Possibilities Playground Newsletter

Beauty and the Breakdown

Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc.
Loss of a job, parent, friend, house, etc.

We experience all kinds of breakdowns throughout our lives. They hurt…they really hurt. They break our hearts. They remind us of all the similar experiences that hurt us once before. They rob us of our appetite for food, for socializing, for life. They make us doubt ourselves. They make us doubt God. They make us doubt everything.

 “Nervous breakdowns are highly underrated forms of spiritual journeys.” – Marianne Williamson

I think we all need to experience what I’ve been referring to as a ‘dark night of the soul’ from time to time. By that, I mean a major breakdown – one in which our world is rocked and we struggle with what’s happening. It may not feel good, but it certainly forces us to get real with ourselves. All of a sudden, all the old tricks of keeping our pretty little mask on for the sake of the world starts failing. Instead, we can find ourselves wrecked with grief, self-loathing, a sense of unworthiness or some other form of torture. In the end, we often no longer have the strength to put on airs and are left exposed out in the open.

A ‘dark night of the soul’ also narrows your focus so you are only capable of dealing with what is right in front of you. In a way, I’d say it actually helps to prioritize the most important things and all of a sudden that phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff,” becomes abundantly clear.

These breakdowns also provide us with opportunities. Opportunities to:

  • ask questions
  • feel into our human side
  • grapple with old and/or new issues
  • explore other possibilities
  • see things differently
  • grow and expand

If we’re lucky, then as we grow and evolve, we recognize the opportunity to handle our latest breakdown in a new way…in a way that releases the old, limiting habit and allows us to step into our power.

In my previous article I eluded to the three ways people tend to deal with such a difficult time in their life. Either they’ll search the past for answers, attempt to make peace with the present, or start working their plan to improve their future.  However, I refused to talk about any of them until I laid the foundation of what needed to happen first, which was to:

  1. Admit what’s not right in our lives
  2. Ask the divine for help
  3. Recognize the two parts of us dealing with this

Without doing those three things, I don’t feel like looking to our past, present or future will do anything other than spin us in circles.  (You can refresh yourself on the insights shared in that article by clicking here.)

Assuming you have completed those three steps, let’s crack the door on what your past, present and future may have waiting for you.


It’s extremely common to analyze our past in search of answers. That’s part of what separates humans from animals, right? Unfortunately, we can get seriously hung up here because it’s super easy to fall prey to the raw emotions we’re experiencing. Next thing you know, we’re beating ourselves up, feeling like crap and not getting anywhere. That can be maddening, but if we can pull ourselves out of it just enough to be honest with ourselves and work through any patterns we find THEN the past can be useful. Let me share an example…

When my current sweetheart’s old girlfriend come back into his life, I recognized that both he and I needed him to look into whether or not there was still something there. In the process I got hung up for awhile on the fact that every serious love in my life has left me for another woman (sometimes while we’re still together). More than that, I really ran with the story about how unworthy I am, clearly not pretty enough, sexy enough, fun enough, etc. I mean helloooooo – it keeps happening, so it must be me! And since that’s obviously the case, I’d best close up my heart, put on my emotional armor and move on ASAP. After all, why stay and get beat up any more than I already have?

But here’s the thing: if I were to use my past to only get me that far, I would’ve only reinforced the negative untruths that had obviously impacted me throughout my life in some way. I had/have another choice – and that is to recognize I have some deep down issues around worthiness and rejection that need addressing. So in the end, it IS a me thing, in that I need to work through these issues; otherwise, I’m likely to repeat them and, quite frankly, I am sick and tired of it! Plus, momma always said life gives you lessons over and over until you pass…so I’m doing some heads down studying dammit!


Even though there are potential lessons to learn from our past, the only point in time we have to make a difference is right now. This reinforces that we shouldn’t get hung up on the past, so much as we should be aware of what’s happening presently – because with awareness comes the chance to do something different if we want.

