About seven years ago, around the time I changed my solo massage practice into one employing others, before I even named the business, I took one quite intentional step to bring attention to my growing enterprise: I painted our front door red. This was done both as a symbol of welcome to all who walked across our threshold and as a landmark to make us easy to find.
Almost immediately, the red door became the calling card of my expanding massage practice and something many people complimented me on. Over time as we grew and took over three more suites in our building, we painted each of the other outer doors different vibrant colors – blue, purple, and green.
But the red door has always been our center point, the most recognizable, and my favorite. Over the last few months, my landlord has been doing renovations on our building, both before and during the great pause of 2020.
We’re in an old building so they’ve been giving the whole outside a facelift.
From the very start, I’ve told them how important maintaining the red door was to me as well as our brand. Even when the contractor and property manager waxed poetic about how beautiful the new proposed glass doors would be, I remained faithful to the red door, sharing its story and message.
Though I relented to let them replace the green, blue, and purple doors this spring after we closed for COVID, I successfully negotiated to keep the red door until after we re-opened as a symbol of welcome and commitment to coming back to our space and clients. I thought it was a done deal.
Then today, in the midst of my Yoga Teacher Training class, I got a message from a new property manager (I'll call her Pam) that contractors were coming at 7:30 tomorrow morning to replace the red door. Immediately I felt sick to my stomach, tears pricking at my eyes, overwhelmed with grief at the threat of losing my old friend. How could this happen?
On a break, I called Pam who clearly had no idea about the door's history or any of my past communications, negotiations, or wishes about it. I told her how taking the red door during this time of being closed felt like an insult, especially to a long-term and faithful tenant. I also explained my past deal, the plan to wait until we re-opened so the door would provide one familiar touchstone to my team in a business completely and forever altered by COVID.
Though Pam tried to sound sympathetic, I could almost hear the eye-rolling through the phone. Pam told me she would look into the situation and get back to me. We hung up as my break ended and I returned to class, tears falling.
After a few moments, I decided I had to pull it together both to be present and to deal with the reality that change was coming to the red door sooner or later. Taking a few deep breaths, I had a couple of immediate insights.
The red door is infused with MY love, energy, and intention to grow and build the business my spa became. It has been a portal through which incredible blessings, beings, and abundance have come into my life.
For weeks, I have been praying for clarity about how to let go and close or sell my business. I’ve made peace with many things, but leaving the red door behind was something I didn’t want to do. In my mind, I made a promise to the door that I would return to it before I sold the business and left for good.
Now that the red door is leaving, I am free to go whenever I am ready. While I will always have the benefit of those who have walked through it, removing the red door is like closing a chapter in this part of my life so I can begin the next one.
The new shiny metal and glass door will not feel like it is "mine", but it is still a portal through which good things can enter my life. One of those may be a different owner or tenant, and the new door may have exactly the sparkle that catches his or her eye.
Tomorrow before they take the red door down, I am going to sit with it, thanking it for all the blessings it has allowed into my life. I am going to celebrate it, take a selfie with it, and probably cry as it is taken off its hinges. Then I am going to bless the new door and thank it in advance for opening itself and my business to some new possibilities. I know something even better is waiting for me on the other side.