She spoke of being raped, repeatedly, since she was a small child, by her own family members, right into her teenage years.
She spoke of how she suffered from a low self-esteem and how she unconsciously attracted bullies because of her low self-esteem in school and college. She spoke of how the bullying went on even after she started working. Of how she repeatedly tried to commit suicide, but lived through, each time. ‘Wait’, I thought, ‘there’s something amiss here. How can she talk like that? Just how?’ For she was calm, smiling, and her face all aglow. In no way was her happy, gentle, yet firm demeanour matching the story of the ‘victimised’ person she was talking about – herself. And then, I realized I wasn’t the only one to think in those lines, because another member of the audience cried out, “You are shocking me! How can you speak openly and so calmly about it all?”
Her response sank deep into me. “I can, because I stopped judging myself a long time ago. I did carry low self-esteem for a long time, till I realized, how long could I carry the filth, the burden and the guilt, which is not mine? People who did that to me carried their own filth. And just because they were trying to dump it on me does not mean I have to carry it. Their trying to dump their filth onto me does not define me. Whatever happened to me is not me.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in, and as I let it out something opened within me. I felt free; I felt someone just released me. I opened my eyes and her eyes scanning the audience from the stage met mine for a split second. I was aware of the goose bumps on my body as I looked directly at her and she smiled. And I knew she had just released me from myself, for I could suddenly give myself the permission to be me.
A single thought ran across my mind at that time – Here is another masterpiece of the Creator, totally imperfect, totally cracked and flawed, that His light may shine through.
There is a Japanese art called Kintsugi. It is the art of repairing cracked and broken pottery with gold.
The philosophy behind it is, there is a treasure behind the fissures, cracks and breaks that one experiences while going (and growing) through life, which need not be disguised. There is gold slowly forming in the cracks, that will gradually reveal its shine. There is the magic of alchemy happening through those cracks, at times, unknown even to the self. But the process of kintsugi can commence only when the artist first acknowledges the fact that the piece of pottery is broken.
How often do we keep ourselves imprisoned by judging our flaws and ourselves?
We compare ourselves with another, by first looking at ourselves through the eyes of another, focus on our lack and flaws, feel insecure, and then wear an armour and walk around. We feel the armour keeps us safe inside and hides our imperfections, and flaws.
“I never let my guard down”, my cousin told me a few days back.Well, many people don’t. They prefer walking around under the weight of a heavy armour they put on for protection, or so they think. It is one thing to create healthy boundaries and another to create barriers. Walking around in an armour at all times is a barrier and ironically against our ownselves.
For let’s face it, the armour is a cover for our so-called weaknesses, imperfections, breaks and flaws, which we ourselves don’t want to see. And the raw wounds, under the armour, arising from feeling inadequate and less than whole, do not heal. They fester. They are like demons trapped under the armour with us, constantly tormenting us. For once, break the armour and throw it away. Throw away all caution to the winds and be free.
Be faulty, be breakable, be weak, be vulnerable, be completely imperfect!
Accept it all, for it is you. With the tears and flaws, wholly you. And nobody can be as good a You, as you can be. In your vulnerability lies a strength that you cannot even begin to fathom without experiencing it first. Yes, there will be resistance from some people, who are not used to seeing this free you. Ironically, they might even feel threatened by your vulnerability. It might be your family members, your old friends, your colleagues, or your boss in the office. They will try to fit you into the old clothes that you wore, but find that the old clothes don’t fit you anymore. You would have outgrown them. Be ready for resentment. Be ready for shocked reactions. But then, even you too wore the armour at one time and resented your so called ‘imperfections and flaws’. You too resisted yourself for so long… So this whole situation will seem as simple as brushing away a cobweb with a duster.
Your breaks are meant to be, your flaws and imperfections are meant to be…can’t you see? They are patterns unique only to you, for it is through the cracks in those patterns, that Your light will shine through.
The way you can shine your light through your unique pattern of dents and cracks nobody else can. For no two fingerprints are the same, and similarly no two energy prints are the same. When you allow your true self to emerge, imperfections, flaws and all, not only you become free but you also set others free, to be their authentic selves. Just your presence will be enough to free them. By being yourSelf , you not only raise yourSelf up, you raise others up too. Like the girl mentioned above, raised me and many others in the audience… freed us from ourselves, and our own judgements.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a well-known saint from West Bengal was considered eccentric and even mad by a few people, including His own nephew, Hriday. He did not care to fit into the image of a perfect spiritual master for anyone.
Infact, He was quite the opposite of perfect and He was very comfortable with it. For by being His imperfect eccentric self, He could let His Divine Mother’s love shine through Him and in the process raise countless others up.
Jesus of Nazareth raised Lazarus from the dead, calmed a raging storm, walked on water, could He not have easily escaped from the betrayal and subsequent crucifixion? He could, but chose not to.
Instead, He chose to be true to Himself, raise Himself up and countless others and free them. He chose to be caught, to be vulnerable, to be broken. He chose to be pierced, for every time His flesh tore it was as if He was saying, “I accept. Thy will be done. Break me, Lord, tear me, so that through these cracks and tears Your Light may shine through.”
Shine, it did and how!
Your light too is searching for a way to shine through.
Question is, can you bare your breaks and tears?
Listen to Leonard Cohen’s Anthem here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDTph7mer3I
– ANUJA PATHAK
Please Note: Required permission has been granted, to cite the above-mentioned example of the lady, without revealing the name, venue, time, or kind of meeting, to avoid disclosure of identity.
© Anuja Pathak and www.breakthroughholistictherapy.com, 2016.
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