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When Plans Fall Apart and Two Methods of Coping

We've all felt it.

That familiar slump of sadness, defeat, and discouragement when plans fall apart. From a simple afternoon commitment to which you'd been looking forward to the life you'd envisioned with someone you love disintegrating and anything in between... it hurts. I had a humbling example of the feeling occur this week as I prepared for our upcoming Heal & Rise Women's Retreat.

I was giddy to bring another group of beautiful souls to Galena, Illinois. This historic and beautiful town overlooking the Mississippi River is close to my heart, as the energy is both fresh and new while also holding the wisdom of many centuries. The naturescape takes your breath away, and this was the place I gathered with my first group of open-hearted women for a weekend retreat. Knowing this would be a wonderful experience, I neglected marketing and sharing about it as much as I'd done with prior retreats in favor of jumping right into the excitement of the planning stage.

When only a few women were able to commit and a couple needed to pull back from the commitment in order to prioritize their families, I discovered something that saddened me. I was going to have to cancel our reservation at the beautiful farmhouse overlooking the vineyard and postpone this retreat. There it was. That all too familiar feeling.


Yet within this feeling of failure, there was another feeling hiding under the surface. I was slightly relieved. You see, I had two sick kiddos at home (one of which enduring the painful experience of teething) and I had no idea how my mama heart could leave them unwell if they were not yet feeling fully healed. Perhaps this occurred so I could fulfill multiple sides of my purpose... caring for my littles and being fully present with them in their time of need, and also planning an even more aligned and soul-healing retreat for after the holidays. Perhaps this time frame would allow for more women to enjoy the community of one another's support and the incredible women who had hoped to attend would be able to take part. Perhaps in the meantime I could write some more guidebooks and record some meditations for my new Heal & Rise Library.

Even with this hopefulness, the feelings of disappointment and self-criticism worked their way to the forefront. I knew this required a deeper mindset shift.

Coping Method One

Envision what your life would look like if your every plan came to fruition. Remember that career that your younger self was set on but you discovered would make you miserable? Or that partner you'd been absolutely set on spending your life with only to find out they would make the list of worst choices you'd ever made? Remember those times things didn't work out, only to have something come together even more perfectly than you could have imagined?

We are only able to imagine the future based on our past experiences. Oftentimes when our plans fall apart it feels like our entire idea of what the future is going to be like crumbles with it. We get down for days, weeks, even months under the illusion that our every happiness was wrapped up in what we believed our future would hold.

But what if...

What if we were to realize that our intentions fell apart because something even greater is being woven for us? What if we felt gratitude wash over us that our plans didn't come together because we were being spared from a greater pain or challenge. What if we understood that sometimes what we envision to be the best thing for us is incredibly limiting, and there's more yet to experience?

If this technique feels falsely optimistic at the moment or you're unable to truly feel the message with your heart, don't let it lower your vibration. There's another technique to try.

Coping Method Two

As I poured out my story of disappointment to my sister and how I wanted to support these wonderful women who I knew could use the nurturing, she reminded me of an valuable perspective mindset. "If we never failed, we'd never have learned those important lessons." With every experience of our plans going awry, there are at least a handful of lessons we have the opportunity to integrate into our lives. We learn about ourselves and the areas we could grow. We learn about the aspects of ourselves that ARE working and can acknowledge our strengths. We learn more about the people around us and our connections with others.

With this experience I learned the value of sharing and spreading the word of my offerings without hesitation. I learned that there is certainly a need for these women's retreats, but I have other ways of supporting and empowering women's spiritual healing and growth as well. I was reminded of how grateful I am to be able to care for my own kiddos when they are not feeling one hundred percent. And boy, was I reminded of how much I LOVE supporting, nurturing, encouraging, and empowering YOU!

Love & Healing,

Ashley Kay

Photography by Jenny Meyer of



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm a writer, energy healer, and plant-obsessed meditating mama on a mission of guiding women to Heal & Rise! For more about my story...

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