A Journey from Breakdown to Breakthrough

Photo by Rafael Pol on Unsplash

For most of my life I associated breakdowns with something to be avoided. An issue? Not necessarily. However, consider that breakdowns always lead to breakthroughs. And, without breakthroughs there is no movement. Movement, you ask?

I mean you cannot move your life into new realms of understanding and experience when you avoid breakdowns. Not possible. However, when you are open to an understanding that includes breakdowns and the associated breakthroughs as part of the human experience, you can move your life into new realms. Really.

Before we go further, let’s take a look at the definition of breakdown.

breakdown

Translate breakdown into Spanish

NOUN

  1. A mechanical failure.‘breakdowns could totally disrupt production’
  2. A failure of a relationship or system.‘a breakdown in military discipline’
    1. 2. A sudden collapse in someone’s mental health.‘Heather had a breakdown following the death of her sister’
  3. The chemical or physical decomposition of something.‘the breakdown of ammonia to nitrites’
    1. 3. An explanatory analysis, especially of statistics.‘a detailed cost breakdown’
  4. A lively, energetic American country dance.

Alright, let’s use 1.2 for the purposes of this conversation.

You may then ask, well, how do I become open to breakdowns as part of my regular daily experience? Ah, good. Let’s take a look at three things you can do every day that will ensure that you fully experience your breakdowns and the associated breakthroughs.

Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash

1. Welcome the Breakdowns

Often human beings avoid doing something new because we believe we need to look good and be right. Seriously. Take a moment right now, and really sit inside of this concept for a minute. And? Yep.

If you are really open to this conversation, you will agree that you too often avoid new experiences, because to be vulnerable and admit we don’t know is hard. Really hard.

Let me write that again. Being vulnerable and admitting we don’t know about something is hard. Really hard.

It is okay to acknowledge that; to admit this truth. It is. Admitting this truth simply means you are now aware that new experiences frighten people. With this new awareness you can now work from a space that allows for more openness. A paradox. Yep.

Actually becoming aware of this truth immediately opens you up. Right away. How? Because when we are no longer avoiding something about ourselves that we don’t like, and we embrace reality as it is, we create a new space within ourselves to know ourselves better, and to learn.

What to do?

The next time you are invited to take on something new that you don’t know much about, or have tried in the past and failed, try it again. Why?

Because inside of your new awareness about breakdowns, you have a new understanding; that breakdowns are normal. We need them to move ourselves forward. We need them to get to breakthroughs. Welcome the breakdowns. It simply means you are on the right track.

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

2. Ask for Help

Another thing hard for many humans to do is ask for help. Why? Because like trying new things, admitting that we need help, makes us fearful. When we act with a need to look good and be right, there is no space to ask for help. We see it as a weakness. Again a paradox. Why?

Because as I’ve written about in other posts, the idea that we know everything there is to know about any topic is silly. No matter how many degrees you have, or how much practical experience you have, there is always something to learn. Always.

Within this context, asking for help is normal. And, it is. Very normal. Does that mean asking for help is easy? No. Admitting we don’t know, need help, no matter what it is we are doing is hard. Very hard.

However, like understanding that breakdowns are normal, having this new understanding about asking for help, immediately opens you up. Opens you up to understanding the true nature of your humanity. And, in this space, you have the opportunity to learn more, be more, and know more. Awesome.

What to do?

When you are in breakdown, stay there. Yep, that’s right. Stay inside of that breakdown, and really feel it. Then, if you get a breakthrough, great. If not, ask for help. There is everything right about asking for help. Think about it like this. If you don’t ever ask for help, you are not expanding that which you know.

And, when we stop expanding what we know, we are limiting ourselves, and our human potential. Your potential is vast. It already is. If you experience that vastness, wonderful. If you’ve yet to experience it, don’t worry. Follow the steps in this post, and you will begin to experience it. Really.

