I have been doing demo on my disgusting wreck of a bathroom. It is unbelievable what bad shape Lucy was in. She held it up with some solid bones, but the neglect and lack of maintenance is astonishing.
I got down to the studs after days of ripping old and decrepit laminated masonite with a burnt orange fern pattern on them. I was horrified to find a 2’+ long yellow jacket nest inside my walls. EEEEW. The beaverboard walls looked like shit under the laminated masonite, but still had a bit of a Robert Rauchenberg feel to their collagey style. I temporarily thought I’d keep them intact until I found the wasp nest.
Taking beaver board off is actually easier in many ways than drywall. Beaver board responds like papery wood when you tear it, and comes apart with less effort. It does require leverage however, and it’s almost impossible to get it out of the 3/4″ gap at the bottom of the wall that joins the floor. It does create a fiberglass-ish feel to the skin when it is airborne, so afterwork showers are a must. Drywall disintegrates into powder and rock and is heavier and dustier. I guess if I was in trade-it wouldn’t be as a wall installer.
Ok, no use in trying to make this job sound less shitty. It is not fun, and I don’t like removing wall board of any kind. But at the same time it’s incredibly satisfying. I was working on the demo today and thinking about this job and what I had left to do. I was getting all worried and thinking about money and time and weather and wanting to live a more normal life and do stuff sometimes and my brain was on full-anxiety mode for a few minutes.
Then I had this MAJOR a-ha moment.
I’ve already thought of transforming Lucy as a metaphor for transforming myself. And while we’ve been growing and transforming I’ve been trying to rush the process. I’ve been wanting to heal faster, finish the house faster, meet someone that clicks faster.
But that is so not the point of what I’m doing. This is surrender. Complete surrender to the moment, the now, the new, the growth, the inner healing. This is the whole point of being here alone in this
wreck neglected mess of a house and this neglected mess of a human soul. The point is to grow myself into a stronger version of myself right along with Lucy. This isn’t work either of us can rush.
I’ve been taking Molly Mahar’s class Holiday Council for the last 3 years, and I won’t miss this year, either. It’s 3 weeks right before Christmas that an incredible growing group of women gather, plan, celebrate, meditate, vision and support each other online. I’ve made some amazing friends that I’ve mostly never met (except for a few this summer in Helena, including Molly and a new local friend here in Billings) and it has truly changed my life.
One of the frameworks she’s taught us is the circle of Unrest-Destruction-Growth-Mastery. I’m constantly going between destruction-growth in my life in the last few years. It’s a back and forth like a teeter totter. Luckily it doesn’t freak me out…too much.
My astrologer taught me a lot in the last two years, too. She explained that I’m in a balsamic phase in my chart, a several year period of time where I am deciding what I need to take into the future. This is a time where I’m constantly going to experience destruction-growth, and it’s just what is right now. The best thing I can do for myself is to learn to just BE with all that energy and my own innate intensity and just love the journey.
If I think about where I was with this energy in August of 2018, August 2017, August 2016, August 2015, there has definitely a major increase in mellowing out. I have genuinely become so much more comfortable with what is, and I’ve stopped seeing life as shit. I had to go through a lot of shit to get here, those were some tough years, but there was also a great amount of beauty and love that I had the privilege to experience.
In Buddhism it is one of the Noble Truths that pain is promised. But it is our choice whether to suffer. We can accept the pain and experience it, and just learn and grow and move on.
The Four Noble Truths
- The truth of suffering (Dukkha)
- The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya)
- The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha)
- The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga)
I’m not an enlightened Buddhist. But I appreciate this teaching deeply. It makes me so much happier to realize that life is not about being “happy,” it is about finding peace within all experiences. That’s what I think people might mean by “happy,” that state of peace that comes when we’re overcome with good feelings and we’re not stuck worrying that the good times are about to end.
I spent so much of my life before the destruction-growth of the last 4 years trying to “get happy.” It’s like the Disney version of happily ever after with the hetero marriage and white dress that we were all spoonfed as kids. It’s not reality, it’s just a possible choice. But being “happy” isn’t a thing I’m going for anymore. Being at peace with every moment, no matter what I’m fortunate enough to experience is what I’m looking for. It’s finding peace even when I’ve just found a yellow jacket nest in my wall and realizing I have to adjust my wok expectations for the remodel job. It’s also finding peace and presence when I see/hear/experience something spectacular and have the blessed opportunity to just surrender to that exact moment.
I drove east for an errand. I took lots of pictures because I was so overcome by how diverse the desert is in Glendive on the eastern border of the state. This area used to be in a warm, shallow sea, and this is where a Triceratops was found. The drive there was spectacular and the drive back was spectacular. I
had to go there was fortunate enough to go there to transfer my driver’s license, and if I hadn’t gone, I might never have seen this part of the state. Now I want to go back many times. It’s amazingly beautiful. This is Makoshika State Park. It may be one of my favorite places in the state now. If I had been attached to a particular outcome, or spent time being irritated by driving out to Glendive, I would have taken that energy with me and not had the experience I had.
As the summer closes for me and I return to work, I realize that quite unexpectedly I have traversed the state of Montana W-E completely this summer. I’ve gone through all of it N-S in the last 8 months. I have seen my home this year from many angles. That’s a deep knowing and a beautiful realization.
Grateful. Fortunate. Growing.
Destruction isn’t the end of the world. It can be quite beautiful.
Grace is everlasting.