Rise Above the Ruins

Rise Above the Ruins


Have you ever felt so broken that you feel as if your life will never be whole again?  Perhaps life as you knew it has crumbled all around you and you find yourself staring at the ruins of your life.

I have been there and it is a very dark and isolating place to be.  It is a place that no one wants to go yet we often fall into the deep potholes in the road of life struggling to get out.

Why does life have to be so hard? How does any one of us sometimes end up taking those complicated and messy roads that bring us to destinations we never wanted to experience or see?

Life has a way of sneaking up behind us and without warning it can implode.

Sadly, there are times that things fall apart and there is nothing we can do to prevent it.   It is in those tragic moments that it becomes obvious that life is sometimes unfair.

But what about those things that happen in life that are in our control?  It is those behaviors that push the limits and challenge our ability to do the right thing or just say no.  Choice is a powerful thing and yet when given the gift of choice, we as humans, sometimes make the wrong ones.

The result?  We end up broken and living in a chaotic mess.  The foundation we worked so hard to build crumbles and falls silently to ruins in the blink of an eye.  It happens.  Every day.

Life does happen and sometimes we are forced to face tough stuff.  Health issues, divorce, disabilities, loss of a loved one, job loss, mental health issues, abuse, low self-esteem and abandonment are just some of the things that can seep into our lives and leave us feeling trapped and struggling to breathe.

Yup life happens but in the end, it is not always what happens to us that leads to shattered lives left in ruin.  It is sometimes the choices we make and what vices we choose to help cope and numb the pain that can turn our lives upside down.  Alcohol, drugs, food addiction, gambling, sex and working too much are just a few of the things that can knock the wind out of us.

For years, I chose wrong.  On the outside it seemed as if I had everything under control.  I could handle anything.  Divorce?  No problem.  Abandonment issues with my alcoholic dad?  Didn’t bother me.  Death of a loved one?  I am strong and I know how to grieve.  Full time job and single mom?  I can do it all.  Never feeling good enough or worthy of love?  It does not matter.

Basically there were plenty of times over the years that life challenged and tested me but I was strong.  I could handle anything, right?  Wrong.  I was broken on the inside and I did what so many of us do.  I reached out in desperation grabbing anything I could find to plug the holes that had penetrated my soul.

The problem? So many of the things we reach for are impulsive and they are temporary.  We repeatedly make the wrong choices in a desperate attempt to numb the pain.  Binge drinking, emotional eating, looking for love in all the wrong places were nothing more than a band-aid and in the end, those band aids only lead to more pain.  It doesn’t work.

So what do we do when our lives crumble and fall apart?  Is it possible for people to repair what is broken and put themselves back together again?  How do we rebuild and learn to find happiness?

I know from experience that there are no easy answers but I also know that it can be done.  We can rebuild our lives, heal what is broken and in the end we can rise above the ruins and rediscover happiness.  Is it easy? No, but people do it every day.  I did it and I can honestly say life is good.

People are incredibly resilient and it is sometimes when we hit our lowest points in life that we find out how strong we really are.  It is sometimes when life feels the darkest that we learn how to fight back and to say NO MORE.

Unfortunately, people sometimes have to hit rock bottom before they can find the strength and determination to climb out and rise above the ruins.  I have seen unbelievable grit and resilience in so many people who have had enough and don’t want to live a messy chaotic life anymore.

Quite honestly, it starts with one step.  One step in the right direction can change your life.  Changing your life and learning to make the right choices and avoid the landmines start with finding your WHY.

What is your WHY?  That, my friends, is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself.  If you are broken or your life is not where you want it to be you need to find your why.  Why do you want to be different or why do you want to change?  If you can find your WHY and it is compelling enough, you are one step closer to putting your life back together again.

Change is hard.  Period.  Most human beings do not like change and actually try to avoid it.  We are creatures of habit even if they are bad habits that sometimes cause us pain.  Change means stepping outside of our comfort zones and doing things we don’t necessarily want to do because…drum roll please…IT IS HARD.

Change is hard but life is change.  If you are not happy with your life, with yourself or with something in your life it is time to figure out why and step outside of your comfort zone.

Step 2 is all about self-awareness, being brutally honest with yourself and recognizing that things are not working anymore. Step three means making the decision and commitment to do whatever it takes to make those changes.

In truth, you will wave the white flag of surrender to the dark side if you are not truly ready to go into battle with commitment and ready to fight. Be honest with yourself and put your super-hero cape of strength on and step up to the plate.

Finally, you need to believe in yourself.  It is critical that you believe that you can.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else believes but it matters if you do.

Trust me when I say I am not trying to simplify the task at hand.  It takes time and a lot of hard work.  But, for me, my life transformation started with those first steps.  Without them I would have remained broken and stuck.

Quite honestly, I believe anyone can change regardless of their past.  People have the strength to rise above the ruins and become whom they were meant to be.  Everyone deserves to live a life filled with peace and joy.

Life can get in the way for a million different reasons but that doesn’t mean we can’t push through those barriers and create a new and better life.  Again, it comes down to making a choice.  The past does not have to define you.  In fact, embracing the past can lead to infinite wisdom. There is wisdom in the wounds and it is sometimes because of the darkness or the pain in our wounds that we learn to flourish and transform our lives.

Eat, Pray and Love is one of my favorite books and movies.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Julia Roberts (who plays Elizabeth Gilbert) visits the Augusteum.  One of the most powerful quotes in the movie is, “Ruin is a gift.  Ruin is the road to transformation.”

For me, these words ring true. Years later, I can reflect and I know that I would not be who I am today if I had not gone through some of the tough things in my past.  Mistakes and all.

Some of the ruins in my life turned into gifts and led me to live a much happier life.

You too can rise above the ruins and transform your life.  Dig deep, find your why and believe that you can.  You are stronger than you think.

In Peace and With Love,



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