When Things Fall Apart

Sunflower+fieldFor a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction. ~ Cynthia Occelli


Dishes break. You slice your finger while chopping vegetables. You give your heart to the wrong person. You slip and suddenly realize — mid-fall — that absolutely nothing makes sense or feels solid. Not even the ground under your feet.  Swirls of clouds spin above you as you look up from where you find yourself, only to discover that everything’s shattered. Everything you thought you could count on, is gone.

What now?

This is the fecund space of breakdown. This is where we drop seeds and await germination and new growth. Everything starts this way: as a seed pod, as a runny egg yolk, as the slippery promise of a new life.

Life pours us out of one vessel into another. We liquefy and seep into the dry ground, uncertain that anything good will come of this unwelcome change.

But we have no choice. We are undergoing an alchemical transformation.

There’s no turning back.

Breakdown entails loss. Spider-fine cracks cover the surface of our lives. One slight tap of a metaphorical hammer and, boom, everything falls away.

Change is like that.

It often feels like utter and complete destruction; however, in that devastating landscape, a new foundation can be forged.

Perhaps a spot at the table is being cleared because someone wonderful is about to show up and ring the doorbell. Perhaps the breakup contains untold treasure – gifts that we wouldn’t otherwise recognize. Perhaps the loss uproots things that we needed to let go.

Time and again, I’ve seen it happen.

Something occurs that, at first, seems terrible, decimating, and even, perhaps, unjustified. We are unceremoniously ripped from our comfort zone.

We’re left with a gaping hole in our hearts or an arm dangling in its socket.

Bruised, we rail against the loss, the divorce, the upset, the broken vow.


But, this shouldn’t have happened to me. But, I didn’t deserve this. But, I gave him (or her) everything.

Still, that person (or job or dream) has had the unmitigated gall to pack its bags, and walk out.

What the hell?

When this happens, we’re called to stretch, to limber up, to become more than we ever thought we could be.

We’re asked to throw down the welcome mat for whatever stranger, experience, or information that we need.

Life’s sent us a message: do you want stasis? Or do you want the creativity and grace and joy that accompanies growth?

It’s our choice.

So, whenever I feel a door slamming hard on my ass, I consider it for what it really is: a wake-up call.

A call that pushes me out into a different field of vision. A call that offers me the key to fragrant, open rooms that will in all likelihood surprise me.  A call that takes me deep into darkness.

The thing is, I know all of it will eventually open on to something lovely. I know I will find something so right for me, that I will forget I ever considered anything else.

When things are falling apart, let them.

Let them. Open your fist and drop seeds into the damp soil at your feet.

Water them – with your prayers, your effort, your energy, your hope.

Soon enough, you’ll see something happening. First one sprout, then one more.

And before you know it, a riot of golden sunflowers will appear. They’ll stand like willowy friends, waving to you, as you head out to your latest adventure.

They’ll remind you of all you are, and all you are capable of being. Look for them.

Those fields of possibility represent you.

Notice that they stretch for as far as your eye can see.

© 2014  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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8 thoughts on “When Things Fall Apart

    1. Thank you for letting me know it resonated with you. It’s nice to know we’re all traveling through similar territory right now. ❤

    1. Hey, We’re all going through this together. There’s not one person I know who isn’t in the midst of tremendous changes – including letting a boatload of stuff go…

  1. Absolutely GORGEOUS and INSIGHTFUL, just as I knew it would be. I love the whole piece and the emotions and truth behind it, but my favorite lines are, “WHEN THINGS ARE FALLING APART, LET THEM. Let them. Open your fist and drop seeds into the damp soil at your feet.” Preach, Rebelle sister!

    1. I am glad. Everyone’s going through so much right now. I constantly remind myself that no matter how bad things may seem, this is the ground that will seed something new. Take care of yourself. Be gentle as you navigate all these changes. ~ Shavawn

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