When Things Fall Apart

Author: Pema Chödrön


Official Description:  How can we live our lives when everything seems to fall apart—when we are continually overcome by fear, anxiety, and pain? The answer, Pema Chödrön suggests, might be just the opposite of what you expect. Here, in her most beloved and acclaimed work, Pema shows that moving toward painful situations and becoming intimate with them can open up our hearts in ways we never before imagined. Drawing from traditional Buddhist wisdom, she offers life-changing tools for transforming suffering and negative patterns into habitual ease and boundless joy.


Why I recommend it: I began reading this book during a time in my life when my father had fallen ill and was entering into hospice care. A friend of mine recommended this book to me, stating that she read it when her mother passed away and that it had really helped to bring her peace. I can say that this book brought me comfort and perspective during what was inarguably the most difficult thing I had ever gone through in my life. When going through that kind of pain, it is natural to ask the question “How do I fix this?” or “What am I supposed to do with this pain?” Pema reminds us that life is a spectrum of different emotions and experiences and that in order to feel one we must feel them all- and feel them wholly. She reminded me that in order to heal, you must leave room to feel. She speaks to the courage and strength within all of us.


My favorite quote from the book: “Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”