I struggle with the illusion of completeness.
It gives false expectations and sets you up to fail because life is a constant ebb and flow. We never truly ‘have it all’ because we’re all broken.
And there’s a Goddess for that: the Hindu goddess Akhilandeshvari is the Goddess of Never Not Broken. I’ll come to her in a moment.
The self-help and spiritual realm are full of successful ‘gurus’ showing the world that life can be perfect and wonderful and hiccup-free. They present a version of their reality that displays this publicly – and who doesn’t want to have a life where everything runs like clockwork, money just flows in right direction and you’re constantly plugged in to angels or spirit?
It’s good business to show the world the smiley, happy side of life. It helps to sell books or tickets to conferences and workshops.
The story goes something like this…
……I was down, having a bad time and then I did X. My life turned around…. it’s amazeballs, as you can see from Instagram and my Facebook page. Put your shades on because it’s all mega-watt smiles and happy, purring kittens. Plus, I have a fabulous book/offer/whatever and I’ll tell you the secrets of how you can be just like me.
For those of us who aspire to one day have a big publishing house deal and do the conference circuit, there is an unspoken expectation to follow the lead of showing positivity, even when we might be going through our own personal hell. We edit our own stories because who would want to take advice from someone who doesn’t ‘have it all’? We feel as if we should have, and be, all the answers.
We pressurise ourselves into showing life through rose-tinted glasses because we feel that’s what we should do. If we want to help people we can’t be broken ourselves.
And yet, when our lives aren’t all glued together neatly and they’re laying scattered around our feet, we can find strength, wisdom and empathy with others.
Let’s step back into ancient Greece for a moment or two to meet a centaur like no other: Chiron.
While centaurs were wild and lusty, Chiron was different. He looked different with his front human legs, rather than full horse lower body. He had a good lineage too, being the son of the Titan Cronus. He was kind, gentle, a great teacher and a master healer.
One day, Hercules came to visit Chiron. Chiron was looking at Hercules’s arrows that were dipped in the venom of the Lernaean hydra and he dropped one on his left foot. The arrow pierced his flesh and poisoned him. Being a top-notch healer, Chiron pulled out his herbs but he couldn’t heal himself. After nine-days he passed into the stars.
I first met Chiron in the Spiral Tarot deck. He’s the Hierophant. The great wounded healer is the bridge between us humans and divinity. He knows the answers even though he is broken too.
A while ago and then more recently on my Facebook timeline, I wrote about depression. I was timid about sharing my story because I too sometimes fall into the pressure of feeling as if must show life without its bumps and dips in the road.
But stories from the heart need to be told. By putting my words out there, other people realized they were not alone with their feelings of apathy, emptiness or lack for life lustre.
Chiron’s story doesn’t take away that he was a brilliant teacher and sought-after healer. He couldn’t do for himself what he could do for others but that doesn’t make him less. No one thought he was a fraud or a fake or a flake – a couple of millennia later and he’s still known for his ability to heal and teach.
And that brings me back to the lovely Akhilandeshvari, the goddess of Never Not Broken.
Never Not Broken. To that, I can relate.
This goddess doesn’t even try to be complete because she gets her power from constantly reforming. She’s pulls together to pull herself apart. Never static, never whole, always in a state of flux.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Akhilandeshvari. She’s the reminder that we were not designed to have a life that is eternally steady and free from challenges – each of us has difficulties, regardless of what the social media feed might say.
We can still be mighty healers and teachers like Chiron whilst being broken.
We have a view in the West that broken means redundant. It’s difficult for us to grasp that broken can be beautiful or powerful too (Akhilandeshvari rides on a crocodile – that’s power over fear).
The Japanese have an art of fixing broken pottery called kintsugi. They use lacquer mixed with gold powder to mend broken pottery because they believe the break and repair is part of the object’s history. It doesn’t need to be disguised, nor discarded – being broken ends up as something beautiful, valuable and unique.
Never Not Broken. We are all broken. All the time. And in our broken-ness we are complete.