For me and my ‘dark night of the soul’ journey that’s still unfolding, this has meant staying put and not running away. Thankfully, the man in my life with whom I’m sharing this journey is wonderfully aware and spiritually connected, so he’s encouraging all the unearthing I’m doing, and supporting and loving me the best he can along the way. Admittedly, it’s an odd experience for me – to still be in a relationship that may very well be ending soon. Normally I’d have been long gone, licking my wounds elsewhere but, alas, the only time healing can occur is in the present. And lord knows I have some wounds to heal! So here I am, staying in my now, keeping my heart open in the face of near certain rejection, hoping and praying I will learn the lessons I need to be whole again.

I think the present offers us the best opportunity to deal with adversity. I very much believe we can find peace in any situation, regardless of what it looks like to others or us. It’s a matter of going inside… of getting quiet enough to hear our truth… to feel the support of the divine… and finding our faith to breathe and carry on even when we can’t see two feet in front of our face. You can do this. I can do this. If the whole world did this, we’d live in a very different place because we wouldn’t be acting from fear – but love.


Ahhhh, the future.  Many of us (myself included) can use the planning process of what’s next to escape what is happening in the present. I suspect many of you are similar to me, otherwise why would you read all my craziness? LOL. Seriously though, if we are remotely similar then I’d be willing to bet, you’ve been there and done that, maybe even gotten the t-shirt.

That’s not to say life doesn’t require us to plan. If you lose your job, you probably need to find another. If your relationship is over, you may need to find a new place to live. I get that, but I also get that the future can be an easy distraction. And what I’ve really learned is that avoiding negative feelings because you’re such a super positive person is really the same as stuffing your emotions down.

I know this because it’s exactly what I did with my 2nd divorce. He asked for a divorce, I felt the stab to my heart and at the same time knew it was the right thing to do, so the next day I went with him to find him an apartment. I thought I was being spiritually mature but here’s the kicker: I didn’t even know how much I’d stuffed down until my issues started popping up with my current serious relationship. Did you catch that?  My overly optimistic attitude enabled me to completely skip the very natural grieving and healing process that is key to having a healthy next relationship. In case it’s still not landing, here’s a third translation: if I’d dealt with the pain openly and honestly when it happened, I might not be having the problems I am having now with my current relationship.

So, while it’s tempting as all get out to plan my exit strategy – I also know that would result in me putting up walls, which would prevent me from dealing with my issues in the here and now. I am determined to do this differently. If I’m able to clear out old baggage and this relationship works – great. If it doesn’t, then I’ll be free and clear for the next relationship and that has some exciting, magical potential as well.

Will I eventually need to figure out what’s next? Perhaps.  I suspect I’ll know when it’s time. In the end, all I can do – and all you can do – is be honest with ourselves on where we’ve been, where we are and where we want to be… and then trust in divine timing to guide us on when to make the next move. In the meantime, I am finding ways to feed my soul every day, and when things get tough, I take a deep breath and say one of two phrases: “divine timing!” or “5 million angels!” to get me through the moment.

You know, in western society, we suffer from the go-go-go attitude in all areas of our lives, so you can be sure that you’ll be influenced to grieve but then “put on your big girl panties” and move on. I suggest you be aware of that AND equally aware of hiding out in a depressed, numb state to avoid dealing with whatever has happened. What can I say, it’s a bitch of a delicate balance.

“Moving on doesn’t mean you forget about things. It just means you have accepted what happened and continue living.” – Unknown

If you are going through a tough time, I have no doubt that this is a lot to digest. Don’t forget our emotional highs and lows can be exhausting. As we work through things, we are expending a lot of energy, so don’t forget to rest and take care of yourself through the process. For me that looked like lots of water, the occasional healthy food, and moving my body a little here and there – even if it’s just a walk outside with sunglasses to cover my puffy eyes.

The beauty of the breakdown can’t be seen with our physical eyes, but it can be felt. I feel like layer after layer has been pulled back. I am proud of what I’ve been able to do this go-round that I never could do before. Drew hugged me this morning, put his hand over my heart and asked if I knew how strong I was. My answer: yes, yes I do.

Thank you for being part of my life. Sending you all lots of love and a big ol’ band of my angels to help you as well. Cuz really, we are all in this together … every one of us.

Holding the possibilities for all of us,
image gif sara sig clear


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Beauty and the Breakdown by Sara Russell of Feel the Possibilities
Visit Sara at: www.feelthepossibilities.com
Send email to sara@feelthepossibilities.com