Break Into Parts
(This is a step-by-step, progressive course; if you arrived at this page first, please back up and start at the beginning, HERE.)
So if the answers are all around you and within you, if everywhere you look there is something that can truly help with your problems… why AREN’T they working? How do you apply all those little things to your big problems and make anything better?
So many people say of their problems ‘I think about it all the time’, as if this means they have actually DONE something about it. But as I mentioned on a previous page, this often means you have only ‘thought about it a lot’, and maybe did a few things that were inside the realm of what you’re used to doing, rather than trying things that are truly different. And what happens, when this ‘thinking about things’ and doing the same unsuccessful actions over and over keep repeating themselves?
It means you have recycled the same thoughts and actions into uselessness, powerlessness. Recycle, recycle, recycle. You’re not moving ahead, you’re just recycling in repeating circles. You repeat the same words, ideas, emotions in your head, over and over so much that it feels like you’ve actually done something. But all that’s really happening is that eventually all that repetition gels this mass of suffering and complaints together into their own ‘ball’ in your head, life, emotions, creating what I like to call the Sludgeball, which paralyzes your forward movement through problems.
In the beginning, you have separate problems, things you don’t like about your life, things you don’t like about the world around you. Over the years, these separate events and circumstances add up; you begin to lump them together, and after a long enough time those separate factors become dimmer as they all gel into a standard mind-complaint that you validate and solidify again and again. The sum of all your complaints, the sludgeball of thought and emotion, takes on its own form, and instead of the separate specific problems, any time something comes up to remind you of it, you lump it into the sludgeball.
Here are some sludgeball thoughts: I can’t take this any more; this is brutal; I want out, I want it to be over; he/she/it has totally screwed up my life; my life is over; the world sucks; I don’t want to bring up a child in this world; this country/government is the worst; my life is a mess; I’m so broken inside; nobody cares; I’m so broke all the time, my life would be so much better if I had money; it’s hopeless, there’s no point in even trying any more.
There are thousands of these sludgeball statements. Can you seen anything specific in them? There are no details, you’re no longer dealing with the events and circumstances that make you feel that way, you’ve progressed – or regressed – to a catch-all statement in your mind that lumps all your thoughts and feelings together. These statements no longer mean anything in particular, they’re just a gumbo soup of the misery you are feeling inside about something, or all things, in your life. All the details, the specific happenings and thoughts and emotions that originally built up to the sludgeball, become part of this new monster, rather than being seen as the separate entities they are.
You begin to dwell in that sludgeball, just waiting for the next thing to happen that confirms how your life sucks. And when it does, you no longer deal with it individually, you use it to keep strengthening the existence of that general feeling of everything feeling bad. Some person is giving you problems, and each time they do it you add it to the ‘they’re ruining my life’ sludgeball, rather than just dealing with that problem by itself. You’ve been having problems with money and food and shelter, things just aren’t going well, and each time another new thing happens ‘against you’, you add it to the ‘I can’t take this any more’ ball, rather than dealing with each new thing as an individual happening.
When you’ve arrived at this act of living in sludgeball thoughts, rather than dealing separately with each and every new thing that comes along, then you’ve lost the battle. You no longer have the will or the clarity of mind to deal with specific things, you’ve now created your own sludgeball statement and you’re regressing to it daily, as each event adds to it. And since you’re no longer concentrating on each thing, of course the things add up, overwhelm you, and get out of control. You become immobilized by your own sense of being overwhelmed by this big ball of ‘things’.
Remember! No problem is just one thing, there are many separate elements to every problem. But when you get to the state of only seeing them as one combined being, of course it becomes impossible to do anything about it — how can you possibly solve a problem once it has gone past the stage of being specific and moved into the stage of being non-specific, generic, a single overwhelming entity?
Break up any problem in your life, back to its separate elements.
Deconstruct it again. Begin to refuse to classify your life by such an all-encompassing statement as ‘this sucks’, or ‘I can’t deal with this’, or any of the other totalitarian complaints you’ve been dwelling in.
