What living without running water for three and a half months has taught me.

Around the beginning of February we had to shut our water off. The harsh Atlantic winter had taken it’s toll on our water lines and left us with a gusher in the yard. With six and half feet of snow at that point and another six or seven we could predict, we thought it best to go without. The house is designed to live without electricity and we are fairly resilient people. We are fairly positive and well adjusted as well and our lack of running water did not seem so daunting at the time.
1. Acceptance – accepting life on life’s terms is something we’ve be practicing for a few years. Sometimes you just cannot change your circumstances so you need to learn to cope with what you have. Fortunately we were blessed with more than enough snow to supply us with wash water and surprisingly, drinking water for the dog and cat who preferred it to the bottled water. Around us a lot of people were ‘snow-hating’ but we kept our mouths shut, thankful for free supply of life’s elixir.
2. Patience – I have been told I have the patience of Job. I now believe that I do. There are just some things that one cannot hurry and one of those things is springtime on the east coast. More so where we live because we get about double the snow of other people as it blows in from the frozen sea. Sometimes there is nothing to do but wait and I was taught that waiting was something one should do it gracefully.
3. Mindfulness – Although we practice this routinely at our home it is always good to have something happen to show you how your belief system can be applied. So often we just turn on the tap without a thought. When your water supply is finite the simple act of washing dishes can be a half-day-long affair. The step-by-step acquisition of your daily water supply, the timing and the result can become an amazing exercise in mindfulness that spills over into many other parts of your life.
4. Love and Tenderness – Helping each other fetch and carry (even the dog helped) pots and garbage cans and roast pans full of snow to melt can be arduous and tedious. This though is negated by the tender assistance of helping one another wash and reach those places we cannot on our own while using a basin at the kitchen table. I believe in my heart of hearts that the reason for all of the large families in the times before the faucet is largely due to the Saturday night bath behind the curtain in the wash tub.
5. Attitude – Complaining about a thing never made it go away. In fact, it makes it grow. I have always believed in putting a joyous spin on things. Finding joy in going out everyday, no matter what the weather is now a happy memory. We had fun. Because the alternative was unthinkable. If you are not joyous and having fun then you not treating yourself well. Finding joy in life is an act of self love.

So, acceptance, patience, mindfulness and attitude were things that I had had before. This experience, though, has taught me that all of these things which I preach to others (especially my children) are achievable in the most difficult of circumstances. It only takes a little awareness and the ability to self correct. I am not a guru or motivational speaker. I am not better than anyone. I just know that when things are tough, they won’t stay tough forever and with patience, love, and a good attitude the world is always a better place.

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