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  • Writer's pictureLianne van der Walt

Broken but Beautiful

There is not one of us who can honestly say we are not broken in some way. From the time we are born, our purpose is to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Every experience is an opportunity from which to grow and this is what our lives are about. We spend so much time looking for our unique purpose, thinking it is some grand undertaking, when really it is just to experience all our life has to offer and then decide what to do with what we have learned – it’s that simple.

Every experience comes with its teachers; anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, jealousy, anticipation, surprise, trust, joy and excitement to mention just a few. It is easy to share our positive experiences, but what about those that cause us harm, that challenge us and leave us feeling broken and damaged? This is where the gold lies – this becomes the purpose of our lives.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen’s ‘Anthem’

Kintsugi’ the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the damage with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum embodies this thought. The obvious damage becomes a thing of unique beauty not to be ashamed of and hidden from sight. The damage is seen as part of the history of the object and valued as such. What if we could do the same, taking the pieces of ourselves that have been damaged by life’s ups and downs and turning these experiences into gold?

Maggie’s story is one such story. I came across her on Instagram on her page ‘Maggiethewunderdog’ Abandoned, heavily pregnant, blind, shot 17 times and with an ear that had been cut off, she was found by a good Samaritan on the streets of Lebanon. The ‘Wild at heart Foundation’ (A global dog rescue organization) rescued her and found her a home with an amazing woman in the UK.

Maggie has subsequently become an internet sensation. She has undergone many surgeries, had 4 bullets removed from her eyes which were sewn shut, her pregnancy was terminated, and she will have to live with a head full of ‘shrapnel’ for the rest of her life. In spite of her awful injuries and obvious pain and suffering, Maggie has become an ambassador for the Foundation and spreads love wherever she goes. She qualified as a therapy dog prior to Covid and would go on a regular basis to aged care homes to entertain and love the residents. She loves dressing up for photo shoots and is often seen with a board around her neck offering free hugs to local passers-by. She runs and plays with wild abandon, filled with joy and an absolute zest for life. You would think following her terrible abuse she would be wary of strangers and fearful, but Maggie adores absolutely everyone. She has turned her broken and disfigured body into gold.

“I am not what has happened to me, I am what I choose to become” ~ Carl Jung

Ultimately, it is not so much what happens to us that is important, but rather what we decide to do with it that counts. It is only through our own suffering and difficult experiences that we truly come to understand the meaning of empathy and compassion. In order to love another, we must begin with ourselves, accepting all of who we are.

Louise Hay, the great American teacher and author of ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ would always teach, “I am enough.” Accept all of who you are, without judgement – only then can you do the same for someone else.

Just as Maggie did, choose not to remain a victim, it takes a lot of energy to remain stuck in the past when everything and everyone around you is moving forward. Healing does take work, focus, and commitment, but I would rather invest my time and energy creating a better version of myself from all that I have learned and experienced, than spend my resources trying to cover up and hide wounds which ultimately, we all have.

It is our pain and our imperfection that makes us unique and so incredibly beautiful. Your life, the positive and negative influences on it, and all that you have learned from these experiences, are what ultimately become your purpose. What you choose to do with what you know now becomes your gift - your gold.

For more inspiration and love from Maggie – look for her on:

Instagram: ‘maggiethewunderdog’

For more on her story – she has a book ‘Maggie the Wunderdog’ available on Amazon

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