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What Do You Do When the Bottom Drops Out? by Michele Harvey

400_1200358798_gotas-de-aguaThe other day I was boiling water for coffee when suddenly I noticed the pot was not only empty, it was bottomless. The bottom of the pot had literally melted off, and was stuck to the electric burner. Staring in disbelief, I lifted the pot from the stove, stuck my head in, and looked right through the bottom and across the room at my son, who couldn’t believe what had happened.

In life, what do you do when the bottom drops out? Do you make it your mission to find out who or what is responsible, and to try to even the score? Do you analyze what happened, analyze your options, blame yourself or someone else, or freeze in your tracks, stuck, unable to make a quick recovery? Do you complain? Do you phone a friend?

When you take a course of action that leads to a dead end, how does it make you feel? Do you take it personally when things don’t turn out the way you planned? How quickly do you find new ground and carry on? How flexible are you?

Are you strong like water, immediately able to pour yourself into, and take the shape of a new container? Do you show up with humor and gratitude, as a larger version of yourself, or do you simmer for days, wondering what went wrong?

What about the rest of the pot? Do you discard the whole thing, calling it another one of your ideas that didn’t work? Can you find use for the scrap metal, mold it into treasures that will serve a part, hold a place in your new trajectory?

Often when a course of action leads to a dead end, it is because something larger, more durable, and broader in scope, is just waiting to be discovered. A fresh path, an unheard calling, a better way of doing things, is on your horizon. Something you overlooked, something more meaningful that you would not otherwise have attempted, but that is part of your purpose, stands before you, seeks you, and will become clearly apparent to you, as you surrender your perceived limitations and open to welcome it.

25 Responses to What Do You Do When the Bottom Drops Out? by Michele Harvey

  • Pingback: Positive Living: 9 Influential Writers Share the Secrets behind their Positive Approach toward Life – TuhinzDiary

  • Jannietta says:

    Lovely post Michele. I agree with a lot of the comments. Taking a step back, counting to ten, taking a deep breath, feeling the emotion but not wallowing in it and meditating are great tools to keep us focused on the Self that is larger than the current situation. How I wish I could follow all this advice more consisently in my own life! As the old saying goes, ‘When one door closes another opens!’

    • Taking a step back, and curbing impulse, are areas I am working on within myself as well, Jannietta. Even more so is my tendency to discard “the whole pot,” as opposed to keeping the parts, and using what might still be made valuable, in present and future endeavors. Thank you for your comment.

  • Wow, I never thought about being able to pour yourself out like water and then take the shape of a new container. That is a great way to describe it. I need to go ponder this a bit… Thanks for being my thought for the day!

  • Jason B says:

    I haven’t had the best week. I needed to read this today. I have been doing the opposite of what I should be doing. I now realize that something bigger and better is on the way.

    • Thank you Jason. Something better is on the way and in the meantime, by taking one day at a time, we can choose with faith to show up as our larger self, each day, and to remember what it is we need to remember about the value of life. Every morning when I meditate, I set an intention for the day about how I will show up in response to life, regardless of people, circumstances, and events. My first book, From Confusion To Clarity, is all about changing poison into medicine when you feel as though the bottom has dropped out of your life. It has user-friendly exercises designed to quickly shift the reader From Confusion To Clarity. Wishing You All the Best.

  • Joanne says:

    What do I do when the bottom falls out? hmmmmm, I suppose it depends on the situation. Lately I’ve been meditating and find that has been making me less reactive. I think I exacerbate the problem when I am too reactive – like throw the rest of the pot across the room (OK, I wasn’t that bad but I would grumble for the rest of the day). Today, I’d probably laugh and start searching for a new one. At any rate, you brought up some interesting concepts and thoughts on how to deal with a problem.

  • A.K.Andrew says:

    It sure is difficult to cope when the bottom falls out of life. I want to say I just get up and get on with things, and to a certain extent that’s true. But i think that there is something to be said for allowing yourself time to actually feel the emotion that has been stirred, before you take action. Certainly not to wallow. Ultimately you have to deal with what life deals you with the most positive attitude you can muster.

    • I agree that we have to process our feelings. I believe it is sometimes easier to process our feelings if we stay active. We cannot allow our feelings to become bigger than we are which happens easily if we don’t take enough action to move forward. By doing so, we can experience pain without suffering.

