Today, I had a great plan! I scheduled my morning so that I could work through my “to-do” list quickly & get into my office to write, work on two retreat outlines, and then get my sagging ass onto the elliptical for at least 15 minutes. I was feeling pretty jazzed as I sipped my fresh hot cup of coffee while making my bed, an organizational rule of thumb passed down from my mother, “Queen Ann”, that helps get my day started on a positive note. I could feel that nothing was going to sidetrack my agenda today- everything was going to go according to plan and then… BANG!
My three dogs, as startled as I was, all ran down the stairs, basically tumbling in unison into my dining room, crashing into a large piece of pottery, which fell to the ground and broke into pieces, causing more instant chaos.
But, what the hell was that banging?! I looked out back and saw, to my surprise, five men attaching large ladders and scaffolding to my house. Shit… the siders! Weren’t they starting next week? I managed to wrangle my dogs into my office, picked up the broken pottery jar in my dining room, and calmly stepped outside, where I proceeded to literally step in dog shit as I approached the foremen of the job.
He smiled at me – I am sure he saw me step into that lovely pile of Great Dane crap- and proceeded to pleasantly inform me that they were doing us a HUGE favor and would be here two days earlier than planned to begin removing the old siding on my house.
I wanted to scream- actually, I was screaming inside as I smiled at this man while he informed me of this “good” news. I needed to get out of my disgusting clogs and clean myself up, but instead I stood there listening to him, swirling in frustration and irritation.
Now friends, if you don’t write or paint or compose, you might not get this, but for most of us that do, quiet or solitary space is often needed to get into a groove of creativity. Certainly not five workmen banging on the exterior of your house while your three dogs go bananas with each bang. Fun times, I tell you- nothing earth shattering, just a complete disruption of my plans to be productive and get to the many creative tasks I had been putting off until just the right time. It felt like a total shit show.
I had a personal pity party for a few minutes and allowed myself to feel good & pissed at how my day got turned upside down, and then… I got on with it. Another “Queen Ann” rule is to not allow the storms in your life to blow your inner house down- your house can shudder and groan, but don’t let it get blown down. My mother, who is one of the most practical women I know, taught each of her children how to get back onto their feet and alter their course, if needed. Quite literally, make chicken salad out of chicken shit.
How do you do this? Simple- change your mind. When we change our perspective and allow for some flow and flexibility, we are allowing for the miracle of a change of heart. Here are a few examples: I could sulk about not having my planned day of quiet solitude where I could write uninterrupted OR I could get excited for the fact that my home was undergoing a transformation I had been saving and waiting on for over a year. I could be annoyed that five men were bashing the side of my home and disturbing my peace and my dogs’ sanity OR I could give thanks that there are people willing to do this type of work on a rainy day, so that I might have a beautiful home.
Need more? The broken piece of pottery was a piece of art I had treasured for over a decade. In this case, I could be angry at my dogs for knocking it down and breaking it OR I could appreciate how protective my pets are of my home and all of us. I could give thanks for having had such a beautiful piece of art grace my home for this long, then bless and release the broken pieces, making way for something new.
In order for this day to turn into a “chicken salad” type of day, it was up to me and the altering of my attitude. So you know what I did? I turned up some Stevie Wonder, poured a big glass of sparkling water, lit some incense, cleaned of my clogs with Clorox Clean Up (another thing to give serious thanks for, BTW) and got my sorry self onto the elliptical. I could at least cross THAT off my “to-do” list.