I had a fascinating new year's eve. I had a gig that I accepted for less money than I would normally require. Why? Ultimately, because of my (unfounded) fear of not being able to pay my rent.
I arrived at the site and within minutes fell in a construction ditch (about a 4-5 foot blind drop -- didn't see the hole because it was dark) while surveying the performance area on the other side of the construction zone. The client led us there, in case you're wondering.
I sprained my finger (and put more pressure on the finger I had two days earlier dislocated in practice for a show I'm doing) and sustains some bruises and abrasions on my rather ample butt. Apart from that, I walked away from the accident laughing about it. It was, objectively, funny even if my subjective experience included injury, pain and discomfort. Surveying the situation, I consider myself lucky in that I could have fallen onto some rebar or broken my leg or twisted my ankle and had some really serious injuries.
Anyway, the client hadn't provided an appropriate area for managing our fuel and set us up in the neighbors driveway -- fairly close to the ditch I fell in with the performance area just on the other side of that. The neighbor was understandably upset and confronted us -- he was not pleased we had fuel in his lot near wood and was naturally concerned that an accident might lead to a fire. So after setting up and getting everything ready for our first performance (this means soaking all our tools which we'd passed through the construction area to our safety person), we had to pack up our gear and move
it to the sidewalk in the front of the house.
By this point, we'd missed the performance window -- we were supposed to go on for our first set before midnight but the delays made this impossible. Some time later we performed our first set using live music rather than the music I had spent 5 hours editing for our intended show. The tools wouldn't light well at that point. Why? The fuel had evaporated because we'd been waiting so long.
Our second set was more of the same, with the client refusing to tell the DJ to play our music when the DJ wouldn't do so. During the second set, I slipped on the carpet outside -- a wet green leaf got under my shoe. I'm told I made it look like a break dancing move. Not bad for a sore girl with swollen fingers and a bruised bottom. ;)
While we did not perform the show we'd intended, we did perform an amazing show and earned ~15% tip from the client.
In the 5 years I have been a professional fire dancer I have never had a client fail to meet so many of the agreements of our contract nor have I had an experience laden with so many difficulties.
Upon reflection, it seems like a blessed experience. Those who witnessed my first fall indicated they were concerned they would be transporting me to SF General -- not just the client, but the other dancers and witnesses present. I then performed two fabulous sets in the face of all sorts of opposition and earned a tip from the client.
I imagine 10 years ago I might have looked at this experience as a sign that the new year would be fraught with challenges -- a "bad sign" about the things to come.
Now, thankfully, my world is different. I was inspired becayse as we were leaving the venue, one witness went so far as to say I must be a special being to be able to walk away laughing from something like that when I could have ended up injured in the hospital, let alone performing the way I had.
I am grateful to say it seems more natural for me to view this event as a sign that the new year will be filled with the ability to flow through challenges and walk away with a smile on my face, laughter in my voice, and abundance in my pocket... even in the face of obstacles that quite literally will drag me down than the less positive perspective I might have had 10
What I learned I offer you now as follows:
May 2007 bring you all you desire, including the resources to laugh when you are down, the strength to pick yourself up and keep going in the face of that which you hadn't planned being foist upon you, the will to move through the pain that can sometimes stop you in your tracks and the capacity to remind yourself just how great a joy all that you have really is.