Pillars of Light – Preparing our Vessel Part 2: Cracking Open, Not Broken

Guest Post by Jane Large, Retreat Attendee & Mentor, Circle Member

In Japan, Kintsukuroi, is the ancient art of mending broken or cracked pottery with gold or silver. In this tradition, the belief is that the object is more beautiful for having been broken…

We tend to avoid breaking anything in fear of being seen as clumsy or foolish; we also often avoid our own breaking in fear of appearing weak or vulnerable. It seems as humans we often hide breaking because we feel guilt or shame, or we may try to make ourselves unbreakable by becoming hard, armouring ourselves and our hearts because we feel this can protect us against our own pain. For some of us, like myself, a period of armouring may help us survive, or perhaps it was the only way we learned to act. However, with such hard armour we may become rigid and our fluid Essence may become blocked or trapped. Sometimes, an initial breaking or cracking open is what is necessary to set us free from the armour we have built up around or within ourselves before we can soften into the home of our own Body, Heart and Soul.

What I just described has been true for me in my journey to reclaim my value and to prepare my Vessel to hold the Full Light of Truth that dwells within me. For a time I became very rigid as a way to feel safe, to feel in control; I did this as a means to protect myself against feeling my own pain. However, when it was time to crack open, I was gifted with many experiences that allowed me to move into where I am now, flowing in my Truth as best I am able to in every now moment. In my experience, when we are ready to crack open, our Teacher arrives. One my most sacred Teachers in the purpose and beauty of cracking open, is my first Grandmother drum. My first drum came to me over ten years ago when it was the Divine Timing for me to rise out of rigidity and into the birthing of my gifts and purpose.

My first Grandmother drum called me to it, placing me in the perfect place and the perfect time to find it. I had a booth at a health show in Toronto where I was selling the natural skin care products I make. My booth was across the isle from a couple from Quebec who crafted traditional Native American-style hand drums. Sometime during the show the couple approached me and asked if I would like to trade my products for a drum. Initially I told them I would think about it; I had no idea what I would use a drum for. However, on the last day of the show, just as we had begun packing up, I felt a strong urge I did not understand to accept their offer. I asked how I would figure out which drum I would get. The husband said it would be a good idea to try a few out and that I would know the right one. After a playing a few drums and feeling nothing, he gave me my drum; when I began to play my drum, I began to sob uncontrollably with a feeling of intense joy. It was then I understood that this was the drum I would be taking home.

Many years later when I finally came to Northern Edge Algonquin for the Heart Flame of Shamanism gathering, I still had not played my drum- for fear of breaking it, for fear of doing it wrong. However, I heard her call to come with me to the Edge and so I answered that call. The first time I played my drum while in circle at Points North is day I will never forget. It was a feeling of being drummed, like the spirit of my drum was moving through me. I was also drumming with such an intensity that I was afraid my drum would break, but if I tried to hold back my arm would feel blocked.

After that initial gathering, drumming became a regular part of my life. One day a few years ago, I noticed that my drum was beginning to split slightly around her edges and that she had popped one of her eyelets. I sat down with her and cried; I cried because I was devastated that she was breaking. I cried and apologized to her for playing her too hard and breaking her. As I sobbed and gazed into her face, I heard her speaking back to me in a firm, yet loving voice. My drum told me that I need not cry; that she had come to help me crack open, that this was her medicine and her purpose. She said that this is why I player her (or she drummed me!) with such intensity – to crack me open and free my Essence. She said one day she might shatter into many pieces while I played her and on that day I should celebrate. From this experience I realized I was attached to the belief I would have this drum forever, instead of allowing the drum to serve its purpose. And after this experience, I let go of the worry and guilt of breaking her, accepting her purpose and allowing myself to receive her gift as she supported me in my own cracking open, breaking free. Although I do not often feel called to play her anymore, when I do, it is with the same undeniable intensity with which I first player her; and I know in those moments she is offering herself in service to me so that I might become a stronger, more fluid and clear Vessel for the Light of Full Truth to shine.

My drum helped me see that breaking or cracking open is the exact opposite of shameful. I remembered that sometimes in order to become stronger, we must first break. We must first break free of a false sense of security that comes from our hardness or rigidity, be it mental, emotional, or physical. Sometimes to see clearly, to see with our True Eyes, all that we think we know must shatter to reveal the illusion it is. After cracking open, there is a period of reflection and regrouping which can be a rich opportunity to strengthen, become more flexible and to see more clearly.  To benefit from a breaking, we must shift our perceptions of breaking so that we can understand this process with gratitude. When we shift from a victim mentality into a practice of gratitude for all of Life’s unfoldings, then we reclaim our personal empowerment and choose to move forward towards our Highest Potential. We can make this shift in our perceptions through compassion, forgiveness, and awareness.

For myself, it has been in my breaking, my complete cracking open, that allowed all that had been suppressed or pushed into the Shadows to flow freely and eventually be integrated and healed. After years of feelings like hardness or rigidity was a way to protect myself, I have remembered that it takes more strength, and builds more strength, to allow myself to break, or rather, crack open, because I know from experience that once I ‘pick up the pieces’ and mine the gold and gems from the experiences, I am all the better for it – stronger, wiser, more clear. In truth, I see that these experiences are breakthroughs.

The experiences of cracking open with my first Grandmother Drum have supported me in remembering who I am and to walk through the cracks into my Heart where I have come home to myself and to a deeper understanding of the Sacred Truths of all Life. I believe that by allowing our hardness to be cracked open, we allow our natural resilient softness to emerge. In time, there may be no more need to break, as we become more and more clear, more and more aligned with the Full Truth of our Being.

Home Practice

While listening to the Cedar Song (sung by me with my first drum), I invite you to connect with your Heart to remember an experience that helped you crack open.

Ask to connect with a Helper that is willing to offer themselves to bring you through the Timeline of that experience. What gems from that experience are awaiting to be reclaimed? How has that experience supported you in preparing your Vessels to receive and hold more Light, allowing you to embody the Pillar of Light within.

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1 thought on “Pillars of Light – Preparing our Vessel Part 2: Cracking Open, Not Broken”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story Jane. You mention the Japanese art (Kintsukuroi) of mending cracked pottery. Are you familiar with Peter Mayer’s folk song ‘Japanese Bowl’ (available on YouTube)? I believe it captures that idea very nicely.

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