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  • Barbara Emrys

Making and Breaking

The subject of broken things has come up a lot lately. Someone I know broke a piece of art. Someone else broke a promise. Another suffers from a broken heart. A dream is broken, shattered into pieces. Who’s to blame?


No one should be blamed. Nothing is the fault of the gods, or the season, or the stars. And nothing about loss is new. Things end all the time. Plans are ruined. Precious things are lost and attitudes change.


Life is the perpetual process of creation and destruction. Objects get made and unmade. Our lives reflect that process: we create and destroy. We witness many kinds of deaths. We witness all types of births, including the ways we re-imagine ourselves every day.


We are reflections of life’s will to create more life. We construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct. We piece dreams together and, for whatever reason, rip them apart. We gain things and lose things, just as life does. The difference is…most humans react badly to loss.

To life, nothing is lost. Nothing is gained. Do you suppose that life regrets a single act of destruction, or creation? Does it regret having made mortal stuff– a tree, a bird, a person? Does life stop creating, due to the tragedy of broken things?


You’ve often heard me ask you to reflect life well. What most of us do is reflect each other. We reflect each other’s knowledge. We reflect each other’s fears and prejudices. We rarely look beyond our human dream to see what life is doing.


Look at life differently. React in ways you never did before. Recall how you were when you arrived in the world: so clear-eyed and impervious to the knowledge others imposed on you.


Reflecting life means being influenced less by your own beliefs. It means being skeptical of all opinions. It wouldn’t hurt to disconnect from society’s steady current of commentaries for a while, and to feel life’s current…to feel the difference.


Try to encourage your appetite for humor. Laugh a little more, even in the face of loss. Things will break. Cultivate sensible reactions to every disappointment. Nurture some patience. Strengthen your faith in life.


And while we’re on the subject of breaking things, break some habits that have no place in your dream. Break agreements that no longer make you happy. Let go of self-pity. Lose your self importance. Take a few bricks out of your defensive walls. Unmake stuff. Make new stuff.


Be kind to yourself. No matter the tragedy, be accountable for what you say and do in difficult times. In any and all conversations, see beyond the spoken words. See life, trying to push through matter and be recognized!
Look. Listen. Learn something new. And, like life, take the action.


-Barbara


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