Working Through What is Broken

Whenever I presented a workshop on Anger or Conflict, I would always begin by reminding the participants that I am teaching this stuff to myself. It was always important for me to acknowledge that I am working through the material and finding myself challenged to do the very practices I worked to show others. Conflict, anger and all of the experiences that mirror our dark sides forever remind us of what needs evolving and as such, merely reminds us we are alive. It is a work in progress that repeats itself till the day we die. If we are not evolving, we are dying.


So, here I am, reminding you, that I am working on this myself.


What happens when we find ourselves once again, at the place where we told ourselves we would never be? You would never again find yourself dependent on a man and there you are. You promised yourself you would never get into debt and you once again find your credit card maxed out. You promised yourself you would never get drunk and you find yourself passed out on your bed not even remembering how you got there. You said you would never belittle your children like your parents did to you, and you recognize the face of pain, contempt and grief on your teenaged son’s face to be the one you yourself experienced at his age.


conflict management
Courtesy of Jill Philipchuk

Whenever we are confronted with our repeated patterns or the place we get stuck, we find the seeds of our crisis. It may take 10 or 20 or 200 or 10,000 times to repeat the pattern before we decide to enter into the crisis. It may take one or 50 lifetimes before we gather enough wisdom, courage and brokenness to enter into crisis. Regardless, the places we consistently find ourselves coming back to, despite all efforts, our broken records, eventually lead us to our necessary crisis.


Crisis happens when a story you hold very dearly needs to die. The most horrific part of this crisis is that entering into one not only brings fear, anxiousness, worry, pain and death.  The most horrific part of entering into crisis is that all of the fear, anxiousness, worry, pain and death, are precisely what bring you to your new life.  It is your crucifixion before the resurrection.  And you have nothing to go on that guarantees you will be brought back to a new life.  You only have another story.


In 2003, in my PhD thesis I wrote:


Crisis arrives because we are alive. Crisis is the Mother of all Undos. Crisis comes because death comes because life comes. We cannot have one without the other and the more we resist our deaths, the greater our surprise and terror at the arrival our crisis. No matter our relationship with death, no matter our religion, or what kind of lives we lead or how many times we go to church or volunteer at the AIDS hospice, we will meet our crisis. Crisis arrives, usually unannounced, unwelcomed, and completely unexpected. It is there in the announcement of your cancer, your AIDS, your chronic illness. It is there in the death of your youngest child in a car accident, the realization that your wife is having an affair with your friend, the termination of your job or in the celebration of your fortieth birthday. Maybe you have hit and/or hurt someone more powerless than you, or maybe you have received a beating yourself. Or maybe it announces itself in your unpaid electric bills, your low exam scores or maybe your high exam scores, in your profound aloneness, in the gang beating/murder of a girl or in the crumbling of the Twin Towers. Or maybe you just wake up one day and think that your life has been a complete waste of time.

Inside every journey of saint and sinner, expect to meet your “bottomless abyss” for inevitably it will arrive, and often, it will arrive when you are feeling some skill in balancing your body on the surfboard, gliding through in-between space. Maybe, you might have even learned the skill of falling/diving in the water gracefully/grace filled.


In the seemingly big and the impossibly small, crisis will come. If you are alive, even while drowning in your mediocrity, barely breathing, you will eventually experience crisis. It is your birthright. And even if you follow “the formula” or “the recipe” whatever formula or recipe you reside in, crisis will meet you, remind you of your impermanence, your non-deity status.


Energy Medicine does not fix crisis. It does not take the sting away from the decimation of a story that you have held and nurtured for lifetimes. It can help make you conscious of what some of the old stories or patterns you held that need your attention, or, it can help clear energy fields of disruptive cell memories that lodge themselves in our physical bodies or energy fields. It can help provide you with a map or a “to do” list that will ease the transition. It may even help you with the inevitable practice of walking towards your crisis with grace and confidence. But at the end of the day, working through what is broken, requires you to get off your knees and stop picking the pieces in the hopes of repairing what is familiar and to trust that the dying will bring you a new life that you thought was unimaginable.




My big prayer, is that we work together on our collective and personal crisis and that we practice walking towards our crucifixions with a fierceness knowing that what lies in the midst of the broken pieces is our New Stories and New Lives that fit us far better than what we painfully cling to.