There’s no great surprise in my saying that life comes accompanied by a roller coaster, jam-packed with every twist, turn, loop-de-loo, and technical difficulty you can conceive, not all of them bad, most of which we are fully capable of coping with in time while keeping true to our usual selves. It’s healthy. It’s normal. It’s not what this blog is about.

Thresholds and Breaking Points. Our human selves, the ones we’ve been dealing with for years, cultivating for years, sometimes witnesses a total shift in self, usually brought on through some form of tension which roots from a powerful emotional stimulus. This total shift, infusing us with abilities beyond those of our normal selves, can be perceived as either good or bad. When good we call them, letting loose or breaking free. When bad, we call them lapses of judgment or my controversial favorite: temporary insanity.

There exists an invisible barrier that separates our usual self from the ones we become. This barrier, or threshold, differs from person to person. A timid girl is dragged to an wild dance club by her outgoing best friend. She watches with a potent blend of jealousy and shock as the best friend dances without restraint in the arms of strangers, laughing and thrusting about without a care in the world. Normally, the timid girl wouldn’t dream of joining in, couldn’t dream of joining in. She had placed a set of blocks up early on prohibiting her from such uncalculated and free actions. But as she watches her friend, the beautiful men seeing only her, beads of sweat rolling down their bodies under the multi-colored spotlights, the jealousy, the desire, creates a sort of tension that grows and grows and boils and boils until- POP -the girl throws caution to the wind and joins her friend on the dancefloor. She’s never felt so alive. Breaking free.

A boy, small for his age, finds himself friendless and awkward in the seventh grade. Every day he is picked on by the popular kids, but he ignores it, keeping to his sketchpad and doodling out his feelings of being unwanted, unloved. Then one day a bully steps up to him and tries to snatch the pencil from his hand while he’s drawing his latest piece and- POP -the boy lets out a scream at the top of his lungs, jumps out of his chair, throws the chair to the opposite end of the room, and stabs the bully in the arm with said pencil. Temporary insanity.

First and foremost, these reactions are in no way the manifestation of something that is separate from our core beings, nor do they come from nowhere. Obviously the idea of dancing freely and attacking the bully had been building up in the girl and boy respectively. There exists an invisible barrier that separates our usual self from the ones we become. This barrier, or threshold, differs from person to person, but it is an integral part of who that person is.

Much like when something is stuck in our throats, it is our body’s natural reaction to choke and cough it up, when tension or discomfort rising this breaking point is reached and a strong emotional response surges in order to quell the tenseness. Choking isn’t something our body does on its own, but it is a physical survival tactic. The breaking point, this loss of control, is our body’s mental survival tactic, a last-ditch effort for giving us what we secretly want.

Having said all that, it is truly amazing how good we feel after breaking free, how terrified we are after a stint of temporary insanity (there are few things more frightening than being afraid of the monster within). Following each there is always the choice of whether we will continue to explore this new internal world or struggle to push it back where it came from. Both extremes are dangerous as the former runs the risk of forgetting that there was probably a reason why it was hidden away in the first place, the latter merely avoids a problem, allowing it to grow until it bursts out again in any of an array of potentially violent displays. Instead of taking extreme measures, it is best by far if we use these breaking points as portals of self-discovery to neglected areas of our personality that, much like a chicken bone stuck in our throats, are yearning for our attention so that we might fully live. Question where it came from, why it came, effects both positive and negative, and how it can be successfully integrated or removed from the person we wish to become (be it through practice, thought, prayer, meditation, and/or psychiatric help [for extremely negative situations]).