When I teach classes on organization, I start with a dozen goals. Next, we discuss the reasons we get to a place where we’re overwhelmed with “stuff”. If we don’t know why we’re in a situation, it’s tough to change our behavior, and we’re likely to end up back where we started. Once people have an “aha” moment in class it’s much easier for them not to fall into the same routines. The same is true of us when we keep making the same painful life choices, expecting different outcomes.
I also start by establishing goals in Interior Design class. Then I present questions for the students to think about during the process, and assign “homework” so that we determine, together, what speaks to each person individually. More than once I’ve had a client or student, who’s spent a considerable amount of money on a “House Beautiful worthy home”, say, “but….I just don’t feel happy there.” That makes me sad. Where you live should be the place you most want to be. You’re telling a story with your home, and it should be your narrative, not that of a person who doesn’t know anything about you. Just like in our homes, we’re telling a story with the choices we make in our lives. What does yours say?
In creating an organized house, or a home that’s a personal sanctuary, we devise a plan from the bottom up—most costly, permanent or critical items first. We don’t run out and buy a bunch of objects, hoping they make sense, and then figure out what we want the end result to be. Sometimes, in life, we have a plan, but often we just keeping trying out different people or things, never really acknowledging who’s really important to us, or what really resonates with us.
When I’m asked, “what color should I paint my walls?”, I say, “paint is the last thing we’ll choose”. We build a color story as part of the overall design. Putting a new coat of paint on the walls will definitely produce change, but if you’re not sure what you like—what you really want to create—it may not be worth the investment. We often think that if we slap a, proverbial, coat of paint on ourselves, we’ll walk through life fulfilled, happy and “colorful”. Just like with our homes, whether it’s a new tie, lipstick color or beautiful sweater, it may help us feel better for a short time, but if we don’t address what makes us need to buy a quick fix we might keep leaning on “retail therapy” over and over.
Sometimes I drive by a house being renovated and I see scaffolding up all around the building. That temporary structure is necessary to get the exterior ready so that the interior can be protected while it’s worked on. Once the outside “shell” is completed and the scaffolding goes away, the internal work can begin. Some of us never get to the place where we can take the scaffolding down because we’re always living in, or working on, the exterior! What happens when you never even consider focusing on the inside?
In addition to renovation, homes get “facelifts” with: new siding, stone that’s repointed, or bricks that are repaired. The outside can look shiny and new—maybe even perfect—but when you walk inside, the space where the actually day-to-day living is going on is depressing, chaotic or falling apart—what’s going on inside doesn’t at all reflect the “perfection” outside. It’s just “smoke and mirrors”. It’s the same with us humans. Sometimes we look downright beautiful on the outside—pulled together, perfectly accessorized, telling a story of sublime living, but inside we’re a mess. Others don’t see the big holes that have never been repaired, or the damage that has been haphazardly patched up with gorgeous new wallpaper. We do a really good job of covering up.
What if we take down the scaffolding on our homes, and our lives?
What if we let others see the genuine, unembellished, us?
And, what if—with less-than-perfect selves—we walk through life loving and honoring who we really are?
©2016 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living