12/5/09

the oars r intact.

when sacred chow finally opened its new digs on sullivan street, after almost half a year of building out, in 2005, literally no one came in. empty, empty, empty, 4 months and months on end. the landlord had warned me b4 i had signed the lease, he said: " i know u r probably thinking that being here on sullivan street will bring in lots of customers bc it is in the heart of the village, and close 2 bleecker, w. 3rd, mcdougal, thompson, washington square park, nyu, the subway..., it wont. 1st, this address is a hidden space, nearly invisible, so it is very difficult 2 locate. and 2nd, there is almost no commercial traffic that comes down this part of sullivan. close 2 none, zero, zilch. so get that out of ur head. unless u can create a destination location here, no one will find it & u will fail." i thought, "he's just trying 2 pull my leg. i mean, i found the space. and i am sure, 4 all the reasons he had mentioned, sacred chow will thrive on sullivan, immediately."
boy/girl, was he right! i felt like such an abysmal failure, endlessly, endlessly, months that led in2 years. oh sure, some days, even weeks, it would be busy but that would lead 2 weeks w virtually no biz. it was excruciatingly painful. i often felt like i was edging along on a loose, narrow ledge on a very high mountain where it was extremely windy, on a precipice of disaster. i wanted 2 let go. it felt hopeless. if i continued and it didnt change, it would only get worse. but when, when would it be okay? "help!" i'd beg g-d, but no word or action of any kind would come. i was freezing, and it was impossible 2 sleep. i was plagued w constant worry.
in what feels like a dream, i took a train ride for an hour & a half, w a chow employee, 2 deliver a wholesale order worth $70.00. as we came 2 the street corner of our final destination, i told the guy 2 take the order by himself. even though i really enjoyed these customers, i had felt so utterly miserable, almost catatonic, about my blunder & blinders, that i hid in a doorway; out of sight, waiting 4 the delivery guy 2 deliver back 2 me the $70.00. "do u have it? do u have it?" i pressed. and in2 my hand the $70.00 was delivered. "i have 70 dollars!" i sang 2 myself. "70 dollars!" it felt like a fix, but soon it would end, and it certainly wasnt a dream. back @ sacred chow on sullivan street, it was empty, so was i, and my pockets. the empire state building, which u can see as u face north on sullivan, was looking mighty tempting: debts were out of control, begging 4 loans and life was just unbearable.

it's been over 4 years now, and little by little i am able 2 lift myself up, bit by bit, closer 2 the top of the mountain. it never feels safe, really never. i am always misstepping on a loose rock as i edge along the side of the mountain, rocks tumble downward, i hear them clacking down in2 the unknown; the vagaries of the market, weather, taxes, health department, neighbors, vendors, customers, staff, machinery..., i must always be vigilant of any whim or caprice that can sabotage all efforts. i am on patrol, watching carefully, but this is no promise that the winds wont start blowing fiercely. trying 2 keep a steady eye on the ebb and flow of what is inherently unsteady is impossible. it is like being on a sea in a small boat, there r days of crystal clarity and days of roaring rain. however, despite the roaring rain, knowing the days of crystal clarity will happen is everything. this is what i hold on2: 4 it is during these moments that new lucid visions open up, and a fresh direction unseen b4 is suddenly wi reach. and this, this feels exhilarating. 2 triumph through so much adversity, 2 give urself up 4 dead, but then 2 rise from the ashes is truly a miracle of magic, love, and g-d. 4 short & long periods of time, life tosses us around, it feels as if we r being completely washed away in a giant tsunami, yet the great storm passes, and the oars r intact, the sun is shining, and a voice speaks: never give up.

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