When There’s a Crack in the Works, Let the Fresh Air In

JRS Shibumi at the Rainy Window

If you’ve been watching the Behind the Scenes, you’ll know it’s been a bit of a tough go here in the studio this week. A tree root has broken through one of our pipes and that has meant some flooding to deal with now and some deep repairs to come.

Here’s what I’ve been doing my best to focus on as I’ve moved, cleaned and sorted, mop in hand and bleach in tow.

Sorting through our belongings is an act of self-knowing.

It’s hard not to get frazzled by disruption but inevitably the cracks let in some fresh air. When my frustration grew at stored items needing temporary homes away from the water, I found myself channeling that intensity into finally clearing away things that had been sitting there for ages because it had been easier to keep them than to face making a decision. I used a simple question to guide the way, “What’s important to me?”

Tending to our things can be an act of gratitude.

For the past several years I’ve been working on this as a practice. Instead of resenting time I spend cleaning, repairing, etc., I try to take the moment to recognize how great it is to have whatever it is I’m tending in my life (and if I don’t feel that way, I clear it!) Yes, it’s rotten to mop up backed up water in the basement but I feel blessed to have a basement and a home.

Cleaning can be an act of blessing.

We’ve all likely been in and around that energy storm of anger, overwhelm and resentment that shows up when crappy things like basement flooding happens. I didn’t want to pile that onto an already challenging situation. Instead I tried to turn the clean-up into an act of love. I did my best to move, wash and disinfect everything with care.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I didn’t feel anger, overwhelm and resentment. You bet I did, especially because the waters rose on the one day that I had an open schedule, the one day that I was going to take a bit of a breather. But what I’ve learned is that I could expand that negativity by digging into it and holding on hard or I could try, as best I could, moment by moment, to let it go and reach for something better.

This crack in the pipes was, and will continue to be, an opportunity for me to decide which muscles I’m going to strengthen. I’m going to aim for my muscles of love and compassion. And probably my back muscles too – all that lifting and mopping is heavy work!

Leave a Reply