Berlin Breakdown

There’s Beauty in the Breakdown


berlin door

“Just get in, it’s so amazing here. It’s alright, ’cause there’s beauty in the breakdown.” -Frou Frou

They say that what goes up must come down. This is a true fact of physics as things that go up must also come down on earth due to the laws of gravity. In our human lives, sometimes things come crashing down to the floor, leaving us devastated. Sometimes we feel like we are having a breakdown. But you know what? There’s beauty in the breakdown. You can find it.

I’m finding so much beauty here in Berlin, a city full of poetic visual juxtapositions of smiling children against rundown graffitied warehouses. The city was previously divided by the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989, and the wall once symbolized the “Iron Curtain” that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. The wall was broken down in the early 90s, but some sections are still left intact.

Berliner Mauer

When we break down, sometimes we break through. That is beautiful. Like a phoenix, one can rise from the ashes of destruction and emerge so much stronger and better. As American author and journalist Earnest Hemingway wisely said, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

It’s a beautiful cycle of breaking down and building back up to create new things. In chemistry, there are both catabolic and anabolic reactions. Catabolic reactions are those that involve breaking down complex molecules into simpler substances. Anabolic reactions, on the other hand, are when simpler substances are combined to form more complex molecules. The energy released from catabolic reactions are used to drive anabolic reactions. From destruction comes creation.

There will be multiple instances in our lives when we experience mental or emotional breakdowns. There could be career transitions, relationship heartbreaks, divorce, perils of war, death, illness, moving to a new city, struggles of starting your own business…the list goes on and on. It’s important to remember that “this too, shall pass” and from the breakdowns there are breakthroughs.

Here’s a great Huffington Post article, written by Dr. Judith Rich: Breakdown to Breakthrough: What To Do When Life Calls a Time-Out. It outlines eight tips to help one deal with a breakdown. I like Tip# 7 the most: Begin again.

I’m embracing beginning again and will leave you with a few of my photos of the beautifully raw street art in Friedrichshain, one of my fave neighborhoods in East Berlin:


berlin sofa

Berlin Breakdown

Berlin dance

Neue Heimat

Paul Kalkbrenner

There’s indeed beauty in the breakdown.



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