This Friday, we lit a stick of incense and went room by room in the new house, cleansing it, blessing it, announcing our intentions, preparing for habitation. An hour later, as we were about to leave to go up north for the weekend, we discovered that the sewer main had backed up into the basement, pooling water (and less desirable substances) around the floor drains.
I suppose this could be another sign of how the year and renovation have gone. But we are choosing instead to see it as part of the purification – the last moment of resistance before all the toxins and bad juju leave the system.
Over the past year and a half, friends have said, of major home renovations, that they take twice as long and cost twice as much. This is said with good intentions, as a kind of consolation – don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. Yet I’d heard it so often that, I’ve realized, the expectation became my reality. I was more lax than I could have been; I convinced myself that the delays and incidentals were all part of the process, when I should have, from the start, expected the work to be on time and on budget.
This is a lesson I’ll have to keep relearning: Not to let expectations become my reality, not to substitute research or heard experience for lived experience. And not to substitute lived experience for new experience, either!
I wrote the following in a notepad this week, exclamation point and all:
2020 goal: Skillful action, appropriate response. Not too firm or soft; vulcanized rubber, bouncing back, responsive!
May we hope for the best, yes, but may we also meet each moment, project, relationship, as if for the first time, with the energy it deserves.