For quite a while now, I’ve been unsettled, restless, almost irritated, and I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on the cause of it all. My life this year has seen a lot of change and transition, which is actually pretty normal for me, but there’s been an undercurrent of something, something which identifying seems elusive and just out of my grasp.
At the centre of it I know is stuff, the stuff we have and the time it takes to manage it all, the self-resentment I feel for feeling burdened by my choices and having to keep myself and the kids in line to not let it all get out of control. First world problems, I know, and ones that are so common to so, so many people around me. But it’s been even more than that, and today I had an experience that gave me a little moment of clarity and a great deal of encouragement.
I’ve been going back through the pile of e-mails in my inbox (yes, more stuff, albeit of the electronic variety), and I came across a blog post from Michael Hyatt, where he discussed Chris Guillebeau’s new book ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’ and a quote from the book stopped me in my tracks:
“Properly examined, feeling of unease can lead to a new life of purpose.”
The words resonated deep within me in relation to another area of life, but as I sat writing out my brain this morning, trying to work out the core of this discontent, I thought of this quote, and let it sit over how I was feeling about the current state of my house.
Stifled and scattered. That’s what immediately came to mind, and initially I felt despair over trying to work out how to fix it all. Of course, I knew I couldn’t in the space of a day, but I could start.
So, I started to make a list. And then realised that was a really bad idea, because it would potentially be never ending and even more discouraging. I then asked myself ‘what’s stealing my joy today?’, and I immediately knew the answer.
The back of our house is primarily made up of what we call ‘the back room (original, I know) – it was originally the back porch, and 20+ years ago was enclosed to become an extra living area. After having floor covering put down nearly a year ago, we were finally able to start really living in this space (previously it had bare concrete, after I got rid of the old carpet squares), and it’s currently zoned into tv/gaming, my office and sewing/creating space. As so often happens, the flat surfaces become holding areas for things that get dumped, and I was at my limit of coping with it all.
So, I just starting clearing it out and cleaning it up. Which didn’t take that long at all, even sorting the pile of ‘to deal with’ paper that had been getting higher and higher, and eventually, I got my room back.
Like the rest of my house, this space will never appear in a magazine or a design blog, but it works for us, and I have plans to make it even brighter and welcoming.
But the moment of clarity came for me today when I was driving around later, getting some jobs done around town, and I felt like I could take a big, deep, unrestricted breath for the first time in a long time, and I just felt peace. Re-setting my space and getting rid of the excess had shifted something inside me and left me feeling lighter, and I just got it – the peace of not just less, but of simply having what I need. As I prayed this morning in the early waking hours, simply speaking the words of The Lord’s Prayer to my Father, the prayer to ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ became more than just words. It was an awakening to the fact that that is all we can truly ask for – what we need for each day as it comes, one day at a time. And to learn to live in that, nothing more, trusting God that He knows what we need to get through the day.
By examining what it was that was making me feel uneasy today, I got something done that felt purposeful and encouraging – a very small example of what Chris Guillbeau talks about, but one that shows me that listening to this discontent might just be what I need to find where I need to go.
What is it that brings those little – or even big – ‘aha’ moments for you?