Cracking a Shell with a Book, a Brain, and a Broken Heart.
When I was going through my divorce, there were times when I felt so low, it was hard to get up in the mornings. Especially when I had to work 18 hours the day before, only getting about 4 hours of sleep before hearing that dang alarm go off by 6 am.
I had to get up though. As tired as I was. I had jobs to work, and children to feed and get to school. But what I really wanted to do, was pull the covers over my head and sleep all day. Only to wake up when the pain was gone.
But I knew the pain wouldn't just go away. I knew it would stay with me until I faced it. And as hard as it was, I had to face it. I just had to find a way that I could. I had my music, but I needed more strength. My music allowed me to release my pain. But I wasn't really facing it yet. And that is what I needed to do.
One day, while scrolling down my Facebook news feed, I came across a quote that hit me like a brick to the head. It spoke to my heart, and the very depths of my soul. And I felt understood and no longer alone. I wrote down the quote, and carried it with me as a reminder through out my busy day. And it gave me a lot of comfort. I liked how I felt when I said the words over and over in my head.
I found myself getting on Facebook more often, just hoping to find more words that would help me feel better. I would scroll down quickly, only stopping when I saw a quote that I might need. I started following groups that were all about positivity and inspiration. And I started finding what I needed.
They were just words. And yet, they became beautiful things that made all the difference. Tiny little seeds that were planted in the darkness of my thoughts and the loneliness of my soul.
I didn't want to forget the quotes I was finding. So I started writing them down. I had a special book just for that purpose. My positive book. It was a blank journal given to me for my birthday that year by a close friend, and she had written words of encouragement inside for me. Encouraging me to write down my daily affirmations in there. I loved her positive vibes so much. She always made me feel stronger.
I decided it would become my positive book. I told myself that I wasn't allowed to write any negative words in it. No whining, crying or venting. Not in that book anyway. Just uplifting, happy, loving words of strength, understanding and hope.
Not to say I didn't write horrible feelings down too. But those were usually on a single sheet of paper, where I could write down all of my anger and frustration and then scribble it all out with a black marker. Then I could rip it into a thousand pieces, or better yet, burn it. Destroy it. Let it go.
That made me feel better.
But I needed my positive book to help me find peace in my heart again. And I yearned for that.
When I had a few minutes to myself, I would open my positive book, and copy down the uplifting quotes I had found on Facebook or anywhere else I had seen them over the past few days. I would write quote after quote after quote. And it felt good. I always felt so much better as I would write those words down, often saying them out loud as I did so.
Words from people such as Wayne Dyer, Thich Nhat Hanh, Martin Luther King, Prince Ea and so many more...Too many of them didn't name an author, but I would write the words in my book anyway. I needed them.
After a while, just seeing that book on my shelf would put a smile on my face. Because I knew that there were precious treasures written inside. Treasures more valuable than anything money could buy. Treasures that could change a life.
I started having more good days than hard days. It was easier to get up in the morning, even if I was tired. I was feeling more inspired and motivated. In fact, I started to find my old self again. Full of hope, understanding and love. The person I had once been, but had somehow lost. Only this time, as I found myself, I found a better version. A stronger version that had been tested and pushed and cracked and slightly broken. A stronger version that I was loving.
On the hard days that came, and boy did they come, where my strength was challenged, I would take out my book, and open it up and just start reading the words I had written down. Somehow, I always felt better after reading from that book. I always felt more love, especially for myself.
One day, I came across a quote that hit me harder than most.
"For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction." - Cynthia Occelli
I felt like that very seed. I had come undone. I was facing my greatest fears and sorrows through a very challenging time. And yet, I was changing. I was becoming stronger. I was cracking out of my own shell. Breaking the walls down, one beautiful uplifting word at a time. Just like a seed, I was surrounded by darkness, yet I could feel the light of hope shining through the cracks. And I could feel it's warmth, touch my heart again.
As Leonard Cohen wrote in his song Anthem ,
'There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.'
I am so thankful for the cracks that are letting the light in.
I still continue to grow. I have good days, and I have hard days. I even had a little melt-down just last week. But there is a difference now. I know how to get out of that funk more quickly. I am learning to recognize what my triggers are, and what I can do to get through them more smoothly. And on the exceptionally rough days, I know that I just need to breathe, open my positive book and remind myself of my worth, by reading empowering words of love. I continue to water my soul with good thoughts. And I know that the more I do this, the more I will bloom into that beautiful person I know is within me. That is who I want to become.
There are little tiny seeds being planted in each of us every day. Some seeds are bitter, and some are sweet. Make sure to water the sweet ones with your thoughts and time. The bitter ones will only bring ugly weeds that will take away your energy. Take care not to let them grow too big, or they will crowd out your peace and well being. They will play a part in your life, but don't let them take over.
Rather, acknowledge that you have the bitter seeds within you. Allow yourself to recognize why each one is there. What happened in your life, to cause each bitter seed to be planted in your heart? And more importantly, what can you do, to pluck that bitterness from your heart, and get rid of it so that the beautiful sweet seeds will have room to grow?
Get a positive book- a journal that will only be used for positive words, and write down the quotes that inspire you. Use your broken heart rather than let it use you. Like a seed. In order to grow, it must first become completely undone, and everything changes. Let the light shine through the cracks. And don't ever forget that you are precious. Let your light shine. Whether you believe in God, or the Universe, or the Earth, or any other spiritual light or energy....let that warmth that drives you and touches your heart, grow and shine.
Can you imagine what a beautiful world we could create, if we became a garden of loving, forgiving, understanding people, rather than a forest of weeds of hate and bitterness?