Open-Handed Shower Prayers


The Raw JAW? Did I mean it?

I probably feel a lot more angst about it today because I have so much resistance to journaling right now. And if I don’t write in private and at least work some of it out, how will it go in public? Today I feel like I need to throw up. Scream. But instead I smile for every book I sell. It’s noon. I’m 10% towards my daily goal. What’s not to smile about?

I want to stamp my feet and justify the anger and hurt I feel like I should write about. I want to take a baseball bat to the window. I want to stand on the roof and yell, “I only pocketed $28 yesterday! This fucking sucks!!”

This morning the former owner came in. I told her, “Just 50-60 books a day. That’s all I want. Then I can pay the bills and a little to myself.”

“Wow! We always sold 200 books on a normal day. Four to five hundred was a good day.”

God in heaven! I just need a smidgen of encouragement. Please! I feel like I’ve been asking for it and working for it for so long.

I started noticing a drop-off in October of 2017. I thought it was a blip to ride out. Nope. It has been an uphill battle ever since.

In January 2017 when I took over the store, I was fighting to get my head above water in every area of my life. That is not an exaggeration. My family, marriage, and health were all suffering. I was suffering. I have had many, many, many lonely days since, waking up every morning committed to doing what I can to try and turn things around. It’s been so much work. But I’ve had some breakthroughs. I have learned, mainly about myself and what has had to change. It’s been the typical middle-age stuff like learning about boundaries, vulnerability, and coping mechanisms that no longer work. As a result, my relationships are healthier. I’m relatively happier. I’m healthier in mind and body. But my heart still hurts almost all the time. And when I ask myself why, I hear a desperate cry from the depths. “I can’t find my way through this place where I just can’t seem to build anything. I can’t find the work that works.” When it comes to the context of my work, I have had to work the hardest for the smallest results and I truly cannot find the breakthrough, or even the encouragement.

YES! I am practicing gratitude. Trying to let go of all the things: control, bitterness, resentment. And I pray in the shower. Lately, it goes like this.

With hands open. “Dear God, please help me to sell 50 books today. Help me to know where to put my energy. Please help me to be open and bring me people I can partner with for whatever this could be.” And then I show up at the store the best I can. I clean and shelve the books. I smile for every dollar. I know my customers’ names, reading tastes, and the breed of their dog. I am so good at loving and connecting with people. Making them feel cared for and known. But when it’s quiet, which is often for hours at a time, I try not to put my head in my hands and cry. Thank the gods for the Internet. Truth be told, I don’t feel cared for and known in my work space. I feel, sometimes, like there’s a dome over me and my work that I’m knocking at from the inside. “Hello! Hello!! Do you hear me? See me?! Hello!!!”

How can all I’ve done in the last two and a half years feel like it’s amounting to nothing? I am fighting every day to keep my head above THIS water, but so far, I’m only on the liferaft with a deflated “Wilson”. I don’t need a rescue, but I do feel desperate for a cup of cold water in this desert of my daily work.

The voice that tells me to hustle has deteriorated to a hoarse whisper. Finding ideas is not the problem. The problem is the lack of strength I feel to believe the ideas will work anymore, much less implement them. My business coaches…I’ve hired three during this process that I couldn’t afford…can’t seem to break me through. And I have done SO MUCH work trying to understand who I am and what I’m good at but implementing what I’ve learned truly feels like I’m banging my head against some unseen brick wall. I cannot figure out what is going on. Is it because I’m trying to make something happen that just won’t? Like I’m supposed to be pursuing a nursing degree instead or some other crazy right turn? I truly don’t know.

“Please help me to be open. Please help me to surrender. Please help me to accept the lesson I’m supposed to be learning. Because it just seems like I can’t.”

I want to be open to what The Universe is trying to teach me. But my truth? My truth in my heart of hearts is that I just need a break. I need a gift. I need that cup of cold water in this sea of of salt that I can’t drink from. I don’t need to work harder. I’m not even convinced I need to work smarter. I honestly think I just need something I’m meant to receive instead of scramble for. Yet I truly don’t know what that is or how to wait for it.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m whining. Am I a whiner who is just wanting to be taken care of by someone else? These are the kind of questions I’ve had to wrestle with. These are the kind of questions that can make me resist facing myself on the blank page.

Well, yes. It’s true that I whine a little when I have to shelve Romance. Don’t tell, but I am so sick of the romances. Fucking happy endings with the man who rescues the beauty. Over it.

Yep. I do whine about that.

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