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Dear Friends,

Three weeks ago, I woke up to some strange noise, groggily stepped into my living room and was greeted by an inch and a half of water. I was confused because the sound of water was now so loud; what could be making that much noise—the dishwasher (which I’ve never used!), the washing machine? No, it was coming from under the sink and as I opened the cabinet doors, I was soaked immediately by the water spewing forcefully right at me. I struggled to find where to turn the water off, but when I finally did, I was completely awake.


The lessons I’ve learned over the past weeks have been ones I knew logically but now experienced living them in real time and it’s been life changing. Even at this age, yes, life changing.


When I saw every inch of my living room’s wood flooring was drenched, I grabbed towels and immediately called a friend that lives close and asked her for help. It was 6:30 a.m. She came immediately and we unsuccessfully tried sopping up the water. While she was on her way, I called a friend who is with a company that, among other things, provides plumbing services. He has become a friend after helping me with my repair work over the years, but he first went above and beyond for me because he had been my sister’s student decades earlier and loved her so much; it was his way of showing her his appreciation. I was luckily able to call him directly that early in the morning and he and a coworker showed up within 30 minutes. I was even able to keep an early important appointment because they took care of cleaning everything up for me.

LESSON #1: Be like my sister. Treat people in a way, that decades later, they want to repay you.

LESSON #2: Ask for help the minute you know you need it. Brené Brown says if you judge yourself when you need to ask for help, that means you’re subconsciously judging others when they ask. That’s a fun one to think about! I can send you a clip with her explaining that if you’re interested.

Because I’ve had terrible luck in the past with insurance coverage, or lack thereof, I immediately started to go into fear; fear that they wouldn’t cover anything in my old home.


It took me a day and a half to have the time to wait on hold when I called them. It was into the next week before they got back to me, but at least they told me they didn’t have to send anyone out and that I should call a mitigation company to start work immediately. Still having PTSD from not being covered before on certain issues, I knew I had to get it fixed anyway. The water had not only flooded my wood floor in the living room, but seeped under the  baseboards and tile in my kitchen, ruined the kitchen cabinet around and under the sink and gone into and up the walls. It was a mess!


These situations are when I easily go into overwhelm and get paralyzed and shut down. I was determined not to do that this time, not only because it doesn’t feel good but because it doesn’t accomplish anything! But how could I get out of this funk and negative, fearful thinking?


I decided to google “the spiritual meaning of water leaks.” I know it might sound silly to some of you and perfectly normal to others. One friend said, “Well there’s something that would never cross my mind to do after a disaster!” I understand, but it’s what came to my mind. It came up that it’s a sign of cleansing, which I always love to hear because to me it’s positive and signals a fresh beginning. And then the article went on to say water leaks represent abundance. What? I had to laugh at that and immediately thought that I need to be more specific when asking the Universe for abundance—make it cash, please, not water! For me, this explanation gave me something to hold on to when my mind started spiraling to all that could go wrong with the insurance, the repairs, etc.


The first day the workers were there, I decided that as long as I had to be upstairs to be out of their way, I would use the time to purge (cleanse!) the remainder of what I wanted to get rid of in my bedroom. I had tossed or given away almost everything I wanted to, but there were still random items in some drawers. I cleaned out my nightstand drawer and then moved to a desk that I hadn’t been in for at least two years. It wasn’t bad; there were some screws, some USBs with who-knows-what on them, and too many pens. I made a sweep with my hand in the back of the drawer and pulled out what felt like a thick paper. It was a stack of money in the white bank envelope I always get my cash in! See! Abundance!

LESSON #1: Look for the lesson. “When the student is ready, a teacher appears.” That teacher may appear in a google search!


LESSON #2: You may not be able to control a situation; you can always control how you choose to show up.

Of course, asbestos was found in my 1970-built townhouse. I had expected it, but it still added stress. I hung on to my cleansing and abundance mantra and kept busy with clients who luckily filled up the weeks. Then I got “the call” my PSTD had predicted. She was talking so fast and aggressively it took me a minute to realize she was from the insurance company; it became clear when she said, “I’m calling to advise you we won’t be covering the mitigation or abatement because an inspector hasn’t even come out and we don’t have pictures or anything we need.” It wasn’t what she said as much as how she said it. She was angry, she was aggressive, and she sounded accusatory, as if I had done something wrong. I broke into tears. That’s not fun to admit and it’s not how I would prefer to handle it, but that’s all I had. I had worked so hard to keep my spirits up, it took all my energy; her call knocked it all out of me. I hung up after finding out that they would send someone out, which I was fine with them doing in the first place, but they said it wasn’t necessary. And then I cried. I cried for two hours straight and while I cried, I went through every scenario, ending with the worst case. The worst case for me was that I would have to use all my savings to pay for the repairs, I would have to work even more than I already do, and I would have to move to New Jersey and move in with my sister. Then I finally stopped crying. If the worst-case scenario ended with me living with my sister, whom I adore and her home is always the most nurturing, I could deal with that. Now if you ask her, I’m sure that’s not her dream scenario, although she would welcome me! I got it together again, and thought, “Let’s just see what the inspector says and maybe it won’t be so bad.”


Within a half an hour, the inspector called to ask some questions and book an appointment and she couldn’t have been kinder. She wasn’t aware someone else had called and terrorized me, and when I told her I knew she wasn’t pleased with her coworker; the attitude was unnecessary.


She came out the next day and without making any promises, she certainly made me feel more confident that there would be some significant coverage.

LESSON #1: Crying can be an act of self compassion; don’t stifle the urge when it appears. You’ll usually see that even the worst-case scenario is one you can survive.


LESSON #2: Choose your sister well. You see a recurring theme here, don’t you?

The mitigation and asbestos removal are both completed. Now, the waiting begins for the insurer to review the estimate from the contractor (and yes, I went with one who was an approved vendor of the insurance company!); then I’ll be advised what they will cover and the weeks of rebuilding will begin. I’ll keep my abundant mindset so I can feel confident all expenses will be covered easily and effortlessly. I’ll continue cleansing my home of all that isn’t needed or used or loved. And I’ll remember to express gratitude for a sister who makes even traumatic situations bearable by simply being.


Whatever you may be going through right now, ask yourself, “What is the lesson?” And it won’t hurt to look up, “What is the spiritual meaning of ________?” Enjoy the journey; it is sprinkled with lessons.


With gratitude,



Amy Ayoub

President, The Zen Speaker |

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