This started out as a very different post.
In my typical how-to fashion I was going to explain how easily we can transform our writing (and ourselves) by journeying from broken to breakthrough. But half-way through I trashed it.
I just couldn’t do it. Because I refuse to sit here and tow the self-help party line, saying that healing our traumas and our fractured pieces is easy. Because it just isn’t.
At least it hasn’t been for me.
The breaking point is different for everyone but we’ve all been there. And it’s worth talking about here because we copywriters and companies must speak not just to the hopes and dreams of our audience — but to the hidden, hurting or shattered parts of them too.
There’s also the unspoken rule that to be broken we must be devastated, unable to function and in need of serious assistance. But most people are like functioning alcoholics: on the surface everything looks fine. Yet underneath they are steadily falling apart.
So today I’m going to rant about the power of breaking: what it means for you in your life, and what it means for a writer who must speak delicately to this reality for her audience.
Because I’ll tell you right now: No one gets out of life without breaking. Not you and not any single consumer you speak or write to.
We’re not supposed to.
It is the path by which we break through.
And yes I know that facing your own abyss is not a tantalizing idea. I fought looking at mine for three years and I paid dearly for it physically and emotionally. I even almost robbed myself of the ability to have children.
We would rather believe we can have it all without ever again feeling the pains we’ve suffered, or acknowledging the bits and pieces we let die along the way. And hey I totally get it. As a marketer and writer I have had to live every day by the rule that “they won’t hear it, use it, benefit from it if you make it sound painful, hard or difficult.”
But you know what? I’m FED UP with that line of thinking. And beginning today, I’m calling bull shit.
I suffered more than three years under the false belief that I had to be okay because I was reading all the books, going through all the motions, and by golly I must be successful and happy! No one in my outside life would have ever guessed anything was wrong. And at the time, I didn’t think anything was wrong either.
But then I spoke at a major conference before more than 1000 people as the first woman ever to keynote there… and guess what? I was plunged reeling into bouts of unexplainable and unending sobs. Everyone wanted a piece of me for good or for ill and I couldn’t deal. All my wounds were raw and festering and when anyone got too close, they bled.
I was even bawling five minutes before I had to run down for mic-up, and to get on stage.
So what the hell do you do when your Shit with a capital S blindsides you? That’s what I wanted to know.
How do you begin to heal when you’re still telling yourself you have no right to grieve or to be angry? What do you tell the whispers in the night when they ask you: “Why am I not over this yet?” “How can this still be coming up for me?” “Why am I still shut down?” “What’s wrong with me?”
Delicious… epic… life-defining and glorious… YES. But easy? Not always.
That doesn’t mean that along the way you won’t find a magical effortlessness, because you will. Yet even so, effortless flow and joy do NOT mean you’ll never hit the rapids. They don’t mean we never cry. Even in bliss I am still facing, healing and nurturing my truest self in great moments of raw reality.
My savior in all this – my greatest freedom – has been surrender.
For me to live my message… to pursue my passion and teach the true power of words… I have had to surrender to the deep place words come from: my humanity. And that means surrendering to and accepting all of it — my darkness, my light, my power, strength and fear.
I have surrendered to working through the pain, turning a kinder eye and gentler hand to myself and others…
I have surrendered the past, and to healing the myriad wounds that come with living life and making mistakes.
I said once in a recent post that it is by the very things that break us that we find the glue to put ourselves back together again. I stand by that. And I want to say to you:
Don’t be afraid to admit the ways you may be broken. Don’t fear the parts of you that may have starved or departed. And be open to the ways you can surrender… to surrender even to the very things you shun or run from. You never lose what is truly yours. You cannot destroy your essence. Nothing can break you without your permission… and when it does… you for the first time flower into what is possible and what is more you.
It’s okay if you don’t know where to start. It’s funny how by just choosing to begin, somewhere a door opens to you and you’ll glimpse the way.
But enough of the broken part…
Lucky (or unlucky) for us, our breakthroughs come in all shapes and sizes. The 2X4 I needed to wake me up may not be the brick-to-the-head you need to snap awake.
Yet in all cases, the various resources, systems and processes for breaking through tend to fit an overall pattern I can only describe as Lifestyle Design (thank you Tim Ferriss) bedding with some hard-core Come To Jesus chats: between the YOU you know… and the you you didn’t want to know.
In a nutshell, we move from broken to breakthrough like this:
And then get particular. Get intentional. You are the only reason your life is or isn’t the way you want it. And you can design it exactly as you prefer by following the system of your choice. The good ones only ever don’t work because at some point we stop working them.
Take just one step. Anything. Move ahead. Move toward. And know that the journey you’re taking doesn’t have to be any particular way. You can’t mess this up.
This has and will continue to be a delicious journey. Thank you for sharing it with me in this moment.
