A “Catastrophe” Turned Abundant

by Teresa Romain

[Editor’s note: This week, our resident prosperity coach returns with an insightful look at how we often miss the opportunities right in front of us because we’re too busy focusing on something that’s gone wrong. It’s a re-print from one of Teresa’s recent newsletters, but it was SO good, I had to share it here.]

You probably don’t know that, among other things, my husband Dan is a watch- and clock-maker. He doesn’t really MAKE the watches and clocks. Rather, he repairs and restores them – particularly old, mechanical ones. He gets customers from all sorts of places – and it’s not uncommon for people to mail their watches in for repair from different parts of the country.

I tell you this because the “catastrophe” this letter is about occurred as he was repairing one such pocket watch. When Dan repairs (or overhauls) an old watch – he completely takes it apart and checks all of the tiny pieces that make up the “watch movement”. Tiny jewels, hairsprings, mainsprings, screws, balance wheels – he takes it all apart, cleans them all, fixes what needs fixing and puts it all back together again.

And sometimes in the process of doing that – accidents happen. Like a little tiny spring will go flying or he’ll drop a jewel or small screw. I always know when it happens – because I’ll usually hear a “sound effect” coming from his watch office. If I’m in the nearby kitchen, it’s usually followed with a desperate “Honey – I need your help!” And, if I’m available, I go into search through Dan’s hair, to look on his clothes and under his feet before he moves. If I don’t find it on him, then one or both of us begin the process of combing the floor and his bench for the TINY missing part.

Usually one of us finds it. Sometimes we don’t. Usually, that’s not a big problem – Dan can order a replacement part.

Other times – like when he’s working on a rare pocketwatch – losing a part can be catastrophic. Because replacement parts don’t exist at all or, if they do, they are incredibly difficult to find and, as a result, can be quite expensive.

Having said all that – can you guess what kind of watch he was working on this week when I heard a loud “sound effect” come from his office, followed by an unusually desperate “Honey, can you come here?”

You got it. It was a rare pocket watch and a REALLY important part went flying as he was trying to put it all back together. I looked all over Dan – and didn’t find it. Then we moved our search to the floor – first combing it visually and then using a magnet to cover every inch. No luck. The part had disappeared.

Dan was beside himself. Upset. Sad. Mad at himself. Scared. Really scared. He kept saying, “I HAVE to find that part. I can’t fix the watch without that part. I NEED that part. I’m never going to be able to find a replacement for that part. What am I going to do?”

So he kept looking for it. And the longer he kept looking, the more upset and scared he became. Until, finally, he had to accept that he had lost it and he probably wasn’t going to find it.

Which meant he had to find a replacement for it amidst a bunch of old watches that he has kept on hand to “harvest” their parts. Knowing how rare this particular watch was, he knew he wouldn’t have an EXACT replacement – so he he decided to try a bunch of parts from different watches and see if he could find a substitute that worked. Often, that’s a long process – with no guarantee of success.

This time, howerver, one of the first “substitute parts” he found looked like it might work. He put it in the watch to see what would happen. This time, I head a completely different “sound effect” come from his watch office. I heard….

“Wow! I don’t believe it. It just might work. Wow! It IS working. This is amazing. This part is actually working better than the original. I can’t believe it. This is GREAT!”

And instantly I knew I was going to write about this “catastrophe” in my weekly newsletter.

Because I saw myself in Dan. And I suddenly wondered how often in my life have I worked really hard to find what I THINK I need to make my life work – only to (eventually) discover that I don’t really need it and there might be something that will work better?

How often have I “lost” or “broken” something and spent a ton of energy and time trying to fix it because I thought I needed it back for my life (or business) to work? Again – only to one day realize that there’s actually something even better available to replace the thing I lost or broke?

How often, in these situations, have I acted in panic – trying to get things back the way they were – when what I needed to do was ACCEPT what had happened and open myself to new possibilities and try new things?

How often have I doggedly and determinedly tried to MAKE things happen the way I think they need to happen – because I was afraid to let go and trust that there is a better way or that something better will come along?

These are the questions I’ve been asking myself since Dan’s “catastrophe”. And the answer to all of these questions hias ranged from “Often to all the time”. And the result has, in many ways, been catastrophic in my life.

Because those behaviors – making things happen the way I think they need to happen, trying to hold onto or find what has been lost, trying to fix things so everything is like it once was – well, they actually block my ability to ACCESS and experience Abundance in my life. I can’t TRUST the Flow of Abundance in my life and, at the same time, try to CONTROL it.

That doesn’t mean I don’t do what I can do. It doesn’t mean that Dan doesn’t try to find a part he drops. It’s more about doing what I can do and he can do about the “broken” and “lost” things without the desperation, the attachment and the fear. And it’s about knowing when to let go, try something else and trust in something greater than yourself and what you can see and do by yourself. To trust Abundance.

There IS a pretty funny (and abundant) postscript to this story. Several hours AFTER Dan found this GREAT “substitute” part, he actually found the original one he lost. So now he had two options for fixing this rare watch! Talk about abundance!

Well, there you have it- the catastrophe turned abundant and the realizations it created for me. Now it’s your turn.

Did you recognize yourself in Dan’s story? Did any of the questions it prompted for me offer realizations, insights or AHAs for you? Is there something in your life now that is “broken” or “lost” that you are frantically, desperately or doggedly trying to fix and get back to the way it WAS? Is it time for you to let it go and open yourself to something else – to new actions and possibilities?

Is there any area in your life where you are trying to CONTROL the process and outcome instead of TRUST the process and the Flow of Abundance in your life?

As always, I’d love to hear what (if anything) you got from my story today.
Teresa Romain is the President & Founder of and has trained and coached thousands of individuals around the world access and experience greater freedom, fulfillment, well-being and abundance in their businesses and their lives. Unique in her approach and dynamic and passionate in her style, Teresa is known for making the transformational process of accessing abundance challenging, fun and powerful in its results.


  1. Lisa Robbin Young

    Teresa, thanks so much for this informative and inspirational post. I saw so much of myself at various points in my life, and I’m sure our readers will, too.

    Thanks again!

  2. Sarah

    This is me all over the place and back. My knee jerk reaction that I get so often makes me panic and I end up going the wrong way…then I have to settle down and see what is best for me.Thanks for sharing.

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