Sometimes our inner wisdom speaks to us in ways that seem so odd and incomprehensible to us that we imagine we are being attacked from within. Our bodies have an innate wisdom that is intricately linked to our wellness on the whole. At times when we feel we need ourselves the very most, maybe our selves let us down. We can’t do what we thought we could. We can’t pursue what we thought we wanted. Sometimes when everything breaks down and we feel we must be falling to pieces, it is for one purpose only: so that the phoenix can rise from the ashes.

As dramatic as that sounds, maybe it does not take a complete destruction of the things we thought we loved and the ideals we hold dear to our hearts. Maybe it doesn’t take a complete disruption of the values we imagined to have for ourselves. Perhaps it just takes a series of minor disruptions before we release our resistance to letting go of that which we were sure we wanted and that which we felt we must do. We get so focused on the way we have seen it done by other people, the things the world expects of us, the times we’ve succeeded with techniques we’ve mastered over our lifetimes of adaption and response to every situation put before us. We do what we think works for us.

Until one day we come to understand that what works for us is really just a set of constructions that we created. We thought we knew what the best path would be because it’s the path that worked for us in the past. We don’t know other paths, and we find it hard to imagine them, let alone look for them or think about stepping on them. We are creatures of habit, and we feel lost when our habits no longer bring us to successful realization of our goals.

What does it feel like to fail? What is failure for? Could it be that failure is simply our very own magical way of putting up a great big arrowed sign pointing in the direction we never thought to look? We feel immense and we assume that what we know and what we see and how we’ve always done things is the only way that makes sense and maybe even the only way forward or the only way that exists. What inspires pioneers? What brings someone to the realization that there is another way, that there are infinite ways… that our way is never predetermined – by anyone? Not by society, not by the universe and whatever known or unknown laws may be in play, certainly not by our very human selves. What causes an inspired soul to step out? What sparks the creativity that leads to finding a new way and embracing that way when no one you’ve ever known or even heard of has done it that way before? What leads to innovation? What gives one the courage to try that path?

Maybe it is failure. Maybe other options have been taken from you.

Everything I thought I knew about where life might be leading me, as murky as it might have seemed, found a place in my plans. I assumed I knew what it was about, what it was all for. I assumed if another way was necessary, someone or something would show me how and point the way. When there is no guidance except exhaustion and rebellion from my own faculties, my own intricate system that strives to keep me in balance no matter how hard I resist… how can I find the courage to let go of my ideas? How do I reach inside and embrace the creative spark that is leading me to a better way? How do a learn to value myself and trust the process of life enough to take a leap of faith? How do I make it ok to fail?

Maybe it just comes down to trust. I have to trust in more intelligence than I can reach with my reasoning, rational mind. I have to trust that if my system protests, there may be something I am missing. I have to appreciate the path I have taken and recognize that the next steps I take may not follow any path I expected to find under my feet. Maybe from the outside it doesn’t appear all that innovative or radical – but from the inside, it is wildly innovative and radical. Maybe it challenges all the assumptions I had about myself. Maybe it shows me how much stronger and how much more valuable I am than I ever knew I was.

What is it about breaking down that is so important? What is it about softening to the point where no resistance can be maintained? What if exhaustion is really a gift?

I must trust myself. I must trust that my limitations are as important as my strengths. I must understand – really understand – that both are equally important, as fluid as they may be. Can I learn to humble myself before the alter of possibility? Can I learn to trust that all is as it should be, no matter the losses I feel or the frustrations I experience? Can I learn to know, to tap into my inner knowing that reminds me of the irrepressible human spirit that by birthright I share? Innovative, resilient, dynamic, creative… all the things I feel do not apply to me when things start to break down… I might be learning that in life maybe we do not retain any understanding of who we are and what we are capable of.

In times when things are hard and the skills we’ve come to rely on are failing us, it just comes down to trust – you trust that there is a core of (something) within you that won’t let you fail, something that will push you to grow no matter how ridiculous or far-fetched it might be to release what you’ve gained through your life’s hard work. We all work hard to make our way, we all find what works for us. Maybe the only difference between dysfunction and truly, meaningful, personally valuable success is how long we resist allowing old lessons to pass away, how long we hang onto our hard-won knowledge of how the world around us and how our own lives “work.” We are masters of change. All we need to know is right in front of us if only we can stop fighting and follow where the road leads. Maybe it always feels like it leads away from safety. Maybe that is how we know…