A Trickle Is Enough / by Michelle Cowan

Earlier this week, nothing seemed to go right for me. Although I meticulously save my money and organize my time, all efforts came to naught on Monday and Tuesday. The universe was out to prove that I was, of course, not in control, and this manifested in all sorts of little inconveniences.

After paying a few unexpected parking charges and spending an unexpected amount at a restaurant, I got no sleep and couldn’t seem to get important tasks accomplished at work. I felt exhausted and a little sick.

On Wednesday, I woke up planning to head to my apartment’s fitness room to work out and to finally get my monumental amount of laundry done after work. To my dismay, my access card, which allows me into common areas of my apartment complex (e.g., laundry room, fitness center,) was missing, likely freezing its plastic coating off in New York or jet setting around the world on the floor of an aircraft.

The apartment office doesn’t open until after 9 am (by which time I’m already expected at work), so I tried to dust off my frustration while hunting in vain for a few extra minutes. In the end, I picked myself up and opted to go for a very short jog before work, trying to forget the $25 fee I would have to pay to replace the card (yes, $25 for a magnetic card) and the fact that I would have to find time during the day to leave work and come get the card during regular business hours.

After my jog, all I wanted was to get in the shower and find my way to work before I was later than I already knew I would be. Most of you have experienced the same shock I felt when I reached into the streaming water only to jerk right back out again. A freezing blast. No hot water.

I almost started crying on the spot. I kept trying to think of things I could blame for the string of inconveniences. Was it the energy of the people I’d been hanging around? Some karmic comeuppance? The manifestation of my own negative thoughts? Or just the world being the terrible, anti-Michelle place it had proved itself to be time and time again? I did not seem to fit into its scheme.

Taking a deep breath, I turned off all the cold water and opened the hot as far as it would go. A sizable trickle spilled out of the showerhead. I looked at it. I felt it. It was warm.

I scooped it over my head, weak though it was. I somehow adjusted my body beneath it. All of a sudden, one thought entered my head, “This is enough.”

“This trickle is enough for me to take a warm shower.” I smiled. I laughed. I let everything go in that one moment. All of the toughness of the previous days seemed meaningless and trivial.

Still smiling, I hurried through my meager shower, trying to get soaped up and out of there before my flow ran out. The whole thing felt completely ridiculous, crouching there, trying to give every part of my skin equal shower time.

Although it was certainly not the most relaxing shower of my life, it certainly wasn’t the worst. And the quickness with which I completed it put me on time for work for a change. I laughed and with a minimal selection of clean clothes, decided to wear the most outrageous outfit I could put together. “I have no problems today,” I said, and headed out the door.

My neighbor called, and we commiserated over the lack of heat. I also discovered that it was his birthday and was able to plan a dinner to celebrate. The day lightened up a bit.

I arrived at work and called the apartment complex manager, who informed me that although I still owed the complex $25 (Have I mentioned how ridiculous that amount is?), I wouldn’t in fact have to leave at lunch to pick up the card. The front office would be open until seven that day.

Burdens continued to lift, and I patted myself on the back for keeping track of the card for the entirety of the almost two years I have lived there. I was bound to lose it at some point, and this was mighty impressive for someone who loses her keys at least once every other day.

For a second, I stood back, amazed at what one little shift in my thinking could do. I moved from a problem-plagued existence into a realm where I could do no wrong. I actively decided that problems would not be viewed as problems that day. I would focus on the positive. And it made an extreme difference.

It wasn’t that things just started going my way at some point. It was that I chose to see the things that DID go my way rather than the things that did not. I chose my reality.

What’s more, when I arrived at the apartment complex after work, one of the women in the office went back to get a card for me and came back saying, “I’m sorry this card is so beaten up, but someone found it and brought it in. I figure I can give you this one so you won’t have to pay.”

What!? And it was in even better condition than my raggedy old card had been. Ah, small blessings quickly become miracles to me. In the gloomy, rainy evening, I practically skipped back to my apartment. Yes, I stepped in mud on the way, but at least I had thought to change into my old sneakers before walking to the office. Yes, a good day…full of miracles.

A trickle of water is enough. I have enough and want for nothing. What I have is enough, and I am grateful for it.

This post is for SSS – You know who you are ;)