You’ve probably figured out that there’s no such thing as a straight shot when finding your way in life. Four steps forward, eight steps back; three steps forward, and the ground gives way. Sometimes it feels like you need to reinvent yourself on a daily basis.
Here is a reliable truth: things fall apart.
Impermanence is a fact of life. Until you accept this, you will suffer. The illusion of stability may lull you into believing you have solid ground under your feet. But we all know things can change in an instant.
All composite things fall apart. And everything is composite.
The problem is not that things fall apart–that’s just a law of nature. The reason you may think it is a problem is that your thinking has not caught up with the reality.
Relaxing Is The Key
The key to successfully navigating disintegration is to relax and pay attention. Make friends with the situation. Let go of your expectations and become curious about what new perspectives are coming into view. Be open to new possibilities and see where life takes you. Sometimes you simply need to let go in order to orient your life around an updated perspective.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to reinvent myself. I used to kick and scream every time, lamenting all the wasted effort, all the dreams gone up in smoke.
Now I welcome change, because I realize that when things fall apart, it’s because a shift is needed. It’s only a problem if I think it’s a problem.
Things Fall Apart
You may dream of an ideal situation where things will go smoothly, forever. You will be peaceful, happy, successful and fulfilled. These days there are so many people willing to help you do that: coaches, advisors, teachers, gurus, counselors, consultants.
There’s nothing wrong with learning skills to improve your circumstances. But the problem with this approach is relying on circumstances to make you happy. This approach ignores one fundamental law of the universe: things fall apart. Even when you finally do get what you want, you will worry about it being taken away, (and it eventually will be) so why waste the precious present in future think, when this moment is already passing away?
More important than learning to manipulate the outer circumstances, is learning to accept what is happening in your current circumstances.
Progress is an idyll created by those in a hurry to escape the present moment.
Until a few years ago, I lived in Thailand for most of the year. I loved my life in Thailand. Then one day things fell apart and it didn’t make sense for me to be there anymore. I had to reinvent myself in Colorado where I now live. It hasn’t always been easy, or clear, but I’ve rearranged my entire life to make room for something new that wanted to come forth– my secret passions—writing and making art.
And, because I’ve made room for these activities, I recently found a publisher for the book I am currently working on that will be published in 2019.
So from one perspective it may look like things falling apart. From another, it is just a shift, so that you can focus on something new. When things are not working out, listen up and see if it’s a sign for you to shift your focus slightly. It’s always a good time to reinvent yourself.
Here’s A Little Map To Reinvent Yourself When Things Fall Apart:
1. Take stock and identify support: Let go immediately of what wants to dissolve. The sooner you are able to let go of something weighing you down, the better. Create space for something new to arrive.
2. Preserve resources: Stop spinning your wheels and reflect on the new landscape. This is when I usually schedule a meditation retreat. Make friends with space and try not to fill it up.
3. Solitude and silence are needed for creation: Dream up a vision for yourself, whether or not you think it is realistic. What do you really want? Where does your heart tell you to go? Sometimes the big breaks can give you permission to do what you’ve always wanted to do. What would your fantasy life look like if you were to reinvent yourself?
4. Take one small step in any direction: Just one step, for now. A life-changing journey begins with one small step.
When things fall apart, it’s only a problem if you are attached to the original outcome that you’ve made up in your mind. Release expectations of how you thought your journey would unfold and let the path reveal itself regardless of your preferences. Learn to to be flexible in the face of sudden change or conflict. Take a deep breath. Repeat.