The Closing of the Year (or Shit Happens)

My New Year’s Eve was perfect.  Absolutely couldn’t-have-been-better PERFECT.  This was not entirely clear to me earlier in the day.  It seemed pretty sub-optimal at moments.  Oh, silly girl.   Have you no faith?

A few weeks ago I gave myself an early Christmas present – a book/program called The Desire Map, by Danielle LaPorte.  It’s a different way of conceiving what we want from our lives, how to set ‘goals’ and intentions, and find our true internal compass.  I had big plans to spend most of my New Year’s weekend reading the book, working through the exercises, drilling down on my ‘core desired feelings’, and generally getting 2013 off to a good start.  I also planned to do a lot of relaxing, regrouping, and hitting the reset-button on my overly busy brain and life.  This weekend was going to be PERFECT.  Everything I wanted to do, and nothing I didn’t.

Yesterday, being the actual eve of the new year, was supposed to be the most perfect part of my most perfect weekend.   There were, however, a few obstacles.  I awoke exhausted – I was out too late, drank too much, and danced too hard the night before.  Well worth it, but still…ugh.  So, on not enough sleep, I went out into the freezing cold to seek out the perfect hangover food (Success! Thanks, Sloan’s in Edgewater), and pick up some critical items such as a new rug for the basement.  Why the rug?  We’ll get to that in a minute.

In the midst of my ‘perfect retreat weekend’ I had scheduled a meeting with my consulting CFO.  Not part of my original vision for the weekend, but it was the only time I could do it, and it felt important.  So what did I do, unexpectedly, through most of the meeting?  CRY.   About not having a handle on the systems we’re putting in place.  About feeling incompetent, overwhelmed, out of control, and stressed about my financial/business life.  About having too much to do and not knowing where to start.  About the possibility of failing.  This spontaneous tear-fest in front of someone I have a working relationship with was not in my plan, and was pretty embarrassing, but there I was – in all my glorious humanness.   And anyway, I couldn’t spend too much time worrying about it, because there was one more thing I had to finish before I could start my “Perfect New Year’s Eve”.

I had to deal with THE SHIT.  I don’t mean this in some metaphoric, “I have some stuff to deal with” kinda way.  I mean this literally.  See, a few days ago I had a sewage flood in my basement.  And the way my basement is configured, the part that was affected?   My meditation area.  My sacred, holy, beautiful shrine space.  Literally, the place where I sit each day in order to connect with my spiritual path was full of shit.  The cleanup process took a few days.  Move furniture, call plumber, throw out rug, mop, rinse, mop, rinse, mop. Deal with the fact that the drain isn’t draining so every time you think you’re done with the shit, more shit appears.  Call plumber again.  Love him for having a sense of humor and good advise.   Perform microsurgery on basement drain (suddenly I see how my Nurse Practitioner life and my home life overlap.  It’s at the intersection of poop and surgical instruments.  I wonder how my dad would feel about how his old hemostat got used yesterday?).  Mop and rinse again.  And again.  And yet again.  Corral the shit into a smaller and smaller area.  Patiently wait for it to drain away.

One smart thing I did in order to make this 3-day cleanup process productive?  I listened to the audio version of The Desire Map.   At least that way I was accomplishing some of what I had planned for the weekend.  Finally last night, on New Year’s Eve, the final push to finish the cleanup.  I just had to get it done before the new year arrived, you know?  Then I could get to the bottle of champagne I had chilling, and spend some quiet time with my thoughts, feelings and dreams.  I thought I had about an hour of crap-duty left.  Nearly three hours later, I was standing in my boots over the basement drain, still at it, thinking to myself “Are You Fucking Kidding Me???”   And then it dawned on me.  This is PERFECT.  This is exactly what I need to be doing.  Cleaning up residual yuck in order to create a fresh start.  This was a huge “Ah-ha” moment.  Suddenly I was happy to be doing exactly what I was doing.

I finally finished around 8:30.  Shrine area clean and beautiful again, new rug in place, everything sufficiently sterilized and generally in order.  But now I was way too worked-up to sit down quietly with a notebook and think about my ‘core desired feelings’ for 2013.  I was hungry and restless, and wanted to do something ‘fun’.  So I opened the bottle of champagne, ordered the most perfect Thai take-out ever, and put on the music playlist created by Danielle LaPorte to accompany The Desire Map.  I turned it up loud, and jammed out.  I asked myself what I MOST wanted to do with the rest of my night.  The unexpected answer?  Rearrange my art studio.  Seriously.  I had an overwhelming desire to recreate my creative space.  So in between bites of sesame scallops and sips of champagne, I got out my tools, took apart a desk downstairs and moved it upstairs piece by piece, moved things around, dusted, shuffled art supplies, hung art and inspiration on the walls, and moved things around some more.   The room I’ve been struggling with for two years magically transformed into a space I completely love.  Within this process I began to organically feel the answers to some of the exercises in The Desire Map.  So I wrote them down as they came to me, without pressure, without making it a bit deal.  Eat.  Drink.  Write.  Rearrange.  Be merry.  Repeat.

Around 11, I began thinking about the events/people/things/feelings I wanted to release from 2012.  I tore off a piece of scratch paper from my recycling bin and jotted them down, in brown pen – just to be thoroughly symbolic.  And I kept on writing down my desired feelings for 2013 as they came to me.  I kept listening to Danielle’s playlist.  Around 11:57 I walked outside into the bitter cold with my brown list of yuck, and I burned it.  As I walked back in at straight-up midnight, the song playing was KD Lang’s Allelujah.  Seriously…!  Suddenly I realized this night could not get any more perfect.  Everything was exactly as it should be.  I climbed into a hot bath with a glass of champagne, completely relaxed, and called it good.

So what’s the take-home message here?  Shit happens.  Things don’t always go as planned, but they may be going even better than you wished for.  Expect the unexpected.  Sometimes you have to do stuff you don’t particularly want to do, in order to get to the good stuff you do want to do. Clean up your mess, and then go do something wildly fun and creative.  Be in love with what you create.  Let go of the yuck so it doesn’t follow you into the future.  Put some thought into how you want to feel in your life, and then go about what it takes to feel that way.  Trust the process.  Be open to surprises and detours.  Take a hot bath.  Eat, drink, and be merry.

So, where is the shit-storm you need to handle?  What awesome thing is just waiting to be manifested by your fabulous self?  Whence does your surprising and perfect unfolding lie?  (yes, I just used ‘whence’ in a sentence).

Do yourself a favor.  Invest in yourself and check out The Desire Map:   It may just change the way you navigate your life.  It will certainly give you some cool and juicy things to think about.

Happy New Year, to each and every one of you!

3 thoughts on “The Closing of the Year (or Shit Happens)

  1. Myra – Have you read the War of Art by Steven Pressfield? It’s very much in line with the experience you’ve written about, and you may enjoy it as well…

  2. Oh. My. Gosh. What a crazy way to spend new year’s eve! As I was reading, I wasn’t sure there was going to be a happy ending to your story. I’m so glad you were able to get rid of all the shit in your life (literally and figuratively). You are one incredibly strong, focused woman to go through all that.

    I’m wishing you lots of happiness and success in 2013! :)

  3. Love this post! L.O.V.E. it.
    Sounds like a chapter out of my life…sans the basement with shit…but I have enough symbolic stuff that I can relate.