With love and humble appreciation (and a touch of mirth!),
I think I adore you so much because you include your personal self in your work. It wouldn’t be possible for me to remain “professional” sometimes and be myself others when one of my niches requires some real ‘self-outing’ and, well, it’s just not me. Of course I can pull it off and have, for years, but now I work from my computer and depend on social media and websites where real life stuff is an actual benefit…Though if the niche is marketing I really haven’t seen quite this level of honesty. And back to my original point- that’s why I love and stalk you!
awww Kate that means a lot. I decided a long time ago that I couldn’t be visible and NOT share who I am and what matters to me. Like you I gave it a shot and found that it buried me. I couldn’t connect with anyone.
Glad you dig it. I’m about to take it to a WHOLE new level next week. =)
Love you girly. I always think you’re awesome no matter what.
Jason I love you too. Can’t wait to see you again and miss being in SD!
like a fog-horn in fog, in intensity, strength and power.
but with a sound of a symphony… spiralling to crescendo.
and every note, trigerred a personal memory – living or forgotten.
in the end, with the crescendo, all that ‘reminded’ muck and chaos, suddenly made sense. it generated the single ‘me’ that alluded me in garb of confusing ‘parts of me’.
that was the power of your post, jaime.
enjoyed the literary ride as much – if not more – as the content.
Thank you for having the courage to be raw and real. It seems that as much as we all want to belong (and be/look like everyone else) the only way the true journey can go is through the center — where it’s often very messy.
Being human isn’t neat or pretty — and it’s surely not always free of pain or struggle. The thing we fear to reveal is often the ONE thing that helps others connect with us as deeply as we hope they will. It’s our truth.
I have so often wondered how in the world do I let people know how often and in how many places I’ve been broken. You are offering a very nice model for me.
The thing is, for me anyway, it only hurts as long as I try to hide it or resist it. Once I allow. . . Life starts flowing again. Change is the constant. I can’t hold on to either the pain — or the pleasure. Over time it’s just easier to accept that change happens, and to find the joy any ways I can during every moment.
One thing that has helped me endure some fairly awful things has been the thought that somehow it might help someone else — If I could manage to get through it, and live to “tell the tale” — somehow someone else might benefit.
Funny thing, though — that only happens if I DO tell!! Sheesh, you’d think that would be so easy. It’s not. Ever.
Namaste, Jaime, for your courage and clarity.
Babe, that is a truly uber-epic story and insight to the core Jaime. I loved every moment of it and can related (probably why I loved it so much).
You have such an amazing and strong heart and I’m loving watching the growth and transformation you have gone through since we met just 1 year ago on the roof top of the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. Wow how life does serve us so funny hands.
Peace love and bubbles,
Thank you once for yuor fast reply about my ‘complaint’ that the link did not work.
And then thank you a million for your transparent post. I see and feel your deep fears of rejection, ridicule, reliving pains that you faced to stand for who you are being in your own truth. Yes there are many ways to get to that point where the only way on and out is by breaking down and through what we shun. By embracing the all of who we are. This message comes through many venues now and you are at the edge of this ‘new’ way of thinking. A Pioneer of Honesty, Truth and Transparency.
My humblest appreciation of your courage.
from Namibia – somewhere in Africa
PS – Yes the women who Run with the Wolves is indeed groundbreaking, too.
Peter thank you. You have a gift and I can’t wait to see your own beautiful words launch us into these new dimensions of healing and living.
This is a marvellous post. I am so pleased to know you. What you are describing here as a process is my life’s work to communicate. Thank you so much for encapsulating it so beautifully.
Wow Linda what a beautiful journey you’ve been on! Your words make my heart sing – you would absolutely love “Broken Open” by Elizabeth Lesser of Omega Institute… she talks much of what I wrote in this post and you’ve written here in your comment.
As we become less fearful of the risks it takes to grow we will find transformation so much easier and so much more fulfilling.
I am honored to have you among us here Linda. Thank you!
Jaime – that was awesome. You are awesome.
I actually “felt” the real you coming through the words.
And I did resonate very much with your journey – perhaps we have touched on one similar part as I too have read Women Who Run with the Wolves and found it’s stories to be all about the woman within – highly recommended for finding and nurturing the goddess or the hag that we all battle …. Learning to Love, accept, forgive and surrender is key.
And I too have found that total surrender is the path to freedom and happiness. And damn hard to do when you’re trained in the opposite.
Your words have such a harmonic resonance that rings the truth. When you lay your cards on the table, have blind faith in yourself and others and surrender to all that is – you can’t help but recognize your fears for what they were – bricks in a wall that doesn’t really exist anywhere but within yourself.
“Don’t be afraid to admit the ways you may be broken. Don’t fear the parts of you that may have starved or departed. And be open to the ways you can surrender… to surrender even to the very things you shun or run from.”
I did just that with my life and so far, the journey is great – lots of tears and learning experiences and I find that now I am beginning to see the path to take – breaking through – and it involves the very thing I use to shun or run from the most in this life.
And I now feel I am making a difference – to the world as a whole – just by taking that “one step at a time” little ‘ole me – the woman who use to feel she had nothing to offer, now confidently offers her time, love and money to one organization that travels to third world countries helping orphans. I have two trips planned for 2011.
