She dropped onto the bed, closed her eyes and pulled her knees to her chest. The day had just been too much to bear. She didn’t want this pain. She didn’t know how to handle this hurt. She whispered quietly to herself, “Pull yourself together.” She wanted to be strong, to be okay, but she was not. She was falling apart.
When was the last time you felt this way? After a break up? After not getting that promotion? After fighting with your partner…again? After watching the nightly news? After 1,000 “tiny” things that add up to one really awful day? When was the last time you fell apart? It happens to each of us. We all find ourselves in dark places, shattered by disaster, fear or sorrow. Broken by the pain in our lives or the pain we see in the world. And we feel helpless, hopeless and weak. But what if I told you that here, in the depths of your great pain, you are stronger than you have ever been?
It was in one of these shattered moments that I tore through the internet for distraction and relief and discovered the Hindu goddess, Akhilandeshvari. Let me be clear, I am not well-versed (or even versed) in Hindu theology or mythology. But there is something magnetic about this girl. Her name translates to “She who is never not broken.” Her superpower? She lives in a state of brokenness, refusing to be confined by the limitations of becoming a finite whole. She intentionally stays broken in order to continually recreate herself only to break apart and rebuild again. The cracks in her exterior are the places where the light seeps through, guiding us to her true nature, her most authentic self. A beautiful reminder that no matter how broken the exterior, our true selves are always there, steadfast and steady despite the rapid currents of life.
Akhilandeshvari rides the currents of the river atop a crocodile. Her croc representing our reptilian brain and alluding to the primal fears that drive so many of our destructive thoughts and actions. Fear that we aren’t smart enough, skinny enough, successful enough, just plain not enough. Fears that many of us ignore or actively evade. However, instead of running from this fear, Akhilanda hops on and takes it for a ride. She stays in the flow, using her fears to move her forward, breaking apart and coming together as it serves the moment, each moment, as it comes.
This goddess reminds me of the incredible power I have in my brokenness. It is in these times when I feel most alone, most vulnerable, most empty and most afraid that I can find the deepest growth and allow beautiful transition. The places broken by the chaos of my mind and my life give me access to the light of my essence and allow me to touch the tenderness of my true self. The fears that drove me into the depths can be explored and I can use them, ride them to the next moment. As I dive into this moment, and choose how to arrange the pieces of myself, I make those choices from a place of great strength and deep knowing. And I will break open again, over and over, but it’s okay because the world needs me to break wide open so that I can come back every time, stronger. For it is in this way that I am broken strong. That we are all The Broken Strong.