Break-In Leads to Breakthrough
In the midst of all the packed stuff from the last six years of mine and my husband’s life together as renters, I felt safe, nestled in our mess and safe in the knowledge that I was moving to quieter, family-surrounded digs in the small town of Landis. Except on this morning, that quiet nestled feeling was broken by a home invasion – for the second time in just over a year and a half. It was as it was before in October 2008. I was home alone, lounging and being a bit lazy before getting up for the day when I heard banging at the door. I live in an apartment, albeit not for much longer, but I’m used to delivery people banging, leaving and taking packages to the leasing office.
Only this time, the banging was followed by a try at the door knob. And then, a hard thud and crack after that. The hard thud and crack from Monday morning was all too familiar to me, almost like a rewind of the home invasion in October 2008. Only, this time, I had a weapon and was terrified more by the familiar known than the unknown on the other side of the door cracking their way into our home. I called out this time during the pounding at the door to let them know someone was at home — something I hadn’t done during the first home invasion, thinking mistakenly they would go away. So, I called out this time during the banging, but must not have been heard because he kept coming. As soon as a try to the knob and a light kick echoed, I immediately grabbed the phone to call 911 and grabbed a weapon. I heard yet another kick, thud and crack to the door. No voice calling out to me as before, just silence, other than my whispering on the phone to 911.
The 911 operator directed me to talk as if I was talking to a friend, not to panic and keep my weapon in view, I was going to be okay. The police were coming, she assured me. I talked with her more, hearing whoever it was walking around in our living room, where there was a laptop, my watch and wedding set, a TV, some of our moving boxes packed and a bag for Goodwill set to the side to go out. He must’ve heard me talking because he made his way without a word to the bedroom door and peered in with what looked like a lanyard or wire wrapped around his left hand. The eye contact made my body go electric with fear. As he slipped into view, he made direct eye contact with me sitting up in bed with wild hair, my jelly-like hands gripping a weapon. His response was, “Whoa <expletive>!” He promptly left with that wire in hand — what I realized later was part of our laptop cord, but left the laptop. He had also broken into the unit behind us in our building and taken our neighbor’s laptop, but left ours, my purse and wedding ring that was in full view at the time.
It seemed like an eternity, but all of this happened in about 10 minutes, I guess. The police were there in a flash. I could swear they could’ve bumped into him running out the door, hearing K-9 unit baring, but he must’ve hauled it out of there quicker than I realized. I kept a mental image of what he looked like – different from the suspect that broke in during the 2008 incident. I kept in mind a perspective of his height compared to the lines in our bedroom door and how far in he was standing. I got a look at what he was wearing, what he said and how many times he knocked, the time, the sound of his twisting the locked door handle and then the thud-crack of him coming in. I also registered that this time, I felt a rock in my throat and chest because I somehow was more aware that what was happening was not a good thing and sadly familiar.
The 911 operator hung up once the police arrived and asked me to put my weapon down when I heard their voices. She took care of calling my husband. I was so squeezed around the cordless phone and the gun, I had no extra hand, like a Hindu goddess, to draw extra task-mastering from to call him on the cell. During the first break-in 2008, the subject was armed and I had nothing to defend myself. I was directed not to move, but I did anyway to show him my hands were in view l and I could not get out of bed because I was on bed rest. He too, grumbled “Whoa <expletive>” and left.
Afterward I realized that even though I handled both break-ins the best way I knew how and they were both random, maybe this latest incident could serve as a catalyst to change my routine. I was locked in my home, away from the world and alone when these break-ins happened, and vulnerable while most everyone else is doing their 9-to-5 routine. I know as a solopreneur, and particularly a coach with clients all over, that many hours are sometimes spent in our home offices on our own, many of our clients either on the phone or online. This has not been a good way to transition from my medically-induced hermit time on bed rest, but that doesn’t mean I need to change my work, just the way I do it. I’ve become too comfortable being at home, only going out when I really have to, or with Bryan. That’s not who I am, nor is it who I want to be as a person or a businesswoman. In order to mix and mingle and get more business connections, I can’t just sign up for every Facebook group or seminar, hang out on Twitter, listen to webinars, post on message boards or just go to a monthly coaching group meeting. I’ve got to work outside in the real world and be a flesh and bone business woman, not just a computerized avatar.
I’ve got to go where my clients are, where other coaches and maybe speaking connections go. I’ve got to take my office mobile and work in Starbucks, or Caribou Coffee, the park or the library to be seen and meet new connections, not just let people I already know invite connections to meet me. It is part of my advocacy and motivation anyway, is it not, to be out and about, seen as a working professional on wheels?
So the break-in today, being isolated and alone, challenges me to go outside my comfortable rut. Let them have my stuff without me there to upset their stealing groove. Stuff can be replaced, but I can’t be, so why am I sitting at home protecting the meaningless stuff in my inner sanctum, risking the loss of time and energy in my evolution as a well-rounded human being and professional coach? Feeling powerless gets us nowhere, and the routine can suck the power out of us even further, but acting out and beyond the limiting complacency to new things leads to new, unlimited results.
I need to do more than the occasional lunch with Katie or Laura to feel like I’m connecting with other colleagues, more than our monthly professional coaching group meetings, more than weekend movies with Bryan, going out to a doctor’s appointment or getting my hair cut, more than making queries and connections via email and phone. I need to get into other routines, go to human-to-human meetings, not just telephone and web conferences, as much as those do have their value. I need to defy my body’s energy, pushing it further to get myself back to where I was before I was so ill because the energy is there now. I need to be moving around town, rather than settling on the idea that I’m getting old and this is just how it is. In all of this, since I’m not as ill, I’ll feel better about me, others will feel better being around me, like I’m less fragile. My work will progress and the space of the community where other people are all too happy to work over coffee and a sandwich will open for me, but nothing will grow from the limited, yet comfortable view of my home office and computer screen in my pajamas.
What kind of coach can I be to others with disabilities across the miles or across the table if I don’t do this? What kind of ‘roll’ model to those who feel limited by their bodies, emotions and circumstances to the point they don’t get out and about, don’t bother to dress as an invitation to a new opportunity or don’t ask to be taken out so they don’t make a burden of themselves? Maybe loved ones want to take them, but don’t ask because they’ve all gotten into that rut. We need to break on through, break on through to the other side — Thanks, Jim Morrison — of a life beyond bodily limitations, limiting attitudes, limited income, and limited resources.
We all need, if we are ever going to make any progress, to break on through our useless, soul-sucking routines. Whether it’s shaking up things at work, calling friends more if you can’t get out physically, going out more if you spend too much time at home, changing the commuting route to and from work, trying that new hair style or exercise class, having fish on Tuesday instead of Friday, or whatever it is.
What shape will your breakthrough take? Rather than fixating on the less important, routine stuff you’ll lose trying something different, or avoiding making some old thing you miss new again because it seems not worth it (like my yoga I used to love and will do again soon), why not invite new things in your life once a day, or once a week? See what new possibilities will do in busting down the doors of loneliness, laziness, negativity and limiting behaviors in your life….one, or maybe two — at a time.
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