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Embrace the Breakdown: A Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Life doesn't just "happen." Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. Choose wisely. We can understand what is emerging in us on an individual and societal level more clearly, simply by taking a closer look at our thoughts, language and actions.
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Out of my greatest rejection came my greatest direction.

A crisis in Chinese means "opportunity." On the surface a crisis is unexpected, it creates uncertainty, chaos, and it threatens our current ways of being. When a crisis hits we become very focused and attuned to holding onto to the old, but when we are willing to take responsibility and see beyond the surface, we begin to see that crisis can be a tool to all that we have ever desired. Pressure creates beautiful things, including diamonds and babies in the labor room. The breakdown is pointing to your freedom if you choose to look deep enough.

I'm somebody who went from being kicked out of multiple high schools to earning straight As in my three-year master's program and speaking all over the country. Then one afternoon, I found myself sitting in the cardiologist's office next to people my grandparent's age when I received the news that I could die at the ripe age of 25. The doctors discovered a murmur in my heart. I immediately became hyper aware of every heartbeat, knowing that each beat could be my last one. I was mentally rehearsing worst-case scenarios over and over, and the cells in my body we reacting according to my thoughts.

Leading up to this "opportunity," I easily looked 15 years older than I was because of all the stress I was putting on myself. We live in a cause and effect world where what we put in is what we get out and what goes up... well, must come down. The crisis of my diagnosis that led to a breakdown was the event that changed me forever.

I wouldn't be who I am today had I not made the decision to see the opportunity in crisis. Many people ask me now how I ended up a healthy, vibrant, and empowered young man, and I tell this story because it was the catalyst in my transformation. I always tell people, "as long as there is breath in your body, you are supported."

Life will always throw us curve balls, but it is how we respond to them that determines our outcome. We can either see them as our stepping-stones or our tombstone... the choice is ours.

Here are a few ways in which you can embrace your breakdown that worked for me:

• Language: Most people don't realize their language is a huge barrier to their freedom. Unless it's literally the end of the world... it's not the end of the world. We first want to take full ownership for our part in the "breakdown" and acknowledge our responsibility in creating it. This pushes the subconscious mind out of victim mode and into investigation, where true possibility lies, and where we can begin to express from a place of responsibility, especially when speaking with others. Realize that every time you tell the story of your breakdown without responsibility in your language, you will receive sympathy that will keep holding you down, and your subconscious mind will simply relive the event over and over again leaving no space for growth.

• Schedule It: Take the time to scream and cry. Throw a temper tantrum! It can be both healthy and necessary for the ultimate release of the crisis. However, choose a day, week, or month to consciously let go and move forward. This is a key component in using your breakdown to take you to the next level and embrace the opportunity. I always remind my coaching clients that it's not real until you schedule it.

• Mastermind: Everything you see was once someone else's idea. Nothing exists in your world that didn't first exist as pure thought energy. Move into big picture thinking, start to see the difference between what you want and what you're currently experiencing. We live in a creative universe where things can transform instantaneously if we choose it, but in order for anything to happen we must first see it in our mind's eye. I chose to see myself as healthy and vibrant. I learned to envision in my mind what I could not presently see with my own eyes. I based my thinking on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental creation, followed by the physical manifestation -- just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.

• Forgiveness: In the book Radical Forgiveness, Colin Tipping says:

Through relationship we grow and learn. Through relationship we heal and are returned to wholeness and truth. We need others to mirror our misperceptions and our projections and to help us bring repressed material to consciousness for healing.

We attract those who will bring out the best in us, as well as the worst. If you have abandonment issues, you will attract people who abandon you until you face this pattern and heal it. Allow the idea that your soul has lovingly created every situation for you, regardless of how good or painful it feels in the moment. In acceptance lies forgiveness, and when in doubt focus out. Give -- giving is a sure fire way to come back to center.

A flower's purpose is to bloom. It starts as a seed and then cell by cell grows into the beautiful flower it was meant to be. Our only job is to create an opening for higher awareness, deeper truth, and new ideas and insight that help us grow and bloom in life.

Life doesn't just "happen." Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. Choose wisely. We can understand what is emerging in us on an individual and societal level more clearly, simply by taking a closer look at our thoughts, language and actions.

For more by Preston Smiles, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.