The wind howled and the rain flew sideways battering the windows with its fury. The storm began in the early morning hours and by suppertime, the birdbath and all the bowls I normally fill with seed were overflowing with water.
I stood in the kitchen listening to the commotion while stirring a pot of soup. That’s when I heard the tap, tap, tapping coming from my office. Curious (and a little nervous), I covered the pot and headed for the room to investigate. As I stood in the doorway looking around, I noticed a pool of water on the sill of the large window that overlooks the backyard. Actually, calling it a pool is putting it mildly. There were puddles of water everywhere – on the sill, on the floor, and streaming toward the rug in the center of the room.
Now, before I continue, let me share a little backstory. Five years ago, we underwent a massive construction project to fix a major water issue with the front of our house. There were construction crews here for four months dismantling stone and replacing siding on the whole façade. Then, two years later, before the pandemic hit, we discovered that two large windows in the second-floor bathroom had failed. Anytime we had a southeasterly rainstorm, we’d have to set towels around the sills and floors until we could have the windows replaced.
To say I’ve had my fill of leaks is a major understatement. I still have nightmares about walls caving in and water flooding our home.
But this time, when I discovered the problem in my office, I felt the impact of my meditation practice take hold. As I walked into the room and saw the leak, I started to panic. My mind immediately went to the two previous fiascos and began conjuring up worst-case scenarios for this new one. Feeling anxious and angry, I sat down on the sofa and started to cry. Not again, I thought to myself, I can’t handle another leak!
That’s when I gave myself a spiritual adjustment.
First, I shifted my inner dialogue.
Sweetheart (always start with sweetheart), stay in this moment. Breathe. You got this. Deal with the life that’s unfolding before you and do what needs to be done. If you panic you’ll zap your energy and start circling the drain (pun intended because I like to make myself laugh when I’m upset).
Next, I closed my eyes and took several slow deep breaths through my nose, extending the exhale on each round. Once I felt calmer and more resourceful, I went into the pantry, grabbed a ladder, a few towels, and a bucket, and went back to the office to clean up the mess. I took a few photos and a quick video for the window repairman and put a pan in place to catch the water. Then I went back to my soup.
Each time my mind attempted to return to the scene of the crime, I returned to my breath instead, making a point to extend my exhales because that’s what keeps the body centered and calm. Within minutes I not only felt better, I actually forgot about the window!
We’re starting a New Year and while it’s tempting to set fresh goals and intentions, sometimes the most helpful thing we can do is stick with what works… and make it stronger.
I’ll continue to cultivate a calm inner state that allows me to deal with life as it unfolds throughout 2023 and I encourage you to join me. Happy New Year!
P.S. –My new audiobook, Self Care for the Wisdom Years, is now available from Sounds True. You can find it, here.