When It Rains, It Pours
2020 has been a year of “when it rains, it pours” for most of us. The catastrophe of the global pandemic, with one crisis or difficulty after another piling on top of each other.
Mini-mini example for me: on top of sheltering-in-place for the better part of nine months, not going anywhere, not working with clients or teaching in person, fracturing my shoulder in early December, can’t drive anywhere – Sunday evening a week ago my 25 year-old refrigerator died. Not unreasonable.
The next evening my 25 year-old microwave died not. Also not unreasonable. I accepted both, moved my perishables to my next-door neighbors’ freezer and refrigerator in their garage, and set about coping.
My neighbors drove me to my favorite local appliance store on Tuesday. Microwave not in stock but deliverable within a week; fine. But because of a tremendous coronavirus-caused backlog in manufacturing appliances, the refrigerator that would fit in my kitchen space was not available until August 2021. Whoa.
When I returned home, doing the simple task of changing the toilet paper roll but the metal roller bar slipped and everything fell in the wastebasket… I burst into tears. Truly, also not unreasonable, just tipped over the edge.
Wednesday my neighbors drove me to a large chain appliance store; we found a reasonable replacement for my refrigerator that could be delivered in three days. And now the trek back-and-forth to my neighbors’ garage seemed more manageable.
Exercises for “when it rains, it pours”
Symbols and rituals can help us process through the emotions that come with disappointment frustration and overwhelm.
To let go
1. Write on separate pieces of paper every big and little complaint and kvetch.
For me – my fear that the heater, also 25 years old, would break down next. That the big year end expenses would put a major hole in my planned year-end charitable giving . My fears that I had mis-measured and the new refrigerator wouldn’t fit into the bay in my kitchen. (I had 1/2 inch to spare.)
And, of course, many larger frustrations for all of 2020.
2. Allow enough time to write out all the complaints and kvetches that allow you to really generate a sense of thoroughly and completely letting go.
3. Bury the pieces of paper in the backyard, or burn them in a small container on the street, or recycle them with a heartfelt prayer of release.
4. Notice and reflect on any inner shift, any lightening of carrying these burdens.
5. Repeat as needed. Other dips and bumps may come to mind and need to be released as well.
1. Gather symbols of resolution of the problem or hope for a better day and display them on a desk, kitchen counter, windowsill.
2. Visit them daily for a week (or more), taking in the goodness of life as it continues to unfold. Grateful for everything that is going more than all right.
For me – a Mi Casa Es Su Casa (my house is your house) wall plaque that my neighbors had given me last year to honor the (also) 25 year old friendship. Putting that front and center next to the new microwave was a great nourishment of my gratitude.
Never to be blithe, but acknowledging that there can be rainbows only during or after rain, part of the cycle of life, accepting both.