And I can also appreciate your “funnel” (thank you for your “Uber-Epic Freelancers Marketing Handbook”)
because now I also see a way to promote me and make the type of money I need to make my new life reality. A new seed is planted.
White Light Blessings Grand Lady. And congratulations on finding your truth and the beautiful woman within.
Thank you for sharing your endearing heart once again that will help others make the transition from one transformation to another. Growing pains are a natural occurrence and no two lives are identical and though we can share our experiences we need to remember how vulnerable others may be as they are going through some form of growing too that may require trial and error. There is no greater gift than love and friendship builds a relationship to go there. Even the coldest heart will ignite a fire when the warm rays of light shine through from the love and care of someone else. Yes we are all on a separate journey connected by the kind warm words of experience, advise, leadership, love, concern and direction of others along a path that may seem lonely, cold and isolated. Remembering the most loving our parents FatherMotherGodGoddessMotherFatherGoddessGod truely help lighten the load of a burden weighing heavily. Patience, sharing our experiences, having a listening ear help. Know that you are forever being heard and guided by the Divine helps when you continue to seek, ask, knock, listen and share. Kind regards Ariel GB Kennedy
crisis, crisis, crisis…breakdown….BREAKTHROUGH!!
Part of my mission in this life is to change the major catalyst for learning from pain to JOY.
It is about time.
Lots of love everyone.
Jaime, you are amazing!!!
Jaime, You Rock! I haven’t had the chance to meet or hang out at a marketing event yet, but I can already tell… you are good peeps.
Thanks for sharing this. … and thanks for opening up a bit.
You know I love you, Jaime ~ and I am grateful that you are choosing the difficult path of revealing the difficult.
The only reason a “party line” exists is because there were more people who lacked courage than who embodied it.
That is changing with people like you at the forefront, leading, not to be leaders, but rather, to create leaders… if not of others, at least of themselves.
I’d also like to add that if anybody who reads this really resonates with what you’ve written, that they check out the Diamond Approach (http://www.ridhwan.org) and see if they can attend a local introductory workshop.
In fact, I think you would absolutely LOVE that method of work and inquiry Jaime. It’s enabled me to change my life in miraculous ways, and far faster and easier than I could have ever imagined.
Of course, I say “easy” not in the sense of “it doesn’t require work” but that the tools available are like using an electric jackhammer to connect straight with our essence when all our lives we were trying to use a hand chisel and believed there was no other way.
Jackhammers still hurt, but by golly sure are they efficient!
Yeah I saved that website you mentioned and will be taking a look at what they offer. Sounds like a great opportunity for new growth and new ways. I’m always game for that!
Chris you are one of my guiding lights in all this and you know you have my deepest respect and admiration. Glad to have you on this journey with all of us.
thanks for that, chris.
I’m stunned by your bravery and eloquence. There is no force greater than a pure heart such as yours. There is no growth without pain, but what we forget is that suffering is not required when you have acceptance (surrender). This post is the Zen of Jaime. You blow me away every time.
Hey Jason! Funny you say it’s the Zen of Jaime. After I posted it and went to bed last night, I laid there feeling so Zen. Just right with the world and full of love.
My very next thought was “uh oh, how long is this gonna last?”
Ahh it’s still a journey ain’t it! But I’m enjoying ever stick and stone of it.
Thanks for sharing!
You’re right–it isn’t easy healing traumas of the past. One thing that got me through some of the toughest steps was to make a list of all my strengths and past successes. Every time I felt like I couldn’t do whatever it was I had to do, I would take out that list and remind myself that I could do things, had done things and would make it through this as well. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
April that is a fantastic idea! Thank you. That will be helpful to many many people – thank you for sharing that.
Jaime, congratulations on the progress toward your goals and your courage in sharing that experience with us.
I think we all share the experience of being broken. Unfortunately, each of us is broken in totally unique ways. We share a common journey, but we each take that journey through different territory. Yet, by sharing our unique experiences on that journey, we help others with theirs.
I hope I’m not coming across as spouting platitudes. Sometimes it’s tempting to hide my own brokenness behind a facade of having all the answers, wrapped in flowery words. But I sincerely thank you for sharing a bit of your own journey for our benefit.
Jeff your words are deeply felt and appreciated. Thank you for your sincerity and compassion.
Jamie, what a blessing you are to so many. This post will touch hearts and open doors for many.
Wow… this was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL post, Jaime. Absolutely incredible. You’re such a gifted writer… and I love you so, so much.
I think this is going to help a LOT of people. It certainly gave me some phenomenal reminders.
Yeah I can’t wait until you and I can sit down and share again like we used to. I miss your heart and sharing mine with you. But I know we’ll be connecting again soon!!
Insightful, moving, raw, beautifully written…
…and very refreshing.
Thank you Pete!
Very well done Jaime. Thanks. All of us need to know that we can feel safe in our nakedness, embrace our shadows and engage who we really are. It’s only by going to the edge that we BECOME the journey rather than being a part of it.
So well said David. You’ve got a way with the poetry of truth.