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  • Kathleen Van Dusen

When things break open

Updated: Feb 24


This is my treasured vessel. I found it years ago in a little thrift shop on Catalina Island. I just love it. I have kept it on altars, at home and where I teach my classes. It holds little treasures, stones, crystals, pieces of jewelry from each of my grandmothers, a marble that was my dads, slips of paper with words that I wrote and wanted to remember. It has collected money from students in my class, gracing the center of our circle every week for years. I love the color, the size, the shimmer in certain light. The places where it is chipped and imperfect.

Last week was challenging and full. Full of deep and shifting emotions. The past few weeks really. All seeming to come out of nowhere but dropping in fast and furious. Messages and insight. Unexpected soul connection. Music. Oh, the music was stirring things up. Raw emotion and tears that began in corners and crevices I didn't seem to be aware of. Parts of my heart being exposed? Peeking into tender areas that had been shut away.

I've been through enough healing and discovery to recognize what this was but I was still taken off guard. In truth, I was partly convinced I had already healed as much I was going to. What more could there be? Another layer, turns out. Another important breaking open and exposing of truths.

I was exhausted and empty but showing up to teach my class as I do every Tuesday and Thursday night. Long ago learning the power of music, movement and emotion. Carrying too many things, I dropped one bag too quickly and without thought. As it hit the floor I knew something didn't sound right. My now broken vessel was inside that bag. Left me kind of speechless. So many pieces. All the treasures now spilled into my bag. Really stopped me in my tracks. I slowly and carefully collected all the bits. They sit, still in a pile on my table. I was certain I would glue it all back together. Still in the midst of this deep dive however, I just didn't get to it. I walked past it every day. The pile of broken pieces of this treasure.

This dive was feeling different from others. This was a whole new level of breaking open. And man, I was not really interested in being a part of it. Ugh. Darkness and shadows. Pain and confusion. This was a whole different part of my heart and soul. And it was happening regardless of my thoughts about it. This, I know to be true. Our soul wants to evolve. It wants to grow and heal and overcome and find glorious joy. It's really our purpose in this life, to evolve our soul and allow the journey. And it can be unbearable. But, the process becomes more and more arduous and challenging the more we try to prevent it from happening. We try anything to make the pain stop. The truth, however, is you have to stay IN it. The only way through is to stay right there, in the pain and discomfort. Staying within the emotion. Reaching out for help, finding remedies and modalities to keep us steady and nurtured. Trusting the process and the journey to be for your greatest good.

I remained devoted to my ritual and ceremony. I cried. A lot. I wrote, walked, danced, chanted, moved my body, indulged in nightly baths, sipped some whiskey, listened to music that was new to me and deeply cathartic, met with friends, read, nourished myself. Slowing down and seeing the beauty in the smallest of things. Saying no when I needed to. Honoring myself to the best of my ability.

As I find myself, slowly rising back up, I am subtly aware of the fresh view, the new insight, deeper clarity. My heart feels tender. Even a little raw. I'm allowing the re-emergence to be slow and delicate. I know, without question, I am stronger, clear and holding a new place of power and grace for myself.

I'm not going to put my treasured vessel back together. I love the broken pieces as they are. I love the reminder that broken doesn't mean less beautiful. And, it is now time for something new to hold my treasures. And my heart.


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