And Then I Had A Break Down

When the police man pulled me over the other night, the baby screaming in the car like a hungry, exhausted little person who’d spent too many hours at the county fair, I thought to myself: I will not cry.

And I did not cry. For the first two minutes. When he walked away with my license, I felt the quivering of my lip and began to cry like a child does, a blubbering kind of crying. Tears that don’t belong to any one thing but come from everything. In the end, he didn’t give me a ticket and I drove off towards a friends house with eyes swamped with water.

Was I crying because having a baby in a pandemic that keeps on going means doing anything or going anywhere is logistically a high order physics calculation? Was I crying because of the climate report, because my children will inherit the troubled land–land that has been troubled by human greed, insatiable consumption and the corruption of the sacred ENOUGH? Was I crying because I battle nearly daily the effects of pathology in my divorce? Or simply because the baby sprang some molars this week and woke up twice every night? Or because the next day I would bleed and that’s how hormones go? Or because I hate county fairs, especially during a pandemic, and did not enjoy walking by a woman as she verbally brutalized her child in public? (“You’re making me look crazy!” she screamed at her daughter at the end of her tirade. I wanted to say, “oh no, Mama, you’re doing that all by yourself.”) Was I crying because I’m looking towards the winter and wondering: will the house feel small? Will my children once again be trapped inside it? Will this extrovert be able to keep the group energy? Was I crying because I can’t get in a good savasana?

The pull-over from the friendly police officer, that proverbial last straw, exposed a weariness that I trust we all share. I have mostly gone through the distance of the pandemic with my optimism intact. I have wanted to give out only good and to keep believing in better. Fatigue, emotional and psychological, falls on all of us, I feel, for I have friends reaching out to tell me just this and I have those I counsel and mentor reflecting the same. We might ask ourselves, is it just me?

When I drove away from the police interaction, I went to the house of a friend who greeted me as I continued to blubber away. So too did her sons, and they particularly welcomed the baby. Soon we got to visit the new cat. I fed the baby. I fed myself. The baby found a ball and fell in love with it.

And the world is too much. Too much heartache and confusion, too much unknown and complication. The human mind and heart can do so much until it can do no more. My friend’s home became refuge and sanctuary in its simplicity, tangibility and presence. A bite of food. A cat’s tail. The smile of the eleven year old. The solid circle of the ball.

We can go to many places, but we cannot go to the future. And we can hold a ball, but not the earth. Every day I wake up and want more. This is vitality and life-force. I want more peace, space, love, abundance, goodness, renewal. Every day I wake up and believe again in the true things I have always believed in, ideas that have carried me through the seasons of my life. We can all go as far as we want to in our imagination, be it imaging the best or the worst outcome, and still we have we return to tender mercies of gravity. Foot here. Hand here. Sit. Walk. Sleep.

Said the police officer, “be careful.” I think he meant: pay attention. For a few minutes in time, he became my yoga teacher. It was not the class I wanted to take, but he brought on the tears that needed to come. It is that moment in which we feel “nothing is going right,” when the yoga teacher arrives–in whatever form they take–to say, pay attention. In that moment, the teacher helps return us to ourself–whatever that self may be, even a blubbering, broken-hearted self.

And right now, across from me, a gaggle of chickens with their lovely rump feathers up to the sky, search in the ground for a nibble. The sky is blue. The baby is sleeping. It is never not true that a break down is a breakthrough. For us and for the world itself. May it be so and may it be so and may it be so.



  1. Nancy Thayer on September 7, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Wow. This is powerful.

  2. Marjorie Townsend on September 7, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    I’m just curious-were you stopped on the ‘Hamp or Hadley side of the bridge? Sometimes we need to thank those “ friendly police people”. ( I tend to be fearful rather than grateful if pulled over).

    • Samantha Wilde on September 7, 2021 at 7:12 pm

      The Northampton side! He was very kind. But then there is white privilege. I never forget that.

  3. Amanda M on September 7, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    So beautifully said. I really see myself reflected in this.

  4. Suzanne Sloan on September 7, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    You beautifully put into words what ll of us have felt t least once in our lives. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Samantha Wilde on September 7, 2021 at 7:14 pm

      Thank you, Suzanne. And thank you for stopping by the blog!

  5. Jen Strong on September 7, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    I love this! And so many of us feeling similarly. Thank you.

  6. Judy R on September 7, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you, Sam, for saying/writing what we’ve all been feeling and showing how you’re working through it. I have a little medallion that was my father’s that hangs on a chain around my neck along with my cross. I find myself grasping it at times, as if I were reaching for my fathers’ hands. Help me Dad. Help me Father. Help me see this through.

    • Samantha Wilde on September 7, 2021 at 7:13 pm

      It’s powerful to have something tangible like that, a physical anchor. It’s very true in all the meditative and prayer traditions in all faiths to have something to touch during a prayer like yours. It’s a lovely practice.

  7. Ted on September 7, 2021 at 4:09 pm


  8. liliian miranda on September 7, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Beautiful , powerful and resonates deeply with me.
    Reminds me of what Mariame Kaba says about hope.. the idea of hope as a discipline
    and we have to practice it every single day.

    • Samantha Wilde on September 7, 2021 at 7:12 pm

      Yes, thank you for that. The practice of hope.

  9. Kathleen O'Donnell on September 8, 2021 at 11:03 am

    This is very eye opening… Yoga has helped me this last year! Thanks for sharing.

    • Samantha Wilde on September 8, 2021 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you, Kathleen. Nice to see you here!

  10. Tish Poulter on September 8, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    I think I have a mother’s prayer for you. I too, have been that space. I prayed, Oh help, help me through this, and help me to do what needs be done. Amen. It worked for me, and we may it through the day (s) I am so grateful for the help that comes I am also grateful when I pray that I’m drained, I need hope and rest. I’m grateful when it arrives.

    Sending Love and Hugs

    • Samantha Wilde on September 8, 2021 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you, Tish! That’s a lovely prayer. I’m always grateful when that hope and rest arrive, too!

  11. Marie Webber on September 9, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    This article resonated with me. I’ve had some stressors this summer, plus very little downtime, so I’ve been running on empty. Then, last week, I had two major home maintenance issues, one which was exhausting, plus a deadline to get to the Boston area to bring my mom to an appointment. I got through the worst of things but then started spinning with anxiety, some of it coming from all we’ve been through due to the pandemic, and some just from major fatigue which caused past difficulties I’ve had to handle to resurface. So, I can relate completely. Except, I can’t cry. Never have been able. Perhaps you can teach me?

    Thanks for describing how many of us are presently feeling!

    • Samantha Wilde on September 9, 2021 at 10:08 pm

      Yes! Would love to teach you! 🙂 Swami Kripalu taught that crying during yoga is the highest practice. Maybe since we do laughing practice we can have crying practice! Thanks for sharing how your week has been. We are in this together.

  12. Lynn Lloyd on September 16, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    ” It is never not true that a break down is a breakthrough. ” There are no truer words! How did you get so smart?!?!?

    • Samantha Wilde on September 17, 2021 at 8:28 am

      Probably because I’ve got such smart friends 😉

Leave a Comment