Originally published on Thumpcity.com

The Beauty of the Broken

There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken, a shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable. There is a cry deeper than all sound whose serrated edges cut the heart as we break open to the place inside which is unbreakable and whole, while learning to sing."
                                                                                                                  - Rashani

Recently I went to New York City to see a friend off on a yearlong sojourn to London where he'll be doing something with junk bonds. Perhaps it was a misty feeling that I'd miss his mug or maybe there was something in the air, but the city seemed somehow truly gray and filled with more homeless and down-on-their-lucks than I'd remembered. In one day we encountered more people who had broken-spirited demeanors than I'd seen in the entire past year.

There is a beauty to the broken people. The ones with sharp edges encasing soft underbellies - the sharper the edges, the softer the underbelly. This thought fled through my consciousness as I watched the people-parade marching by. But really they were floating more than marching, in a slow-motion dance to the music only they can hear.

It isn't that time or life or circumstance forgot these people - that's not the sole source of the haunted jaguar look in their eyes. It's more that they know life's dirty little secrets and wish they didn't. If all humans are equipped with a "forgetting device" at birth, theirs are defective. They are cursed with the dubious gift of memory. They remember only the terrible and forget the joyful. For them, wires and buttons are crossed causing them to go through life seeking solutions, cures, chasing false dreams - all the while getting ever more tangled and snarled with each little death of hope.

But still they do keep hoping against all reason and logic. And therein lies the beauty. That hope is impossible to kill. Even if they end their own lives out of surface hopelessness and desperation - in that one final irreversible act there's a kind of twisted hope - to be seen. I have this theory that it isn't just love that makes this pupil-less green-blue eye go around; it's an aching desire to be known. That connects us and separates us and keeps us real. Love is merely the oil that lubricates the gears coating us all smoothly in a rich, dark, liquid smoothness. Hope is the real fuel, the forward momentum. Hope to be seen as you truly are is premium. Hope to stop seeing and feeling and being like everyone else is regular. Some give in to it - others give over and still others give up. But who among us hasn't experienced all three states of existence?

It's a truth so utterly simple and pure it's almost laughable how we keep messing it up. Instead of seeing it, we cloak ourselves in our "safe" illusions and mystery as grace weeps rivers of thwarted glory. So what's the answer? Dunno. If I had the answer I'd watch it rise up into the atmosphere like air bubbles through water, Because that's what broken people do. And that's the only path to wholeness - to release the need for answers but keep the questions coming. To let go of fantasies but not the dreams - never the dreams. To breathe in disaster and breathe it out again, transformed into something with fluttering wings.

Like the movies and songs say - take a closer look at everyday angels and zombies, frogs and princes. Each are broken in different ways, either clinging to death or innocence and denying themselves the whole spectrum of the in-between.

Being broken must be its own kind of purgatory. There's always the waiting underneath, interrupted only momentarily by occasional flashes of brilliant understanding that it's the waiting that's the problem. And also by the knowledge that it's OK to step outside of the person that you want to be and to be the person that you are. And like a miracle, the brokenness is gone, except for the traces of beauty it leaves behind like a chrysalis.

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