We closed on our dream home and took on a full remodel two weeks after I left my corporate career. I’m sharing our saga in the hopes of adding a few more tools to your Change Management arsenal.
Facing The Depths
Navigating transformation tests our resolve. We must’ve wanted things to be different, otherwise we wouldn’t have invited in all these crashing icebergs, right?
We can’t put the responsibility in anyone else’s hands. This could be the most humbling, and painful aspect of processing massive change.
We chose this. We need to get to a place where we can smile and love ourselves while we say that. Forgive, and laugh at ourselves for choosing this.
“I was following along, and feeling what you were saying, KC. I chose that one thing, but this Other Level Weird Shit right here? I chose this? Nah. No way I would choose this!”
We aren’t capable of looking behind the veils to see how our prayers will be answered. We innocently push for something to change. We asked to be tested, to shake things up.
Nobody lives fully, or happily in the status quo. The waves of life expand onward, upward, and outward. When we dig in our heels and resist, those forces make our decisions for us.
When the ground cracks loose beneath us it makes sense to point outside ourselves and blame the job, the spouse, the parents, the government, God, etc.
The questions we must ask ourselves are: What is taking shape here? What is all this chaos and upheaval clearing a path for?
In my own recent journeys I realize most of us limit ourselves to material expectations. We want our environment to change. To make windfalls of cash doing what we love. To break out of the mundane and live the adventure.
All of those are alluring, and certainly exciting. But they don’t address the bigger invitation to do the internal work.
What if what was taking shape was a more badass, wide-open-hearted you? What if stripping away your outdated circumstances was clearing a path for a more paired-down, sharp-eyed, and loving version of yourself?
How would that person move forward? How would they appreciate things differently? Maybe they would be happy just sitting in their experience. In their wisdom. Content and grateful.
We can’t squander the opportunity to break these bullshit drama cycles and self-limiting conditioning. Swinging back into action to manage unmanageable change only pushes off the inevitable into the future.
When our resolve is tested, we often revert back to bad habits. We can’t face owning our choices, so we choose distraction by any means necessary.
In mid-February we were wrapping up a 2 week stay in the beautiful home of family friends. They were overseas, so it was easy to move our family of 5 in while our home was under construction.
Everything went really smoothly, and I enjoyed working out of their house. It was a beautiful setting in the Winter. Lots of nature, and cozy family time. Their house is on the opposite ravine from our new home. It felt like getting a taste of living in the woods. I’d fill bird feeders and shovel lots of snow.
I also got to meditate in front of floor to ceiling windows every morning while the sun came up through the gorge.
We did our best to take impeccable care of their home. My policy is to leave no trace. Ideally we try to leave the place better for having stayed there.
A couple nights after we moved out we all went back to visit our friends and return the keys. The kids were playing downstairs. I heard my son crying about something so I went to check it out.
He wasn’t hurt. He was scared. Something was wrong.
His sister showed me that he had thrown a wooden toy block and it hit the screen of their brand new smart TV. There was a noticeable scar on the pristine screen, whether the TV was on or off.
This was at the absolute peak of my uncertainty around money.
We were floating wild amounts of cash to contractors and stores for the house, without money coming in. I’d soon be buying our health insurance out of pocket. An additional $1500/month, on top of our lifestyle and the renovation.
The only goals were staying sane in The Flux, and coming out the other side in tact.
My head started spiraling at the thought of buying our hosts another new TV. Our TVs were under tarps across the ravine, covered in dust. All the stuff that made up our home was inaccessible.
There wasn’t any number crunching needed. I just knew we had to be completely screwed. Worry, demons, and cortisol hijacked my rational mind. I yelled at my son and asked why why why he would do something like that. He’s never done anything like that before.
I felt like an idiot for doing so, even as the words left my mouth.
Our host handled it like the total champion she is. She has grown kids and hardly seemed bothered by it. We told her that it would be replaced if her husband had any concerns.
Gayle and I were at the end of our rope. She was meeting a friend for drinks, so I took all the kids to the Mexican place. I was trembling I was so pissed off at our circumstances. I was disappointed in the kids for getting crazy enough for something like that to happen.
We found a table and I couldn’t focus. I sent the kids over to the adjoining arcade so I could sit in my volcano of helplessness. It felt like every demon I ever had was encircling me.
Why did we even want this fucking new house? My job was perfectly fine! I was great at it! Akron sucks in the Winter, why are we even here?
This had to be The Depths. I didn’t even want Mexican. Or to eat with the kids. I just wanted… a beer!
Wait, what was that?
For the first time in four years of conscious sobriety, I was fantasizing about a Negro Modelo. With a lime. My hands wrapped around the cold mug. Down the hatch, keep them coming.
My eyes had laser tractor-beams, glaring across the tables to some guy’s beer.
This was in fact The Depths. I’ve never really struggled with drinking since I quit. I made the choice once, and never looked back. This was something new.
My body and actions weren’t under my command. I could tell by how badly I wanted to cave. All of the rationalizations were overwhelming.
“Nobody you know puts themselves through this level of stress without a glass of wine. Have a beer. It’s fine.”
Then something interesting happened.
I started becoming increasingly aware how much my dumbass autopilot wanted to take over. Whatever, or whoever wanted that beer wasn’t me.
It was some residual sludge from some earlier version. Some scared little punk who wasn’t up to building the dream.
Everyone, and anyone can drink. I celebrate you all with zero judgement! Except for me. I’d be Goddamned if our kids came back to the table to their Dad chugging a beer.
They would’ve cried.
As I noticed this war of the wills was raging inside me, I thought about my guru. His teachings guided me toward making my own choice to be sober, toward finding The Good Life Project, toward new galaxies of doing my dream work from our dream home.
I would not fail him. This was his test. It was all about loyalty to The Path.
I am willing to stay, Master. Shake the earth around me, we’ll meditate through it.
Didn’t I remember I chose all of this? That realizing Big Honkin’ Dreams isn’t for babies? I resolved to stay true to every small improvement that got me here. I didn’t even want the fucking buzz, I just wanted some reprieve.
It just got too intense for a minute.
The second I held my resolve, the weather shifted. A smiling couple approached. It was Wes and Alexis, who I’ll be officiating their wedding this Summer. Just good, positive souls. The kids came back, excited to see familiar faces.
Gayle called, who heard from our friend that the mark came off the TV. Everything was perfectly fine. I scrolled through some pics of our house over dinner.
I was back to being excited about all this shit we were going through.
But most importantly, I determined to never settle for staying in tact.
We need these occasionally frightening changes to refine our offering to the world.
How are we doing out there? Have you noticed bad habits coming back around when you’re in The Flux? It’s OK! Let’s hear it.