Photo by Lucas Gallone on Unsplash

3. Capture the Breakthroughs

You will never know when a breakthrough will come. Sometimes you will get a breakthrough right on the other side of a breakdown. Sometimes it will be later. It’s okay. Normal.

What’s important is to capture your breakthroughs. In the moment you have a breakthrough, you may not even be sure what it is related to; and, that’s okay. Write it down anyway. Hold onto it. You will see where it belongs eventually.

Once you know where your breakthrough insight belongs, you can make plans to implement it into that area of your life. Sometimes you will choose to do this right away; and, sometimes you will wait. Both are fine. It matters less when you implement your breakthrough, than it is that you stay open to adopting it in some way. Why?

Because that breakthrough is a direct result of a breakdown you had. Whether you can trace the breakthrough back to a breakdown, it is related. Important. And, why it is so important to track and capture your breakthrough in some way.

Let’s now take a look at the definition of breakthrough.

breakthrough

Translate breakthrough into Spanish

NOUN

  1. A sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.‘a major breakthrough in DNA research’
    1. 1. An instance of achieving success in a particular sphere or activity.as modifier ‘the band’s breakthrough album’

Alright, we’ve now discussed a journey from breakdown to breakthrough. Though there is much more to discuss about breakdowns and breakthroughs, we covered enough to keep you moving.

When I started seeing my lifecoach 3 years ago, she once asked me this question:

Can you limp along a little while longer?

At that time in my life, a concept like a journey from breakdown to breakthrough was not available to me. Well, it was, however, I was not paying attention, nor was I in touch with myself. When we are out of touch with our own humanity the conversation we just had is harder to put into action.

However, what I’ve come to realize in the past three years, is that with guidance and persistence, the journey from breakdown to breakthrough can become a reality for everyone.

A reality that includes welcoming our breakdowns, a willingness to ask for help, and a system we can use to capture our breakthroughs so we can learn, and move ourselves forward.

Definitions retrieved from Oxford Languages

#askforhelp, #breakdowntobreakthrough, #breakthrough, #creatingyourlife, #emotional-intelligence, #fear, #humanpotential, #keepmoving, #learning, #movingfromstucktounstuck, #natureofhumanity, #openness, #vulnerability

A Bloggers’ Diary 7/23/20: COVID-19 and Our Emotional and Creative Selves

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Phew, what a week. All across the country we are still seeing rises in the COVID-19 virus. As I’ve mentioned, most of my extended family lives in Los Angeles, and the virus incident rate is particularly high there right now.

It’s a lot for everyone to bear right now. A lot. Know that even when you feel like you are the only one feeling anxious, sad, confused, angry, frustrated, or any other emotion that arises; you are not alone.

Repeated. You are not alone.

We all feel. We all feel the same emotions. They come and go, here one moment, then gone the next. Normal human experience.

This week I was feeling particularly blocked. No real writing ideas were forthcoming. Frustrating. And, as I’ve written about in other posts, this happens to us all. You can insert whatever medium you like here, arts, science, it doesn’t matter. We all get blocked. Stuck.

You know what it was for me this week?

Photo by Amin Moshrefi on Unsplash

Mm. Took me about two days to figure it out, which means that I continued to do my day like always, feeling overwhelmed. For me, the first indicator something is going on. Then it occurred to me. You’ve not cried at all this week.

You may be saying, jeez, it’s only Wednesday. Yet, as was aforementioned, we all have a lot to hold, handle, and deal with right now. Letting out those tears then is not only needed, it is necessary. For everyone, and especially those that live their life from a creative standpoint.

Creativity becomes blocked when we hold onto our emotions. Yep. What did I do? I cried. And, guess what? Almost immediately I had several new insights, which I am currently writing about, including this blog.

It is so interesting to write about the importance of doing our inner work, being with our emotions, probing into them, really feeling them, letting them go, and still continue to get stuck holding onto mine. A Paradox? Yes.

It is the reality of the situation. Humanness.

