This article originally appeared in Gratitude and Trust
Infragilis et tenera, unbreakable yet tender
In Japan, a pottery tea cup that has been broken is often fixed with gold, thereby making the broken the most cherished and beautiful. A crack does not mean that the cup should be thrown away; a crack makes it stronger when filled with gold.
Have you ever experienced a hairline fracture than ran the whole of your body that started to split, threatening to allow all your innards to spill out? What about a heart that expanded with so much pain that it threatened to blow apart in your chest? Did you have a loss that left a gaping hole in your soul? What did you fill your cracks with? What did the hole in your soul get covered up with? What did you do to get your heart to contract so you could go on breathing and moving through life?
I chose addictions to fill me up and they were many. They came in the form of alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, men, sex, shopping, food, self help, exercise and probably the most insidious and incestuous of all, self loathing. I would use anything and anybody to alter my reality and beat myself up – What drama!
As I eliminated alcohol and cocaine, I became radically, obsessively addicted to self help which was a direct result of my addiction to self loathing. It is my belief that addicts are the most sensitive people who hide, the most tender people who show false strength and bravery that look like independence and risky behaviour ~ they commit a sort of slow, controlled suicide, not really wanting to die but not able to really live as life presents itself.
Sometimes our cracks are filled with shame, guilt, disgust, unlovable, unworthy and not good enough beliefs that keep us sick in our addictions. Sometimes our cracks lead us away from God and towards unhealthy and abusive relationships that end up supporting those old beliefs. Sometimes our cracks are so deep that we need help to get off the ledge we teeter on.
It was not until I cracked again and again looking like an old Greek statue that I reached a new level of a previously unknown bottom some 22 years after becoming sober. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, I gave up. I finally engaged my God with compassion and a new depth of surrender so intense, so desired and so needed. I rejected the dogma of old, and the guilt of God that kept me disconnected and I started a conversation with a God of my understanding.
I discovered that God is pretty cool, really nice and welcoming with no desire to do anything but shower me with the love that has always been there waiting for me. My God did not shame me for my past, did not admonish me, instead God accepted me openly and without hesitation.
In conversation with God, with myself, I have discovered that in my brokenness lies my strength, my beauty, my tenderness and my gift. Great news right? Ah yes, but THEN the hard work really began. My addictions added layers and layers to my being, making me heavy in spirit, mind and body, however, through willingness and trust I peeled layer and layer away to discover the pain that I tried to hide. That pain, those cracks, that hole were all asking for the same thing ~ to be heard, to be accepted and to be loved ~ by me. You see this work cannot be done by anyone but me for I know intimately what it is reject andabandon myself for God never did. While God is with me, in me, beside me, this is my work to do.
Today, I practice self forgiveness (amends to myself) and self adoration, not as a narcissist but as a woman who has been bloodied in the battles, fought her way out and is committed to healthy self love and complete self acceptance.
How blessed I am to be an addict, how blessed I am to havebeen broken for today through gratitude for my life, my experience, my gold filled cracks and my complete trust in my God, I am………. infragilis et tenera, unbreakable yet tender.