This week has been very unusual for me. I have been enjoying the luxury of a decorator!
For the first time in my life I am paying for the privilege of having someone else strip, prepare, paint and paper the most challenging job overdue; my jaded hall and stairs! It has felt very indulgent!
Inevitably there has been dust, lots of it….I have been overcome with an urge to clear, remove re-order and de-clutter. Suddenly the prospect of moving a picture from one room to another opens up. At last I see that a battered set of drawers is really not worth keeping, that a bulky filing cabinet can be squeezed off the landing and open up the space completely! During this week, I have also been reading the book Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud which has opened my eyes to the fact that I am really not good at seeing endings and conclusions (prunings) as a part of normal, seasonal life. It’s why I hoard old cards, books, games I have lost pieces of and CD’s I never listen to any more! Never afraid of change or innovation (I love it) it has been quite a surprise to realise that I also obviously need to habitually let go of something if I expect to progress along new paths. But which things to let go of and which to hold on to? I can recommend the book for sound advice on making that distinction.
However, something else that a mentor of mine Kary Oberbrunner believes, has also been in my awareness. It’s along the lines of “doing it scared“, or “jump and build your wings on the way down“. We refuse to be paralysed by possibilities and analysis, we refuse to procrastinate until we think we know everything we need to know about something before we can possibly try! That’s when we find out what we need to know! When we start to act upon an idea, a motive or a passion even when we don’t know How, God has a habit of putting things in our way that resource and equip us to find out just that! Wisdom comes through experience. It’s only when we start to dislodge and re-order that we remember even half of what we know and have and could do with it! I am constantly amazed at how often when I am looking for one mislaid item, I find something else equally useful and timely just because I was actively looking. There’s our serendipity theme again!
Whilst I have had to be somewhat versatile and amenable this week to different noises,disruption, tea-making and exclusion from different parts of the house, each day I have tailored my time and environment accordingly. I have tackled various tasks of my own, around the home, squeezed in appointments and errands that are usually inconvenient. This week has been one of those multi-layered opportunities to maximise an interruption to the recent wave of momentum I have had with my writing. Instead of resisting and resenting this, my somewhat fragmented concentration has been permitted to flit from one thing to another. One day I attended a medical appointment, spent more time in the company of my daughter and drove her to an interview. I gave my son extended attention every evening whilst he rehearsed GCSE exam answers (since the reality of exam season has finally sunk in)! I have pulled dandelions and rampant weeds, polished a piece of neglected furniture, had a haircut, ordered a spare part for a vacuum cleaner, renewed my car insurance and ordered heavy goods online for delivery. I have trusted it as an opportunity for reading and reflection as fodder for more and more ideas and insights yet to form and I have made good some commitments that needed confirming.
So, although I am no expert at disentangling myself from the old and mundane, I absolutely embrace the new and the novel! What I have done is get a little bit better at seizing the moment of ruthless clarity about what is and is not necessary for the life I envision. I’ve had a week of ruthless clarity – and it’s been very refreshing. As I watched my decorator Kev smooth out the rich gold wall covering, replace the worn terracotta paper and as I appreciated the simple white gloss brightening up the chipped almond paintwork, he has been teasing me about my past propensity to overdo the colour! He is “neutralising me” he jokes! Now that will never happen but I do like the idea of simplifying and making classy what was a rather tired bohemian look!! The light, bright new hallway will announce to my friends and family that I am cleaning up my act, after a rather too messy and uneasy association with the familiar.
Such pruning and what Henry Cloud calls a “good hopelessness” about the redundant and merely sentimental, has been stirred in me. Now I aim to keep alert to this awareness and exercise the courage to allow my overwhelming “Yes” to dictate to and cut off the inevitable “No’s” I have been tripping over for in my hallway, living space and perhaps my thinking space for far too long.