Happens to us all. It is part of being human. It is the pain, and WONDER about being human. It is also the continuous learning about being human.

Learning from ourselves and each other. Beautiful.

On this Wednesday, then, I send you peace and love; and, knowing that your emotions, which may be erratic and more complex than normal due to our current reality, are not abnormal. You are just like me. And, I am just like you.

When you need to cry do so, and see what comes on the other side of those tears that are ready to pour forth.

Be well. Love well. Create well.

#anger, #covid-19, #creation, #creativity, #crying, #doubt, #emotional-intelligence, #emotions, #fear, #frustration, #learninghumanness, #letting-go, #worry

Fear of the Unknown: Take A Stand and Take Action Anyway

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Posting during a weekday, a different experience for me. Yet it is important. Yesterday, I wrote the post Creating and Maintaining Relationships Part 2: Standing for Each Other and our Shared Humanity. In that post we discussed how important all of our relationships are, as is taking a stand for ourselves, and all those we are in relationship with.

When we take a stand for ourselves, and for others, we are in what I termed a valuable relationship. I believe valuable relationships are disruptive and cause transformation – they cause transformation within us, and without.

Here is an example.

Today, I’m sitting at my desk and am working, not thinking about last nights post at all. Yet, in my inbox comes this post, On Racism, Oppression, and The Need to Do Something About It, by Cristian Mihai.

Now, as some of you may know, I started blogging about 7 weeks ago, and Cristian was the first individual to like a post, and follow my blog. Of course, likewise, then, I went to look at what Cristian was up to, and found the site The Art of Blogging. Fun.

Fast forward 7 weeks or so to this morning’s context, and the aforementioned blog by Cristian dropping into my email. Well, in that email, there were 4 or 5 different ways to contribute, to take action. And, I did so.

The reason I have paused my workday to write this post is that the story above is exactly what I was writing about in my post last night. Exactly. We believe that it is only in the relationships with those that are closest to us where we have the opportunity for, as I’ve defined in this post, a valuable relationship. Not so.

I don’t know Cristian at all, yet I would consider this a disruptive and transformational relationship, thus valuable. The action, from which, continues as I write this post.

In order to be involved in these kinds of relationships, you must be willing to let go of the fear you have about acting. Let go of the unknown about what will happen if you act. Release yourself from that.

It is not about the result of the relationship, it is about the actions taken inside the relationship that matter. And, that the relationship fosters taking a stand and creating action. These actions are disruptive, are transformational, and are valuable.

My invitation to you

First, remember, that you do make a difference. You make a difference every time you take action. If you’ve been held back by fear of the unknown, let it go, and get in action. For, you can also make a difference in someone else’s life by taking action, by taking a stand for yourself, and for them.

#blogging, #cristian-mihai, #disruption, #fear, #fear-of-the-unknown, #relationships, #take-action, #transformation

You Are Not Your Fear

Photo by Melanie Wasser on Unsplash

I used to believe that I was my emotions. Confusion. I did not know then, like I am beginning to understand now, that emotions simply happen. They, like thoughts, are a product of the very human stimulus response system.

When something happens in our context, we have a thought about that happening, and that thought will usher in an emotion. That emotion will be a product of the thought pattern, simple.

However simple that seams, people do not always find it simple to understand how their emotions work. Why is this so? Most people are not taught how to understand their emotions. Why? Because their parents or caretakers did not know how to understand their emotions either. A cycle.

And, the cycle is created again each generation. A large part of why the cycle continues, is that people are afraid of their emotions. Then you have, people that are not taught how to understand their emotions, while also living in fear of their emotions. A very difficult combination. I know, I lived in it most of my adult life.

However, what I have come to realize is that we are not our emotions. We are not, then our fear. We have emotions, we have fear, yet we are not those emotions, or that fear.

In order to understand our emotions, as I’ve written in other posts, we have to look at your feelings, and begin to question why we feel the way we do. Not a simple task. In fact, it can be quite painful. However, on the other side of this pain is release.

