Being “broken open” sounds pretty awful at first glance, doesn’t it?
The meanings of words can be very different from one person to another—even to people who were raised in the same family! Besides being the source of many arguments between otherwise loving people, the same word or expression can point to some very different experiences.
Until very recently I would have thought that this expression of being “broken open” meant someone was grieving or ‘falling apart.’
Having recently met and become increasingly close to another human being, I am experiencing quite a different sense of being “broken”, one that is (at times) frightening; but more importantly, one of being opened to new depths of receiving and giving love.
For those who believe this is simply “falling in love” I note some parallels to that wonderful (but often fleeting) experience. With both falling in love and feeling “broken open”, I feel more open, trusting, and less worried about being safe. Falling in love is easy, just as falling out of love can be. Sadly, relationships based on this lovely and powerful state are also often on shaky ground unless the couple goes further. Many have come to me worrying about the future of their relationship just because they no longer feel in love with each other.
Being “broken open” is more than having feelings for another. The fact that I have chosen to do this with someone who is trust-worthy should come as no surprise. And that she is mature enough to take responsibility for what she is experiencing, rather than blaming me, has been a key element. In this relationship, the experience has been more of a spiritual connection than a romantic one. Years ago, I had a similar but less profound taste of this when I met a man who was another amazing human being. When it comes to a spiritual connection, the gender of the person is immaterial. All that matters to me is the soul connection and the sense of safety and willingness in me to be more fully open to the other person.
Most of those who bond at a deeper level are able to ride through some very difficult times. I have not really understood the power of this until now. Deeply connecting with another human being without becoming enmeshed or co-dependent is a truly amazing experience. I am awed, humbled, excited, scared, and a whole lot more!
Perhaps it is no surprise that both times my process of breaking open has occurred in the spring, the time of year when nature in the northern hemisphere opens itself to the risk of nature’s hazards such as an early spring frost, storms, insects, being eaten and the like. Something in nature, stronger than fear, motivates all living things to be courageous in opening, blooming, and blessing the world with its presence.
Perhaps this is why researcher Brené Brown discovered that the only difference between those who thrive in life and those who don’t is the willingness to step beyond shame and be truly open with one another.
Having Spirit and I break me open are changing me in awesome ways; and I am forever grateful.
Ian Gartshore is a local writer and emerging human being.