Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart.

Things are falling apart, and I am in the midst of that, and without a doubt, I see opportunity in every shift, and I see lovely things on the other side of all of those shifts. When I get right down to it, there is absolutely nowhere else that I’d rather be! How could I have missed that? Things are falling apart in all of the loveliest ways; what’s slowly getting suffocated are habits and patterns that simply don’t work anymore. They are being exposed and exposed again and those patterns can’t hold up their weight anymore, they are “falling apart.”

“It is said that we can’t attain enlightenment, let alone feel contentment and joy, without seeing who we are and what we do, without seeing our patterns and habits. This is called maitri–developing loving-kindness and an unconditional friendship with ourselves.

People sometimes confuse this process with self-improvement or building themselves up. We can get so caught up in being good to ourselves that we don’t pay any attention at all to the impact that we’re having on others. We might erroneously believe that maitri is a way to find happiness that lasts; as advertisements so seductively promise, we could feel great for the rest of our lives. It’s not that we pat ourselves on the back and say “You’re the greatest,” or “Don’t worry, sweetheart, everything is going to be fine.” Rather it’s a process by which self-deception becomes so skillfully and compassionately exposed that there’s no mask that can hide us any more.” — Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

Oh. So beautiful. “It’s a process by which self-deception becomes so skillfully and compassionately exposed that there’s no mask that can hide us any more.”

That word–compassionately. YES. Exposing self-deception–with compassion. YES.

“Generally speaking, we regard discomfort in any form as bad news. But for practitioners or spiritual warriors–people who have a certain hunger to know what is true–feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.” –Pema Chodron

In this moment, I am loving sitting with things as they “fall apart.” It feels like a kind of surrender, a letting go and allowing. I woke up this morning feeling this renewed commitment to diving in despite resistance, which for me is exactly as Chodron puts it: exposing self-deception, with compassion.

When things are falling apart for you, what’s the opportunity?