When Nothing Is Working, Trust That Everything Is

“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy”


–Pema Chondron


On Friday I hit a wall. In fact it felt more like I ran head first at full speed into it. My proverbial “check engine” light had been on for a while, and much like we wait to see if the check engine light will go off in the car if we just give it time, I chalked how I felt to my usual fatigue and figured rather than a complete physical, mental and emotional overhaul, I could squeeze by if I pushed a little less, listened a little more, and did things here and there that gave me a sense of vitality. And it worked…for a little while.


What we give, is what we get. A small action here, a little rest there will only get us so far. When we “every once and a while” things, we stretch out the time it takes to see results. But, unlike our dreams and goals, when we “every once and a while” our physical, mental and emotional well being, when we ignore our internal check engine light, we fall. Hard.


The fall is necessary.


Hitting the ground is necessary. Sometimes it sends us running, propelled with immense drive, excitement and desire. Sometimes it provides us a with wake-up and a call to action so that we may change how we’ve been operating. And sometimes it leaves us grounded, shut down and out of commission so that we can re-prioritize what matters.


Knowing I was tired wasn’t enough to stop me from physically pushing my limits (mind you, there’s a difference between challenging yourself and testing your perceived limits to reach a new height versus knowing your limitations and when to pull back). It took severe pain in my quads–the kind that actually prevented me from moving and jumping in a way I was use to–to slow down. And it wasn’t enough to be mentally worn down or emotionally exhausted. It took having my computer crash (interestingly enough this coincided with my physical breakdown) for me to stop doing work, the kind to which I would YES-ed away my days.


Having to stop physically, mentally and emotionally–hitting the wall and falling hard–grounded me. It forced me to pause and notice all the things I take for granted.


Of all the things that actually go wrong on any given day–catching a cold, being stuck in traffic, having your computer crash, losing your wallet–there’s an infinite amount of things that go right:


  • In sheer physical exhaustion, I felt the support and encouragement from my friend and life coach, Hildie who stood by my side with a watchful eye. Even she knows I have trouble holding back.
  • In my resistance to anything and everything, I was reminded of the power of the words “I love you” and how those words supersede circumstance or mood.
  • In a meltdown over my computer crashing (seriously, nothing makes me go from 0-60 in an instant like computer problems), I found myself without “work” to do and with time to spend with my 5 1/2 year old son, Johnny. This meltdown also enabled me to accept help and the use of a computer to borrow (Thanks Shelley!)


When nothing is working…trust that everything is. Trust that things fall apart and come back together. Trust the fall itself. More importantly, trust yourself to listen to what YOU need in that grounding moment. In reality it’s not about the fall itself or how we got there. It about how we transition from the fall, that matters most. 


Do you stay on the ground a victim to the road and weather? Do you get up quickly and go right back to what you were doing because things simply have to get done? Or do you pause and find clarity in the fall? Do you take one small action each day that is in line with who you say you want to be? Do you give your attention to the things that fuel your soul rather than deplete it?


I’m still transitioning. I’m still tired and I don’t feel wholly like myself yet. I have a busy week ahead and the ambiguity of what will become of my computer and all my saved work has me anxious. But in this transition, in this moment on the ground by the wall, in the presence of all the things that aren’t working, I’m simply trusting that it is all working out. As Pema Chodron says, “Things come together and fall apart again…the healing comes from letting there be room for all this to happen.” As things fall apart around me, I’m acknowledging the small, daily actions I can take for my healing. All I can do right now is take care of me and let the rest fall into place.


What are YOU making room for today? What one #smallaction can you take today that is in line with who you want to be or how you want to feel? The most important decision we can make is right now and the most important person we can take care of is ourselves.


To falling apart, putting ourselves back together and trusting that it is all working out,