Shiva Visits My Kitchen

Today is Monday. Last Thursday, construction began on our kitchen remodel project. Or, more accurately, last Thursday, preparation for destruction began.

The plan is to install new cabinet doors, paint, install new lighting, new countertops, new sink, oven, and tiled backsplash.  My well-devised plan was to move all of the kitchen cabinet contents upstairs into the spare bedroom and keep everything out of my yoga room, which is adjacent to the kitchen.

I was told on Thursday that, since we decided to add new lighting to the dining room as well as the kitchen, that the dining room ceiling would also have to be retextured, along with the kitchen. This news required that my dining table, the 8 X 10 rug underneath it, all the things on the walls, and most of the other furniture in the room would need to be relocated, in order to put down floor protection and give the workers space to work.

My spare bedroom is completely full of dishes, pots and pants, and pantry contents. There is no way that a rug, dining table, small hutch, and all my art on the walls would fit up there. Plus, even if it would, hauling heavy furniture upstairs would be required. The only place for all of it to go was the yoga room. I had expected to have a card table or two in the yoga room, for coffee, the microwave, and a few things we’d need access to each day. But the whole dining room? This was not in my plan. This was not even a possible thought in my plan.

My yoga room, my zen space, my sanctuary, where I work with private clients, where I do my practice, where I sit and meditate, where I have my morning coffee each day, where I go to get away from the TV, from NPR on the radio in the mornings…is now utter chaos. The dining table and rug are smack in the middle, with newspapers  and paint sample cards and this and that strewn on top, and there are the two card tables set up, as I’d envisioned, except instead of the coffee neatly organized, random, non-coffee-related items are thrown on the table, too. Plastic bins holding various kitchen castaways are sitting on every inch of horizontal space, even under the tables. When I got home today, I was surprised to see every kitchen drawer and the pulled out cooktop sitting on pieces of cardboard in the only space there was left in the room. “Oh my goodness,” I thought (though those weren’t the actual words I used); “I’ll just go get a glass of water and sit down for a sec.” I went in to get a glass of water and there is a big hole where the sink and water filter were. Then I noticed the dishwasher, sitting naked with no countertop over it, remembering it was completely full of dirty dishes.

This is affecting me. I mean, this is really affecting me. I wish it weren’t. Trying to practice gratitude does no good and trying to focus on the end result is useless. I wish I could say that, being the practiced yogi and meditator that I am, that I have seamless inner peace, regardless of how my external world seems to be. There is nowhere in my house for me to go to get away from this destruction and chaos. Even here in my office space, I have a card table in the corner with dining room stuff piled on it. I can’t get away. I am either going to drive myself insane, taking my family along with me, or I’m going to have to make friends with this. Somehow.

As soon as I made the choice to find a way to befriend all of this, the image of Shiva slid through my mind. Shiva, lord of destruction, has paid me a visit. This Shiva energy is swirling quite ungracefully through my home, the metaphor for the self, I realized. Not only that, but it’s it’s tornadoing it’s way through my kitchen – the heart of the home, the heart of the self. AND, it’s in my yoga space – my inner sanctuary; the place where I go to find peace. I find that pretty interesting, indeed.

As of right now, I am choosing to invite this chaotic, unpredictable, everything-is-going-wrong energy straight into my heart space, straight into my inner yoga space. I’m going to breathe it in, “destruction,” and breathe it out, “chaos.” Every time I walk through my yoga room, I’m going to gently form the words of the mantra:  Om Namah Shivaya. I honor this energy of change and destruction, so that new creations may come forth. Wow, I am feeling better already.

Today is Tuesday, as I come back to this post and put the finishing touches on it. I am most definitely feeling better today; softer and much less edgy. In doing my newfound practice and reflecting on all of this, I realized that by breathing in “destruction” and breathing out “chaos” I have brought myself into the arena of acceptance, rather than resistance. It’s helped me to allow destruction and allow chaos to swirl around me, without saying “no” to it all, wanting order and predictability instead. Saying these words as I breathe has caused me to breathe deeper. Reciting the mantra as I exhale has helped me to let go. Not only all of that but something really interesting is happening: I am finding peace amidst the chaos and I am actually beginning to see order in the disorder. I am beginning to see creation unfolding in an in-your-face, hugely bold way that I don’t usually experience or notice. I am grateful for this.

Om Namah Shivaya.