I waited to post in the New Year until now, because, primarily, there is just so much great stuff out there currently, and secondly, I wanted to candidly share with you how my year was going so far (I am writing this on Monday, January 8th.) Quite simply, I had a strange sort of holiday, and as such, did not want that feeling lingering into 2018.
I also took yet another good look around my two—bedroom bungalow apartment and realized that there was a lot of physical things that could be changed/put into place to help me feel more creative, and generally feel more at ease “at home,” at… home.
It turns out that, after giving my space this really, truly hard look, I had nor “de-cluttered” to the extent where I could truly feel that inward sigh of relief inside my head, or magic “click.” (True? Or False? I also had a ton of work to get back to, and novel-in-progress calling my name. This could be that elusive organizing procrastination we can all fall prey to, right?)
I knew that Apartment Therapy’s January Cure was coming up, and I had (sort of!) done it for the past two years. This would be the perfect time to align my new goal of “finally” getting down to the basics of what I needed my space to be, and start of 2018 with a fresh, clear head. (Or so I thought…)
I started right before the New Year by finding, salvaging and repainting a super cute desk I found (quite literally, in my alley! Yay.) Now, I am hardly what you call a DIY-er, by any stretch of anyone’s imagination believe me, but, I have to say, I nearly astonished myself by finally following through with a “real” DIY project:
What I didn’t share was that I also “manifested” this desk, that morning, actually. I looked around my bedroom, and figured that shoving a desk in would somehow help me with my writing (I am currently hard at work on a novel.) I smilingly asked the Universe for this desk, chuckling to myself as I did so. TWO HOURS later, this little beauty appeared. NOW, I know! Not a book deal or meeting the new love of my life, but, it was exciting, nonetheless...)
And…, just LOOK at the sweet, little results:
Emboldened by this little project, and imagining all of the flowing creatively that would be magically sparked inside of my soul, I soldiered on, (and this is BEFORE January 1st. I know. I need to get a life!) tackling a make-shift office space, Christmas decorations, purchasing new doormats a few little, tiny “presents” for the apartment...(like a new cutlery holder, bathmat, pretty glass pitcher…) I even found time to trek to IKEA, something I had not done in well, a LONG time! There I bought storage boxes in Tiffany blue to house old notes, drafts and journals. These have been organized, but still do not have a proper spot in the house, currently lingering in my bedroom. After the 1st of the month, last week, I switched out some cabinet pulls, put a new drain-plug in the bathroom sink, and went over my bookcase, toting some books to a few of those adorable “Little Library” stands in my neighborhood, selling a few more at local Book Monster. (Wow, I really do need to get a life! ;)
As I did so, I would be filled with a content sort of joy, like, well, you know, everything great was about to start, and soon! (Finally!)
And this is what I wanted to discuss in this post: What to do after the high of organizing and “decluttering” has worn, off, and you are stuck with some of the same frustrations, problems, challenges and obstacles as before? That you have not magically become more productive, ready to work, write, create, paint, start that new business, or finish that one (or ten) lingering projects?
There is a reason that wonderful blogs such as Zen Habits and podcasts like The Lively Show are so vital, (as is going to therapy, if you are so inclined): They all remind us that life is a constant work-in-progress.
Your life is your work. Working on your life is not your life’s work! But, it certainly can give you a genuine feeling of fulfillment, of course. This is only natural, right?
But we can’t confuse the means with the end. Because…the end does NOT exist!
We never, ever really and truly get there. We are ALWAYS building on ourselves, our relationships, our finances, the spaces in which we live, our art, our families, our friendships, and our careers.
When you are stuck in the seductiveness of preparation, of getting-ready-to-do, when your heart beats faster when you pass the Container Store, and you actually WISH you had a closet to declutter, either consider going into the professional organizing business, or realize that creativity and work and life does not always bring the instant gratification we need.
But we still have to move forward with it, and push through…
I am super interested in the journey that Jess Lively has been embarking on this year: It all about “Alignment Before Action.” Talk about a practice! This is really tough to wrap one’s head around (what if you work in a factory, or are a house cleaner, or car mechanic?) But she is doing some vital work, we think. And it goes against so much of what we have been taught, that you have to hustle, and suffer, and sacrifice to succeed…
She believes there is a sweet spot that becomes right between “getting ready” to take action (in whatever way that means to you) and getting into alignment first. Then the “flow” will happen. We like this. It’s realizing that the concept of flow (which has been studied for decades through watching and measuring athletes and various creatives), for most of us, needs to be reached when we are in our most joyful, relaxed, super-contented state. NOT scrunched up and grinding away, miserably (although, sadly, as many of us do know, this, too, will work.)
So, maybe you need a small break before getting started something “big” you have been putting off. Maybe try to do something that makes you less anxious. Right now. Even a tiny little thing. You can get that feeling back, I promise. And it will make you feel SO much better than decluttering a junk drawer, we promise…(Although!) And then, when you the pressure is off, take that first little step. Whatever it may be, in this very moment...
Happy New Year to you from House & Mind!