From She Who Is Never Not Broken

Expansion by Paige Bradley
Expansion by Paige Bradley

“Akhilandeshvari: ‘Ishvari’ in Sanskrit means ‘goddess’ or ‘female power,’ and the ‘Akhilanda’ means essentially ‘never not broken.’ In other words, The Always Broken Goddess. Sanskrit is a tricky and amazing language, and I love that the double negative here means that she is broken right down to her name.

But this isn’t the kind of broken that indicates weakness and terror. It’s the kind of broken that tears apart all the stuff that gets us stuck in toxic routines, repeating the same relationships and habits over and over, rather than diving into the scary process of trying something new and unfathomable.

Akhilanda derives her power from being broken: in flux, pulling herself apart, living in different, constant selves at the same time, from never becoming a whole that has limitations.” Julie Peters

I did not intend to pull myself apart this way. I believed I was in a state of coming back together rather than continued annihilation. I believed I was building a sanctuary of emotional safety rather than another crucible of violated vulnerability.  

Kali – my Goddess sister of fire I once cherished for her powers of transformation – can to go Hell. Her destruction demands too terrible a sacrifice this time.

I am shattered. I work to gather each fragment, soaked in the blood of birth and betrayal, and lay them with great care on the hearth of my heart, to be tended with the warmth of compassion and the heat of self awareness.

Each day I pick up a remnant of who I was to study the places where I am broken, to discern the shape of the wound and the medicine it needs to heal. I learn the language of bloodlines and grieflines to understand the unfolding of this story over the generations of my family.

Today I discover something new about the wild little girl hidden deep in the cave of my soul. She is my Invisible Girl, the one who lashes out like a wounded animal when triggered by emotional violence. I learn she suffers from complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Each insult, degradation, humiliation, and threat from someone I trust tears through our scars, piercing the raw terror of our old wounds. She roars when we are triggered to chase our tormentors away from the places that hold a lifetime of pain, the places our mother and our lovers violated us again and again. She is not over-reacting. She is justifiably desperate to protect us from more violation. She fights for our need for emotional safety, not realizing she violates ourself and others by reacting with verbal violence.

We have lived in a ceaseless state of fear for too long. Today I break the spell. Her voice, our voice, can be a tool for healing, a tool for self-preservation, and/or a tool for verbal assault. I know that her words, our words, shine light into the shadows of family-of-origin emotional violence in myself and others. I am in the process of learning how to empower myself and speak my truth through love and compassion, rather than violate my perpetrators through loud voice, aggressive tone, and harsh words. Now I finally understand that no one can see the light if it is wrapped in the shadow of unconscious mutual violation.

Never Not Broken by Laura Keenados
Never Not Broken by Laura Keenados

I root around my medicine bag to find the tinctures of love and friendship and the potions of self-care, immediate remedies for my terrible grief. They nourish me as I do the work of piecing myself together and facing an unfathomable future with all the grace I can muster. The largest bottle, Eros, holds the devotion and steadfast love of the man who keeps choosing me, over and over again, remaining by my side despite the wild girl’s attempts to chase him away when we hurt. He truly sees me, and reflects through the mirror of our relationship the beauty of who I am in all my brokenness. Several bottles contain the unconditional love of my children, and the precious care of beloved heartsisters that hold safe space for both my unraveling and my resurrection, also reflecting my beauty in the process. There is always a pen and paper, because writing and art are my primary tools for transforming my pain into a narrative of triumph. And there are potions for self care – counseling, massage, nourishing food, rest, candlelight, reading, and making art – that slowly restore my body, mind, heart, and soul.

I also seek healing through the wisdom of experts and teachers. I am studying the neurobiology of trauma and complex PTSD as a consequence of repeated emotional abuse in childhood and adult relationships. I am exploring the concept of emotional violence as the primary language of relationship that many of us learn(ed) through our families, and how we perpetuate the emotional violence in our personal and professional relationships because we do not know something different is possible, and because we do not believe we are worthy of a relationship where love is the primary language. I am learning how change is not possible if we do not feel worthy, which is why so many of us spin our wheels with self-help books and workshops. We do not understand that it is impossible to have an experience of love that we do not feel worthy of.

In the sanctuary of my home and emotionally safe relationships I continue to do the healing work of unravelling my pain, discovering my inherent worthiness, and rewriting my stories of breaking into stories of restoration.

I am she who is never not broken.

I am she who is always facing the unfathomable and birthing new possibilities.

I am she who loves herself beyond all limitations.

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