You cannot deal with the whole, because the whole is comprised of separate parts, each one of which needs addressing individually. And even some of those individual parts are so large, that you cannot deal with those separately either. But I promise you this:
If you begin to deconstruct all the parts of your life that have gotten you to this stage of asking for help, you WILL find some parts that you can work with. They may not be the large parts in the beginning, but you will be able to chip away at some small parts. Don’t tackle the tough ones yet, because they’ll overwhelm you and you’ll just feel like a failure again and lump that feeling in with the sludgeball, reconfirming its existence. Instead, start by tackling some small parts, some parts that are so small and easy that you maybe thought it was ridiculous and useless to do them because they were so easy and not a significant part of the larger problem. Why do that, why tackle tiny parts of your problem?
Here’s what happens when you start off by tackling those small parts of your problems:
First, you start to build a solid path of DOING SOMETHING, you progress past your stage of immobilization. Instead of being immobilized by the large things that overwhelm you, you at least start some small movement again. This will feel good, it will grease the joints of your body and mind. Even if you only take small steps that are hardly noticeable, hardly worthy of mention, you are getting the motion started, getting the doing started. Don’t get caught up in major accomplishment yet, this is simply a step to start getting your feet walking one step in front of the other. Do not underestimate the toxicity to your life of ‘doing nothing about a problem, because you don’t know what to do’. That immobilization freezes up your body and mind and freedom. Simply getting moving again and dealing with the tiniest parts of your problem, with the easiest movements and no thought of major goals and accomplishments, begins your flow towards disassembling your problems.
When you begin this, and you formally congratulate yourself for each little thing you accomplish, the whole, the sludgeball, begins to lose its shape a little. Just a little, but that’s a start, right? It begins to lose some of its weight, some of its control over your mind and emotions. The big parts of that sludgeball of problems might still be there, but we’re getting you started along the path of tackling things in bite-sized pieces, parts that you can handle in the beginning, to get you moving again, having small successes again, learning that you have power again, learning that you matter and have a voice in this world again, learning that your life can move again, even within any seemingly insurmountable problems.
Once this forward motion begins, once you begin chipping away at the small things… then you naturally build up some velocity, and a magical idea appears: you can actually even tackle small parts of the big things! This is a revelation to people who have felt overwhelmed for much of their lives. You separate the small things you know you can handle, from the big things you think you can’t… but when you start to accomplish the small things, and begin to realize you can actually tackle some parts of the big problem… that’s when your life begins to turn around, turn for the better.
If ‘something is ruining your life’ is the sludgeball statement, you start tackling all kinds of tiny things about that. You start keeping a journal of possibilities as they come to your mind, things you can do to deal with your stress and fear over that thing, things you can do or say to others who know about it and can maybe help your cause, things you can do or say in the media, to the police, to anyone; you start looking for books and articles by other people who have maybe been through a similar situation and won past it, look for tips from them, even contact them and ask them directly for help in dealing with it.
You hold this sludgeball statement up in front of you in your hand, like it’s a real and solid thing, a globe with seams between the separate parts of it, like a globe of the earth or maybe a globular jigsaw puzzle, and you start turning it around and around, peering at it, studying at it, and looking at all the sections, larger and smaller, that it is made of. You start thinking of ways to tackle every one of those small details, and in so doing you start, piece by small piece, a deconstruction of that ball of sludge.
If you break it down, identify its separate elements, you will find that some of those elements you CAN alter. Some can be worked at. Maybe you will even laugh at how little power some of them actually have over you, how trivial they seem by themselves. Before, when you’d lumped them into a whole that seemed indomitable, they overwhelmed you and immobilized you; after you separate and isolate each part of the problem and start working with them, one by one and individually, you may be surprised to find just how weak many parts of your problem truly are.
And this is where the previous page (Everything Works) comes into powerful play. When you have separated and isolated the individual parts of your big problem, you can begin to utilize the many things around you and knowledge inside you, things you hadn’t considered using against the ‘big problem’, and use those things to help deal with all those separated parts. The more you do this, the more parts of the problem you alter or erase… the more that ball loses its shape, the more it loses much or all of its power over you.
You might not get rid of all of your big problem. You might not entirely escape the grasp of some parts of it. But there ARE parts of it you can tackle, remove, work with, change, improve. Some of those parts will be the tiny ones, but some of those parts that you successfully tackle will be some of the surprisingly large and powerful ones.
There is no problem in your life that is a singular indomitable form. Every problem is comprised of smaller parts, smaller happenings and circumstances, and at least some of those can be worked with and overcome.
So you’ve learned to break apart your problems and start moving past your paralysis and overwhelm; what NEXT?