When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Changing perspective

Every fall as the weather turns colder, the days grow darker, and I find myself indoors more often, I inevitably get the urge to start rearranging furniture around the house. I come by this habit honestly; my mom also liked to change things up in our family home, and as a kid I loved coming through the door after school to find my bedroom flipped around, or the living room reassembled so that I had a whole new view when I sat on the couch. (My poor dad may not have looked so fondly on my mom's creative work, though. More than once, I'm pretty sure, he tiredly fumbled through the house in the dark of night after working a late shift, only to find that the bed was no longer where it used to be!) For me, however, and I think for my mom, too, it's always been exhilarating to stand in a room and suddenly realize that there is a completely different way to see it. The change in perspective once some shuffling has been done is refreshing and energizing.

Over the past few weeks, I've made some welcome modifications to the physical layout of our home. Items that we no longer use have been sold or donated to people who will enjoy them, a few new items have been added, and some things that have long stood in the same spot have been given new life in a different room. When I look at the finished effect, I feel deeply satisfied with the changes, and wonder why I never thought to do things this way long ago.

The truth is, sometimes we don't think to do things differently because we are creatures of habit. It's much easier, with furniture and with our thoughts, to stick to what we're used to, because it's comfortable that way, because what we know is safe. But nothing in life is static, despite our attempts to hold on. As surely as one second flows into the next, we, too, are constantly changed, like it or not, by our experiences as we live them. While I move furniture around with ease and enthusiasm, and have no trouble parting with physical things I no longer need, I've always found it harder to accept that sometimes my way of thinking and acting need to change too, especially when the old patterns aren't serving me well. Sometimes it takes a crisis of sorts to motivate us enough to make these more profound and incredibly rewarding changes.

The past few months have been a period of inner transformation for me, too. I stood and looked at myself the way I look at a room full of furniture and realized suddenly that it was time for something new. Excessive worrying had become a tired old bed to lie on and needed to be shown to the curb. In its place, I've introduced an attitude of acceptance, of letting go, of realizing I can't and don't need to figure everything out. I'm learning to breathe, to be present in each moment, to welcome whatever may come and realize that that is living, to sit in my newly created space and enjoy the ever-changing view. It's been a relief to break free of the old, exhausting habits bit by bit, and empowering to realize I can choose to look at life differently, more healthily.

Self-transformation is difficult and sometimes tiring; it requires doing most of the heavy lifting yourself. Now that I am finally able to relax, stronger and re-energized in the warm and peaceful room I've created in my heart, I'm so glad I decided to do it. I won't be moving things back.

Thank you for your patience while I've been rearranging myself! I hope to be here more often now to once again share stories, recipes, thoughts, and laughs with you all.

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