In fewer than 10 minutes I had installed my new sound interface pre-amp for my podcast and it was providing simplicity I had previously never experienced in my nine years of podcasting, taking up less counter-space with fewer cords and offering a quality of sound that was entirely void of any feedback without any tweaking on my end necessary. Why I had not found this device earlier, I do not know.
Oh, yes, I do. 🙂 I wasn’t looking for it. I didn’t realize it existed, so I settled and struggled.
I shared last week on episode #361 of the podcast that my mixer of over seven years had broken evidenced by the deteriorating sound quality produced when I attempted to record, thus I had to temporarily change how I recorded to create the sound I wanted until my new sound interface device arrived. Had the deterioration not happened, I would not have reached out to a sound expert to explore the problem which lead to learning about this new device that has inspired me to dance a bit around my office as I am overjoyed by the simplicity and quality that I have been hoping to find since my podcasting venture began back in 2014.
The key was not throwing up my hands and refusing to find a solution paired with the acknowledgement that I would have to pay upfront for a new device (thankfully, not as much as I feared), but what I gained was in many ways priceless. Priceless in my elation. Priceless in my deepening trust that when things fall apart, we are not failing, but rather gaining an opportunity we hadn’t looked for but actually needed in order to thrive at the life we love and desire to live.
A guarantee we can depend on is that things will fall apart from time to time throughout our lives, large and small, and it is our perspective when they do fall apart that will determine if we see the gift we have received.
From something as small as a recipe not turning out as we had hoped, to something as significant as the loss of a partner, or the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one, things will fall apart in our lives. That is part of the deal we make when we are born, but it is how we see this inevitable happening that will determine the quality of our lives moving forward.
This is not to say that the same things will fall apart for each one of us. What falls apart is in accordance to the lessons the universe wants us to learn in order to discover and thus honor our true selves so that we can then give to the world what we can uniquely give.
When we look at such unwanted life events through this lens, a lens of opportunity, we channel energy toward growth, rather than ignoring the gift that wants to be seen and inevitably will continue to appear, ever so slightly more aggressively until we pay attention and tend to it in some way – whether by ceding defeat or seizing the opportunity to thrive.
Sometimes things fall apart in our lives because they no longer work but once did. To use my own example, the audio mixer I purchased, even though struggling to understand how it functioned back in 2015, may not have been exactly what I wanted (simplicity and less bulk), but it enabled me to produce quality episodes with a better microphone which is what my goal was, so I forged onward for eight years – not bad!
In other instances, we need to get rid of something that is not constructive to living well, but because we cannot see the destruction and harm it is causing and will likely cause more of down the road, the universe steps in. Gradually at first, small lessons of things falling apart to see if we get the message and take the hint. And then, if we unfortunately do not take the hint, in more significant ways things will fall apart to bring to our attention most glaringly that we must move on to something else and let go.
Perhaps this happens in relationships, of any stripe. We intuitively see red flags, subtle but from time to time they arise (the gradual falling apart instances the universe wants us to see and thus respond to by choosing differently). We ignore them, so the universe steps in again and has to allow something far more difficult to ignore – a blatant violation of boundaries, trust, etc.. Again, this often continues and gradually ratchets up the more we dismiss it and don’t address it, either by speaking up and stepping back, or letting go and seeking a new path forward.
How do we prevent the need of the the ratcheting up to grab our attention? Strengthen the skill of awareness.
How do we strengthen our awareness? Through regular mindfulness practices.
A wonderful natural thing happens when we consciously prioritize becoming more mindful: Gradually, seeing the opportunities when things fall apart becomes second nature, to be able to see what honors our path and what does not. In such instances of the latter, we don’t react, but rather respond to the unwanted instances when things fall apart. Something as small as (I will use my own example for this one that happened just recently), a bottle of newly purchased olive oil breaking in the grocery store parking lot just minutes after being in the store. Literally, something falling apart. Instead of becoming upset, even angry or perturbed – yes, I lost $8 of my grocery budget because I didn’t pack my groceries properly – but I was also still at the grocery store and thankfully, could quickly (after cleaning up the mess of glass) go right back in and purchase my olive oil. Did I pack my groceries differently, the second go-round? You bet I did! 🙂
The point is, the old me would have exacerbated this unwanted event. And if I was to see this event as just another tally mark on a ‘not-so-good’ day would have refused to go back in the store and buy olive oil again and gotten in my own way, when the gift of the situation was that I was still right there at the store and didn’t have to make an extra trip. True enough, many years ago, I have broken a bottle of olive oil upon returning home from grocery shopping, but I wasn’t conveniently at the grocery store to go back. How lucky was I this time? I chose to see it, yes, as good fortune this go-round and head right back in the grocery store.
Mindfulness is a skill. A skill that will change our life for the better in a bevy of ways if only we will let it work its magic and we choose to step up to the plate and regularly practice and strengthen this simple skill.
In Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s book Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World they share that “Mindfulness gives us the ability to shift gears as we need to, rather than being permanently stuck in the same one.” And that is wonderfully good news because we may think we cannot change. We may think that when things fall apart, they must be bad. We must respond in such a way that is a relative of upset because why would we be happy for example if our partner just ended the relationship or we realize the relationship needs to come to an end. But this is what being mindful teaches us: to tune in and be aware of all of our senses, to help us get to know ourselves so that we understand why something intuitively doesn’t feel right, so that we can see unwanted events as they may be defined by society as actually opportunities for growth and improvement of the quality of our lives and those around us.
“Mindfulness is a ‘coming to your senses’ that moves you closer and closer to the fore, quite spontaneously, when you regularly set aside the time to practice. It allows you to experience the world—calmly and nonjudgmental—directly through your senses. It gives you a tremendous sense of perspective. You can sense what is important and what is not.” —Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World
Williams and Penman go on to site study after study, but specifically for the topic of our focus, a study that took place by researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Massachusetts who “discovered that mindfulness training allowed people to escape the gravitational pull of their emotional set-point.” So yep, it is possible, and we have the keys. We only need to choose to welcome the practice of mindfulness into our lives.
Much like water rolling over the edge to fall down 97 feet into the pool of water that forms into a gentle creek babbling about through the woods, just because it may feel as though all is lost and everything is gone when things fall apart, we may actually be falling into something quite stunning, calm and refreshing to start the next chapter, take the new step in a different way and a different direction that aligns more symbiotically with our true selves. But because we feared the drop for so long, we didn’t even look to see what lay ahead.
Today or upon reflection, as you recall or run up against unwanted hiccups or painful moments of loss or stress, choose to bring a deep awareness of exploration to find the opportunity. What can you learn? What is being made available to you that so long as you welcome an exploration of it will potentially provide what you never thought was possible but always hoped might be. I am confident there are gems to be found that will elevate the quality of your life.
Thank you for stopping by today and wishing you a wonderful start to this brand new week.
SIMILAR POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY
~Explore all of TSLL’s posts on the topic of Mindfulness here.
episode #348, The Paradox of Manifesting the Life You Have Envisioned