then walk upon the culmination of our experiences, our strengths and our weaknesses
and use them to get to the next chapter in our lives.
Magnificent thought isn't it?
Except, sometimes our foundations crack before we are even really started. What should have been a solid start on which to build our lives, needs to be repaired, if not totally destroyed and started all over again. I remember when the first crack appeared in my foundation. Years ago, when I was barely 20 years old, my mom decided that was a good age to tell me that the man who I thought was my father, wasn't. Big crack. Huge. Devastating. Then, over the next decade or so, that big crack splintered off into even more cracks that widened and chipped away slowly at the foundation of my life.
Know what happens to something broken when you leave it to fix itself? It stays broken. Then one day, under the weight from a fallen feather, it will either explode into a million pieces or simply fold in on itself and the pieces get blown away with the winds of change. Whether you are ready or not.
Time and experiences that should have been solidifying the foundation of my life were instead destroying it. I knew on some level what was happening and after careful consideration decided that I no longer cared. There was nothing that I could do to prevent the total demolition of my life’s foundation which culminated a little over three years back. At a time in my life when my focus should have been on filling the rooms of my existence with happy memories, adorning the walls with photos of those magic moments and bursts of love and laughter from all of those who I had brought in to be a part of my journey; my focus was instead on the scattered pieces of everything I had ever known.
As the dust slowly settled from the firestorm that leveled my foundation I realized with sudden clarity – I had absolutely no idea where to go from here. No idea on how one builds a life from scratch. While I had plenty of new beginnings over the years, none were of this magnitude.
There is a whole span of time from something ending and something beginning that no one ever warns you about. I now consider this the healing time. A time to pull within yourself and focus on you. Especially, if like me, your life had never really been your own in the first place. This span between the destruction and the rebuilding is the time you need to get reacquainted with yourself. The amount of time this takes is different for everyone. (It's also a huge lesson in patience.)
How are you supposed to believe in the power and magic of new beginnings when you have no idea where, what and how to even start? After a while the pressure builds up and threatens to completely overwhelm you. It is exhausting. Anytime you have to restart life after something destroys the foundation you have carefully constructed, when your world falls out beneath you, what follows next is like purgatory. You are neither here nor there. Up or down. You simply are. Breathing, yes. Still standing, mostly. Battered and bruised for sure and unwilling to trust yourself to get to the next step in life, probably.
When you lose your foundation it's losing a huge part of your identity and you are left wondering; "Who the hell am I now?" Which has been my world lately.
Everything we build in life starts with a cornerstone.
We are the cornerstone.
We are the anchor that holds it all together and it's high time we figured that out. The cornerstone of our lives is within us. It begins and ends within. However, what I have learned is this: every brick we use to build our "new or redesigned foundation," is not for building walls! Take those pieces, add new insights and knowledge and lay them at your feet as stepping stones. For the foundation of your life is in the steps you take to heal, to love and to live.
The cornerstone we build from is simply the sum of who we were before life changed.
Through our healing, we gather pieces to build with. Knowledge, strength, insight and wisdom we will never lose. Using these as our foundation, our stepping stones, we will then walk upon the culmination of our experiences, our strengths and our weaknesses and use them to get to the next chapter in our lives. Sometimes, when we grow weary, we can use them to build a bench to sit upon and reflect for a while, but we must always continue on. Guided by the whispering of our soul inside our hearts, our gut feelings and instincts that have been honed by our experiences and the strength of our shoulders we earned from carrying the weight of the world for so long.
A broken and shattered moment in life is giving you the necessary pieces to place at your feet to lead you to whatever comes next. We may have no idea what is around the corner. In truth, we never have and we've made it this far. Life is a journey, an adventure. It is an epic tale, mystery, sometimes love story, sometimes tragic tale. Each chapter is a stage in life where we learn or grow, discover or heal, love or hate, triumph or fail. Every new chapter growing from one that ended using the broken pieces of the one before as stepping stones into the next awaiting chapter. Eventually, when your time on earth is through, every single broken piece will have been weaved together, not as a foundation, but as the stepping stones on your life's path. The mosaic of the final piece , telling the most beautiful story...
The story of your life.