Losing Everything But Winning in the End

So my hard drive died. At first I just thought my computer was frozen. After all, I have a Mac, they never die. In fact, they hardly ever even freeze up! I spent the entire day trying various protocol to get it started before I finally gave up and brought it to a shop. Once there, the technician opened the back of my computer, which I had never seen before! The circuitry was a work or art and reminded me a bit of looking into the sky on a clear night up into the Milky Way. He popped out my hard drive. Five minutes later he came back, "we're gonna have to use your back up." 

"Nooooooooo," I screamed in my head. Attempting to appear sane, instead I muttered something like, "really? But it's been a while since I backed up... there's stuff on there I really don't want to lose." 

"Well, I can run it all night and see what happens but it's making a clicking noise," there he trailed off..."there is another possibility but it's expensive." 

"What?" I eagerly retorted, desperate to retrieve my data.

"We could send it to a lab, you know one of those places where there's no dust. The techs wear masks and gloves and open up your hard drive to extract the data. But it's in the thousands." 

My sister, Melissa

My sister, Melissa

"Okay," I heard my self saying. Because here's my confession. For over a year I have been working on a memoir about my sister and me. I had done a ton of work on it over the summer and the thought of losing all of that was, well, I wasn't even willing to entertain.

Somehow I had become complacent about backing up. Maybe it was because I had a Mac, I don't know. Maybe it was because of Time Machine I thought it was backed up and kind of forgot about doing it regularly.

So, off my hard drive went, to the lab via the "economy" route which meant 5-7 days (of agonized waiting) for a mere $700-$2700 price tag. On Monday, two days after he sent it out, I called Michael. 

 "Any news?"

"Well, we have installed a new hard drive and restored your computer from the back up but from the lab? No. We probably won't hear until Thursday or Friday."

"Okay, PLEASE call me as soon as you hear anything. 

In the meantime I picked up my computer thinking (erroneously) that the last time I had backed up was May. Try January. JANUARY!!!!!!!!! 

I avoided even looking at the manuscript. This was even worse then I had expected. Okay, yeah I lost photos, music, emails, most of which I could replace through colleagues and family but not by blood, sweat and tears, not the words I had written since January? 

So of course I waited AND remained optimistic that, okay, I 'd have to pay, but I'd get my stuff back. On Friday Michael called, left a message. "The lab was unable to extract any data from your hard drive. They're sending it to me as I like to return people's property even though it's only useful as a paper weight."

At first I was numb, completely in shock. The government can extract data off of intentionally destroyed computers, how come they can't get anything off of mine? Why was this happening?

I was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo mad at myself because, naturally it was completely avoidable, duh. The "if only I'd backed up" sentence was on repeat in my mind. I then contemplated giving up. Maybe I wasn't supposed to do this thing anyway. The thought of having wasted all that time, of having written 115 pages and now having only 75 (mostly an outline.) I was bereft. Maybe I was being punished for being bad - but then that would mean I believed in a vengeful God, which I don't. So why then was the Universe challenging me? I was so close to done and now to have to start over?  

After allowing myself to feel all my emotions, anger, sadness, grief, mourning, frustration, I have now come to acceptance. For whatever reason, I am being asked to do it again. As my friend Gina said to me Sunday night, "you will make it better." Her encouraging words helped me muster up the courage to print out what I had and start working on it again. And maybe what I am beign asked to do is to go deeper.  

My sister died in 2010 of breast cancer and I was with her at the end. Our lives together had been challenging and working on the book for me was a way to release and process my sadness and grief at losing her but to also tell her story (and mine). The act of writing it had been cathartic and incredibly painful and the idea of having to go back into it, to revisit it and go even deeper felt daunting and scary. Yet when I really sat with trying to understand the lesson in losing my work, it was the only answer I was left with. "Tell her story, Shakti, tell your story, but really get dirty doing it." 

So, here I go, jumping into it again (and in my extreme paranoia, backing up daily). As I venture in and choose to open up my heart even more to the memories and to our love, I recognize that I am winning because this is the only journey there is, to open up to love. So no matter what happens, if I end up losing it all over again after I have finished it, it won't matter because it is the process that's the goal. The teaching lies in the journey. So word by word I will begin walking through it again. Wish me luck.