A release from the suffering, which may manifest itself as resentment, grief, sadness, anger, frustration, or any other feeling, you’ve been holding onto. Looking into these emotions and their associated feelings is a discovery process, which can enlighten us to new ways to understand our own humanity.

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

I’ve been looking into my emotions for a couple of years now. In this time, I’ve come to realize that there is nothing to fear about our emotions, and those feelings, which often don’t feel so great. When we take the time needed to understand why we feel as we do, we can begin to heal.

Heal from whatever suffering we’ve been holding onto. And, in our healing we create the possibility that those around us can also heal. How is this so? Because as we begin to understand our feelings, we learn about ourselves. And, in our learning, we create a deeper understanding of other people’s suffering.

When we understand other people’s suffering, because we understand our own, we can stand with them. We can give ourselves compassion, and then give compassion to others as well. Realizations like this, and the associated practical work needed to create this realization, also creates a deeper understanding of the human experience, of which having emotions is a part.

I used to think that the human experience was about “being happy,” or finding my purpose. I’ve since come to realize that happiness, and purpose, like our emotions, live within us. Because they live within us, it is our responsibility to understand how they function. Both pain and happiness, and fear.

However, I’ve also come to realize that though we have fear, like anger or frustration, or any other emotion, we are not our emotions. However, when we hold onto an emotion, like fear, what happens? We get more of it, which is why people become confused, as I once did about anger, believing that they are that emotion. No so.

We are no more our emotions, than we are our thoughts. Emotions happen. They are a reaction to our environment, a response. When we understand this as true on an intellectual level, it is helpful. And, when we understand it on a visceral level, it is freedom.

Freedom from the cage we’ve constructed for ourselves. Cages made of fear, anger, frustration, etc. You are not your emotions, and you are not your thoughts. Therefore, dear reader, you are not your fear. You just are. I take great peace in this knowing, and hope that you might too.

#emotions, #fear, #feelings, #healing, #pain, #self-development, #suffering

Fear of the Unknown

This past week, I created a message about fear of the unknown in a Friday Message to the team of folks I work and collaborate with.

Here is that message

This week I’ve been noticing, and reflecting upon fear. Fear that comes with not knowing. And, the byproducts of fear of the unknown, like being nervous and or anxious. I notice them first within myself. The only way one can notice them in others is to first notice them in oneself. 


There is also a knowing in all of this unknown, however, which is that fear and fear’s byproducts are a normal part of the human experience. You are not alone in your fear. If someone tells you they have no fear, they are simply not aware of the fear within themselves, or refuse to accept it.


I was talking to my mom this week, who lives in CA, where the restrictions on shelter-in-place and social distancing are much more rigorous than here locally. We were talking about my mom’s fear about the future, and the realization that this is a normal process of understanding. 

I believe that to understand what is possible, and to create new future realities, we must acknowledge all aspects of our being, our shared humanity. When we do so, we open up a creative space within ourselves and the space to share ourselves with others experiencing the same emotions and fears.


By recognizing our fears as a part of the normal human experience we also create acceptance within ourselves of our fears, and likewise then create the space to accept others and their fears. 

This is called compassion. Compassion for ourselves, our neighbors, our friends, family, team, our local community, and the greater world.

I share this with you as a creation that stemmed from the COVID-19 health crisis. To often, I think, people get caught up in thinking they are not creative, which can actually inhibit creativity, and is simply not true. Creativity lives inside each of us, and can be defined in a myriad of ways, from an idea, to a fully operating business.

One of the distinctions about creativity, is that in order for a creative idea or business model to live in the world, action must be taken. Otherwise the creative idea or business model remains a concept in language. So, take action today, and go execute on your conceptual creativity.

Until next time…

#action, #business, #concept, #covid-19, #creativity, #execution, #fear, #human-development, #idea, #unknown