  • Beth Niebuhr says:

    What an odd experience, Michele. When the bottom drops out, I find that the best thing I can do is change the subject. Give my brain some time to process it while I have a long chat with an old friend or go to a movie. Just taking a little time helps me organize my thoughts of what to do.

    • I agree that sometimes the best thing to do is take a walk or just do something different (like focus on what we have to be grateful for) in to create some space and lighten up between our thoughts about what is occurring. Sometimes things seem much more obvious when we change our focus and then return, refreshed, to whatever issues we are facing. Thank you for your comment, Beth.

  • Bindhurani says:

    Very thought provoking post. When one thing is not working, I try to move on. If the scrap metal is worth any pennies, I will try to get that. Being mindful when putting the pot on the stove top, carefully listening when the water starts boiling and be responsible to remove the pot in time and to turn off the stove… That much can be done to prevent the mishap of melting the pot

    • Mindfulness, listening, and taking responsibility are all critically important as you say, Bindhurani. Multi-tasking can enable us to get a lot done but not as carefully as when we are fully focused on the task at hand. Sometimes even when we are mindful, things happen that appear to be out of our control. That’s where faith comes in. I like what you say about the scrap metal. I often think in stark terms with regard to things of this nature, meaning, if something seems broken, I usually just toss it. Later on, I sometimes think back and wish I had saved the melted pot. Thank you for your comment.

  • Hi Michele: Interesting post. I could relate to it with regard to my decision to self-publish my latest book. I had thought it would be quickly snapped up an agent/publisher, but when it wasn’t, I re-evaluated the situation and took up the challenge to self-publish. I’m so glad that I did, as its proven to be an enlightening process that has taught me much and made me more astute as a professional writer and now, publisher.

    • I had a similar situation with my first book, Doreen, and wish you all the best. Patience is something I have to work on constantly. Sometimes we have to simply let go of a situation and have faith that things progress will progress the way they should when we have grown into those them. Things may appear differently than we expect, which is also why it’s important not to be attached to how we believe something should occur.

  • Unfortunately this has happened a few times in my life 🙂 My first thought is always…”okay really….think about it….it’s not the worst thing….” and then get on with whatever it is I need to do to correct the situation, or sometimes just adjust. It’s only later that I tend to delve deeper, maybe see if something I did created the situation. And then I write…sometimes getting the words on paper helps me unwind the situation. It’s quite a profound question, when you think about it!

    • In reality, all situations in which we find ourselves, have been in some way created by us. Writing or talking to someone can create a clearing for us in which we can see and understand things more easily. Meditation also has this effect. I am the same way. It often takes me some time to perceive what it is about my thinking that may have held me back from a deeper understanding of people and situations. Thank you for your comment Jacquie.

  • Catarina says:

    Absolutely. The only thing that’s certain in life is uncertainty. We all have to be flexible, learn, find new ways and move on. If not, we will ruin our lives.

    • Thank you for your comment Catarina. It is true that life is just another word for change. Things are changing all the time. If we are resistant, we will not be happy and will not be able to experience the gift that change can offer us.

  • Susan Cooper says:

    I loved this post. How funny that must have been for you when you saw that. How often we find ourselves in a situation where we feel the bottom has fallen out and we have lost our ground. Many times we panic, at least I do. If I can slow down just a bit and catch my breath, I usually find a solution and then I am able to make a plan. 🙂

    • Thank You Susan. Though I didn’t get into the value of meditation in this article, I know of no other way to keep the perspective needed to avoid getting hooked into believing a drama, and instead being able to observe situations and calmly make some choices. Mindfully slowing down to catch your breath is a form of meditation.

  • Hi Max, it sounds like you have lots of ideas that are helpful to your clients in the amusement industry. Your industry is also filled with useful metaphors that can serve to remind us of life’s perceived ups and downs, and how we can use these situations to enhance our personal growth as well as the growth of our business, which occurs as a natural result.

  • maxwell ivey says:

    Hi Michele; Thanks for this thought provoking post. I tend to simmer or that is cry for a few minutes and then get on to seeing what I can learn from it. I try to figure out why it happened and avoid it happening again in the future. I tend to be pretty flexible and very positive. A year or so ago I thought having a forum on my site would be a good thing. It never took off, so eventually I did give up on it. However, in that same time I have started blogging more regularly and recently I started recording videos. I’m hoping to start a youtube show about the amusement industry and travel around the world visiting with my clients and helping them sell their items better. Thanks again and take care, max

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