12 hours after her birth. Add to that my own serious illness and the fact that I would never be able to safely carry another pregnancy and, well, I shattered.
The biggest thought I remember having as I began to resume my activities was, “How can everyone go on with life as normal when nothing will ever be the same again?”
Of course, life was normal for everyone else. That’s how it works. And it seemed incomprehensible to me at the time.
That was 17 years ago.
These years have included a great deal of clearing and releasing of my fears, self-blame, anger, jealousy and resentments. There were some extremely difficult days in there. Times I can only describe as dark nights of the soul when it felt like my emotions would drown me.
The support of many skilled healers and of loving family and friends along the way has been an incredible blessing. There have been many layers and aspects of this that have come up over the years, and I’ve gotten progressively better at simply being with and accepting each wave.
I would never, ever have said this in the beginning, but I’m grateful now for having been shattered. It’s brought me gifts that I could never have gotten otherwise.
It taught me that:
1) Unconditional love isn’t what I thought it was.
I thought at first that unconditional love meant being able to let Margaret Alice go. But really, I didn’t have a choice about that. I had done everything I could to keep her alive, and she died.
I did have to learn to truly let her go in the sense of not fighting against the fact that she had died. That was much harder than it may sound.
What surprised me was that I learned how to love myself unconditionally. To love myself even though I had lived. To love myself even though I couldn’t save her. To love life, even though it didn’t include her..
2) Safety and security can only come from inside us.
They aren’t based on what’s happening around us. There is no job, no amount of money, no living situation that can guarantee safety. And the more we try to hold onto safety, the more elusive it is.
Not even armoring ourselves emotionally will keep us safe. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The more we try to defend ourselves, the more rigid we become. And the more rigid we are, the more likely we are to be shattered.
The biggest thing about these defenses and this search for safety is that they separate us from the only thing that can keep us safe — the knowledge that we already are and always have been safe.
When we know that we’re always connected to Divine Love (whatever name you call that) and to each other and all of Life, then we know that we are safe because there simply isn’t anything else. There isn’t such a thing as “not safe”.
And when I say, “know”, I don’t mean the kind of knowing that sits in your head. I mean knowing and experiencing it in every cell of your body.
3) Resistance, judgment and fear create distance. Acceptance brings love and connection.
My biggest lesson in all of this has been to accept whatever happens in my life. And it’s a lesson I continue to learn.
I resisted accepting what happened for a long time. I had the feeling that if I really accepted Margaret Alice’s death, I was both betraying her and giving permission to have it happen again. I had thoughts like:
- How do I accept the unacceptable?
- If I accept it, it means it was okay and it wasn’t!
- If I accept it, it means I have to let her go, and then I’ve really lost her.
- If I accept it, it means I have to go on without her, and I can’t do that.
I just kept at it, clearing away whatever came up, sometimes on my own, often with the help of professional healers and energy workers. I was determined – desperate – to find my way through it all.
What I found as those thoughts and fears began to clear was that not accepting what happened kept me connected to the trauma of it all, not to my daughter. It was preventing me from being connected to her, to my other loved ones, to love, peace, and joy. It kept me boxed in, small and imprisoned.
It kept me from living.
As I cleared my thoughts and fears, I felt myself expanding. My capacity for joy expanded. My ability to love expanded.
4) What shattered wasn’t me..
It took me quite awhile to understand this, but what shattered wasn’t me. It was my attachment to being safe. To having things turn out like I thought they should. To getting what I wanted and expected. To having things be “fair”. To having the life, family, house and so on that I’d envisioned. To having things be right as I judged right to be.
5) What shattered were the walls around my heart, the rigidity and defenses I’d clung to, often unknowingly.
There’s nothing wrong with safety, fairness or any of those things. At all. The problem was my attachment to them, my need for them. My fear around them. My letting them come between me and other people. My choosing safe and distant over connected, loving and vulnerable.
And I’d been doing that in so many areas of my life for so much of my life.
What shattering did for me was to show me with great intensity this way I’d been behaving and seeing life – and what it was costing me. I was playing safe and small. I was “looking good” on the outside while my inside withered.
I wasn’t truly, deeply, fully loving and expressing me, which kept me from fully, deeply, truly loving and being connected to anyone else.
What all of this led me to was me. To truly being me. Vulnerably, genuinely, imperfectly, perfectly me. Me with an ever-growing capacity for joy, spaciousness, connection, energy, peace, sparkle, acceptance, love.
And now I love being able to help others get there far more quickly and easily than I did.
To be clear, there is no arriving. I haven’t gotten “there”, over the rainbow where there are no troubles. Things happen in my life like in everyone else’s. I still have small shatterings at times (and sometimes they feel big).
What’s changed for me is that I now have:
- Tools to clear what comes up so that I can continue to expand and grow.
- Confidence to know that I can get through whatever it is – and be better off on the other side.
- A greater sense of peace and safety than I’ve ever known before.
That’s a big gift from such a little baby.