mindfulnessPain and loss are inevitable. They are things we all must experience, but too many of us try our damnedest to avoid these by running away from them or pretending they’re not there. This resistance, though, means that which is unavoidable continues to hover like a dark cloud.

We can either stop and get soaked and endure the discomfort, or we can keep running scared from the lightning, thunder and wind. However, when we finally get wet we often realize that not only was it not as bad as we thought it would be, but that we really needed a good shower anyway. The thoughts turned out to be more damaging than the experience itself.

Much like building muscle mass from working out, we also grow when we tear. Just as the tissue reconnects and expands to become stronger, so does our spirit. The soreness is a brief reminder of what we have endured, and also that we can endure. One of my favorite memes floating around social media every now and then is a quote that says, “So far you’ve survived 100 percent of your worst days. You’re doing great!”

Sometimes these tears are so tiny that we barely notice, while other times we feel completely broken. Throughout life these tears help us accumulate understanding, and when we break we often come out on the other side completely changed. Believe it or not, it is up to us how we perceive these events in life and whether or not we find the good in them. The same exact thing can happen to two different people, yet they have totally different experiences and results. Whether it turns out positive or remains negative is up to them.

Another invaluable aspect of breaking open is that we become more vulnerable. Our tenderness is exposed when the hard shell is no longer shielding it. This vulnerability is an invitation for connection with others. It is also where real, heartfelt communication can reside.

I believe it is at these times when we feel broken that we can cultivate the deepest insights for ourselves and our lives. These insights become the catalyst for positive change and continued growth. I know I have been broken and re-broken several times in my life, quite in addition to the continual micro-tears happening almost daily. We all will have many more of these moments, big and small, to face ahead. As tough as it can be sometimes, it is part of the beauty of life, and something that should be cherished.

Being mindful of our daily events and interactions, both the highs and lows, makes life more rich and the experience of living a true gift.