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Broken Open



I, CrisMarie, feel uncomfortable in my own skin, my own life. It’s like what I’ve built doesn’t fit me anymore.

I feel my insides stirring, but don’t quite understand the stirring. Pressure is rising within my chest. It’s as if my soul is pressing against the person I’ve been, determined to emerge, ripping apart the shell of me and my life as grows.

I’m not comfortable. Emotions are churning inside, rage for all I’ve haven’t said, grief for the things I haven’t done, lost opportunities. There’s an impulse to tear away all that’s holding me back without knowing what that is.

It’s easy for me to suck others into the whirlpool of emotions – to think they’re the problem. They’re not. That’s me projecting my internal battle onto them.

You see, not all of me is on board with this process. Two sides of me are fighting: the old and the new. This is the source of the chaotic, tumultuous, and threatening sensations.

Something in me is no longer willing to sit back in the shadows, yet my personality is determined to hold on and keep my current life intact.

My soul won’t be ignored. It wants freedom, expression.

Can You Relate?

Have you ever woken up either slowly or all of a sudden and felt like … wow?

  • Your life doesn’t fit you anymore.

  • You feel trapped and desperately want to get out.

  • You hate your life!

If so, you know it’s discombobulating and uncomfortable, especially since there’s not a clear sense of what to do to “fix it.” There’s just a knowing that your life isn’t working.

More Me

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me.

The last time several years back, such an emotional tumult upheaval initiated a deep healing journey. I ended relationships and made business decisions which resulted in a financial contraction I’m still recovering from.

Would I go back? Absolutely not. The person I became was better than before, more me.

I’m traversing another turn of the spiral.

Another layer is molting.

Do I know what’s going to happen on the other side? Heck no. I do know that whatever happens, I’ll wind up being even more me, which isn’t that what this journey of life is about?

I won’t lie. It’s tempting to just shove these uncomfortable feelings back down. Heck, I’ve worked for years to create what I’ve created: work, relationships, and home. Who knows what’s up for grabs? That is frickin’ scary!

I have come to trust the process. To honor that what’s inside matters.

It’s Worth It

Plus, I’ve coached and worked with enough people who ignored the call or shoved the emotions down. As a result, they struggled with chronic illnesses, addictions, miserable relationships, and jobs they hated.

No, I do believe it’s worth it. It’s a time of growth. New possibilities.

Plus, life isn’t always like this. We all cycle through change and plateaus. When we hit our plateaus, we feel good, everything is going along well. We may even take great strides forward.

Eventually, we’re all confronted with tumultuous change.

Sometimes change is has been heralded in through an external crisis:

  • job loss

  • divorce

  • death of a loved one

  • a health crisis

Sometimes change emerges from within, either quickly or by a gradual waking up to what no longer fits. Either way, change is a challenging process.

The Antidote?

There’s no short cut. You need to go through. The pressure is your emotional energy wanting to move through your system. To clear out the old and usher in the new. So you need to feel your feelings fully. Breathe and express.

How? Take some time, about 5 to 8 minutes to just breathe, deep belly breaths and high chest breaths. Then allow the energy that’s there to be expressed.

  • If it’s anger, let yourself rage, pound pillows, or twist a towel.

  • If it’s sadness, let yourself cry wail and moan.

Believe me, right now, our house is not quiet. Yes, sound and expression are how the pressure moves through you. Oh, and it’s not a one-and-done kind of deal. You’ll likely have to repeat it often.

The good news: the answers to what you seek are on the other side. You’ll start to notice what feels good and what doesn’t. You’ll start to find your voice and ask for what you want and say no to what doesn’t.

Change is an iterative process of getting to know one’s self and slowly bringing your life into alignment with you. If this is happening for you now, let yourself emerge. You’ll be happier on the other side. If it’s not now, remember these tools when you hit your change process.

If I can do it, you can too!


CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.

Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.


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