SUMMER OF ’14
Last week, Thursday, on the train to my office, I listened to a song I haven’t heard for some time: “Gonna Make You Sweat - Everybody Dance Now” (C+C Music Factory, 1991). Oh, how I realized in an instant that I miss dancing, sweating, kicking up my heels! I grew up hearing music. My mother, who was a wonderful dancer, taught me the lindy when I was five or so, and then the cha cha…We are a dancing family. My parents met at the 39 Club in Astoria, NY…you guessed it…dancing. And, not surprisingly, music moves me to the bone, every particle and every space of my being. I felt deprived of it this summer. After a very challenging two weeks, I realized that I haven’t had enough FUN!!! Let me share…
*One of my all-time favorite videos, filmed in the Summer of 1983, "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" (Album "She's So Unusual") Label - Epic.Portrait.CBS; Writer - Robert Hazard; Producers - Rick Chertoff, William Wittman. Cost just under $35,000 to produce because friends and colleagues (some secretaries from the record label) volunteered their time, equipment and appearance in the video. Lauper's mother, Catrine appears in the role of 'mother.' Wikipedia, 2014.
Currently, there are more than five major projects on my desk, so to speak. Some are due to (social media) technical issues and computer upgrading, while others are personal. On May 30th I woke up to find the brick column (part of a wall), which defines our property line collapsed seven feet from my treasured, front, gazing windows. It was almost incomprehensible to me that it just came tumblin’ down. Now, my responsibilities in my building include handling special projects and I flew into gear calling a contractor I’ve worked with for eleven years. My two, condo neighbors also reached out to workmen. The bids came in, but we couldn’t agree on whether to strengthen the wall and re-build the column, or re-point the structure as well. After evaluating the information, I suggested we use my contractor, for either of the two remedies, and listed the reasons. One neighbor wanted a fourth bid, and a month slipped away. BAM! Someone complained about our failure to maintain our premises, and we received a citation from the city, suggested a ‘cure’ date as well as a hearing. This official violation motivated us to move ahead with my contractor, Ray, who, with his mason, Bernard, proceeded to work carefully on the first day. On the second day, the mason had a kind of flu and, of course, they couldn’t work. It rained on day three and four. During this process I told Ray about the impending hearing, and that I felt pressured to have this work completed ASAP, so that we could ‘cure’ the issue rather than go to court. Ray’s original bid, for the lesser repair listed two days for completion of the work. Adding re-pointing extended the job. Ray knew this but didn’t share it with me. And so, I was expecting him to finish in two or so days. Ray said that he would work on the fifth day if the weather cleared. I arranged for my neighbor to be present to let him into the hallway for electricity etc. In the meantime, Ray gave us a photo of three possible column-tops (poured concrete, shaped into a ball, on a base). We quickly agreed on one version. What he didn’t tell me was that the original version was no longer made; later, he recommended we replace all three of the column-tops so that they are uniform and aesthetically pleasing. (Why I didn’t think of this is due to my fatigue around this entire project. I had hoped that the new column-top would blend into the older two.) Let’s get back to the fifth day. Ray decided not to bring his mason on that sunny afternoon. Why? Because he had to order the column tops, which takes two days to be poured and he, for some reason, didn’t think it was necessary to work. He did not communicate this to me. Ray and Bernard did not arrive. Once I got Ray on the telephone, I raised my blood pressure and my voice (I didn’t scream or yell.) to say that this was baloney (I censored other words which flew into my mind.), and that he was not treating me correctly; that I wanted him to bring Bernard and continue the work on the other portions of the wall; that I have to answer a city citation. Where was my compassion? My sense of humor? They flew out the window with my frustration at our lack of communication and his apparent disregard that I felt squeezed to have the work completed. We continued to speak, once he arrived with Bernard, and I must tell you, this was not my finest moment! Ray, then, explained that with re-pointing, the job would take a longer period of time. He realized that there was a failure to communicate. Tension eased. During this same period, Oscar kind of went missing – off on other projects and away for a family reunion. He was unavailable for my social media project even though we agreed he would give me 8-to-9 hours each of these two weeks. His absence meant that neither he nor I was working on a very important task. I visualized that my book venture, an important train (to me, of course) was stalled in a station. At the time, this felt like a minor heartbreak. I’m sharing all of this because, in my core, I felt little compassion for Ray, Bernard or Oscar. I felt abandoned by the very people whose expertise I needed. I couldn’t perform the work that they agreed to complete, on the schedule that I believed was reasonable. Of course, they had their point of view, but I didn’t care to hear it. Now, here is the spiritual challenge…to be assertive (getting needs met while respecting the rights of others) but not impolite. I became upset. I was IN THESE MOMENTS with little wiggle room to step back and decide how I wanted to think, feel, and respond. A few days later I had my Ah ha flash: right then and there - could have been a compassionate exchange. Assertion, or pulling back would have been highly sufficient. At our second conversation (with Ray), I went into a sort of over-drive when third gear would have sufficed. Here is further information on the timing of my collapsed-wall project, just a reminder that Universal timing prevails and that we cannot WILL things to happen. Here goes: Sunny weather prevailed, but the maker of the concrete column-balls poured our three masterpieces and they cracked. They will not be completely dried and ready until today, Monday. The welder was unable to have our wrought iron piece (for the gate) until today as well. (So much for my impatience on Wednesday with Ray.) In retrospect, my pushing Ray and Bernard to work on Wednesday afternoon made no difference in the timing for completion of the work. As I post this blog, the wall and column (from May 30th until now) are still unfinished. Had I been more resilient I may have been more creative; may have stepped back from my conversation with Ray to decide how I wished to respond… In a calm repose, feeling more flexible, I reached out to my daughter who volunteered to bring the documents to the City office in time for the ‘cure’ date, as my dance card (pun intended) is pretty full. Taking the pressure off…being supple is a saving grace. I cannot will things to happen. Why? There is a phenomenon called Universal timing (i.e., other forces at play). I had forgotten this wisdom because I was in such low reserve. Why? I’ve been working too much…without fun. I was unable to reflect, and was so-o-o off balance. Re-winding the reel I would…realize…replenish…as I go… I would and will take better care of myself. Dance…Laugh…Balance through meditation…mantra. In this energy, my gears glide smoothly and the ride is agreeable to all passengers. By the time Oscar and I spoke, I was on steady ground after exiting a very bumpy road. Ray, Bernard and I are on course. It is Shakespeare who said “All is well that ends well.” Whew. Music relaxes me and I danced all afternoon, yesterday, at a family party. You can find me listening to my all-time, body-moving songs: “Conga” Gloria Stefan (1985) “Everybody Dance Now” C+C Music Factory (1991) “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” Whitney Houston (1987) “Moves Like Jagger” Maroon Five (2011) “I Got A Feeling” Black Eyed Peas (2009) Feel free to let me know your picks for this genre…would love to hear them… Speak to you August 4th. Stay cool……. Linda