This heartbreaking ( to me at least) pile of crockery, is what is left of two of the most treasured possessions I have, my collection of Beatles souvenir plates. Not worth anything financially (they were part of a limited edition firing of 150 days, during which time I am sure you can mass produce a LOT of Beatles plates), they are, nonetheless, really valuable to me. I used to have a set of 6 which I bought at great expense (relatively speaking, they were very expensive to 20 year old me!) from an advert at the back of a Sunday paper magazine in 1993.
One got broken years ago by an ex boyfriend of my best friend, who knew what one of the ways to hurt her in a fight was to break the plate I had given her as a ‘way to remember me’ when I was away at university (I was only 40 miles away, but it was important!). The remaining 5 have been with me through countless house moves, survived (albeit somewhat smoke damaged) a fire in my house in 2006, and until this morning had pride of place on my living room wall. I was busy tapping away at my keyboard this morning, finishing this post, when a crash and smash alerted me to the fact that the Command Strips holding them up were not as effective as I had anticipated they would be.
I was rather distraught at the time, but on reflection, I am taking some lessons from this, as I tend to do with anything connected with my beloved Beatles, and especially the wonderful George Harrison.
All Things Must Pass
As George sang on his first solo album, all things must pass. Nothing lasts for ever, not us, not happiness, not sadness, not Beatles plates. We must appreciate the way things are in the moment, and not try to hang onto the things we love for ever. Good times will make way for bad, bad times will make way for good, and all material things eventually succumb to the laws of nature or physics (gravity had my plates!)
When you live life with gratitude for the things you have, you can always find things to be glad about. Even if it is nothing more than the ‘mere’ fact that you are alive, and where there is life and breath, there is always hope of a better tomorrow.
After feeling very upset for a few minutes about my broken plates, I reflected that I still have the surviving 3 (which I did, of course, remove from the wall as a precaution, and will get more substantial hooks to display them with). I am very grateful to have those, I do not have a great track record for keeping things that matter to me, so the fact that I still had these 5 until this morning was a fact to be celebrated in itself!
I then remembered that I had seen these plates on ebay, and, common as they are, they are really cheap, so decided to look to see if they can be replaced. They can, and to my absolute delight, I discovered that there are more designs available than the 6 I bought in 1993, so I can, should I choose, extend and replace my collection (hint to family and friends….these would make excellent Christmas presents!)
I would not have known this had those plates broken this morning!
We Can Work It Out
The incident, and a conversation I had with a friend got me thinking about the nature of broken things, and broken people.
We often talk about people being broken. When something is broken, it either needs an external force to repair it, or it gets discarded. We are not broken. Our bodies are remarkably self healing – many of the cells in our body are replaced when they die, the liver can regenerate itself as long as it isn’t too badly damaged, neuroplasticity in the brain means that we can recover from trauma and reprogramme embedded thought patterns through therapy, conscious awareness, and dedicated effort. We can develop incredible resilience and survive all sorts of situations you would never think a human being can get through with mind and body intact. We really are incredible creatures!
We talk about breakdowns as something to fear. At the time, they are indeed, very scary. I talk about the moment of breakdown in my own life, but often the breakdown is the point we need to reach in order to come to the breakthrough. Swami Gitananda, whos teachings I was trained in, taught that
“A nervous breakdown is actually an opportunity for a spiritual breakthrough if we can realise the positive implications in our moment of despair and dejection”
My Beatles plates are now broken far past the point of repair. I never was. I might have felt it, and you might be feeling it now, but I wasn’t, and neither are you. I needed to reach out for help, to turn to something bigger than me to help me access the strength that was always in me but I just didn’t know. You might need to do the same, but I promise you that the help you are seeking is there if you are open to it. I didn’t know that Yoga was going to be my path to sanity and sobriety, I thought it was going to be a nice way to earn a living, nothing more. But by being open to it, I allowed myself to absorb all the gifts it wanted to give me.
You don’t have to feel broken to want things to be better. How can you open yourself up to more help and support in your life?