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Home Improvement

Home. It’s a sacred place, or at least I want it to be. A place where I always feel comfortable, loved, welcome. A place that is a retreat for my mind, body and soul. A place to rest, rejuvenate and feel fully alive, all at the same time. For me, my whole world is my home.

Sometimes I fall out of alignment with this feeling of home. I am in conflict with those I share my home with, I feel cluttered with unwanted noise and busy activity or thoughts and actions that have me feeling more like I want to avoid home than retreat to it. What to do? I can get sucked into the maelstrom of doing battle or proving I’m right or retaliation or other game playing. This always spirals out of control as those I share home with withdraw, rebel or retaliate in their own ways. Negative energy and action never pays off. I might feel like I’ve won when my voice is louder or I use my age or size or experience to control others. The heartfelt satisfaction and longterm benefits never materialize, however. I cannot change anyone except myself.

I’ve learned over years of practice with this that the only way to effect positive change in my home is by committing to upgrading myself. Personal upgrade always requires a connection to the essence of self respect and self love. How can I change my thoughts or actions in ways that allow me to feel a greater degree of personal responsibility, integrity and genuine goodness? It matters not what others are doing in the household or what choices they are making or how disruptive they are. I can’t change any of that. I can only change myself.

When I am faced with the discomfort of negative energy of any kind, whether it’s in the home or elsewhere in my life, I first ask myself “why did I ask for exposure to this situation or for it to take place in my life?” Sometimes it takes a bit of time to open myself to the answer that feels right and true, but I always get a powerful answer. I then have an opportunity to be grateful for the experience of becoming aware of my increasing clarity and the challenge this contrast brings. Now I have the added opportunity of realigning myself with what really feels right and true to me: self respect and self love. It’s through the embodiment of these two devotions that all the best things happen: I am able to reconnect with myself and my highest wishes and abilities, I am able to love genuinely and without reservation, speak from my heart, and, powerfully, watch as others in my life who do not share my renewed, feel good alignment fall to the wayside… like magic. I never have to confront them or cast them out. My home is restored.

Some of the ways such magic has manifested itself in my life include simple things like an invitation from a friend to do something or go somewhere, an invitation for my child to spend the night elsewhere or take another family’s trip, a phone call from someone who has me laughing, a book or article or conversation or intuition that comes into my radar that addresses exactly what I am wanting to confront in myself… to bigger, much more dramatic magic such as when the person you are feeling out of alignment with takes a new job or moves or creates a conflict with you that leaves you both in agreement that it’s over.

Life is mysterious. It can be confusing, enormously challenging and downright difficult. All the external variables in life – the people, places and things – are always in a dynamic state of change. I want this so that my life is interesting and dynamic as well. I can’t predict what or how interactions will play out. I can’t control any of it. The only thing, anytime or anywhere, that I have any hope of controlling is myself. If my goal is to embody and enjoy the actions and feelings of divine love, connection and radical fulfillment, my energy is always best spent learning how to achieve these; learning how to better and more deeply connect with my soulful essence. The only one who can do that is me. No one is responsible for my thoughts, feeling and actions except me. No one can change them except me. I am responsible for my own alignment with what feels good, right and true. I have learned that my home will restore itself to its full vitality and inspired comfort when I have succeeded.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the discussion…I’ve recently started figuring this out for myself. I’ve spent years trying to get my wife to help with certain chores around the house. Sometimes I would succeed…but it would always be temporary and old habits would fall back into place. I only recently realized I just needed to give up trying to change her…and finally understood that if I was the one wanting those things done, that I just needed to do them myself…or not care about them. Since it wasn’t in my nature to not care about them…I’m now doing them myself. Even though I know I’m doing a little bit more work around the house than I would being by myself (but I’ve obviously made the choice already to not live by myself)…ultimately I’m a lot more at peace with myself and my house because of that understanding.

    May 29, 2012
  2. so true Andrew. and who can define work or contribution anyway? she may feel a good deal of her productive time, if that is important to her, is wrapped in the metaphysics of nurturing children or the family or planning meals or activities or conversations… who’s to say? we all have our own always changing comfort levels with choices regarding our thoughts and actions. it flows when we have the freedom to express ourselves authentically and also be able to let others go who naturally move out of our alignment.

    May 29, 2012
  3. Robyn #

    Dear Barb,
    I love it!!! And I do have started asking myself the question: “What is this situation/person here to help me learn?” as you said at the beginning of the 4th paragraph. However, even if I get an answer, I still have a hard time moving back into alignment with myself. Would you describe the steps you take after asking yourself what you did to create this situation a little more in depth?
    Thank you so much!

    May 29, 2012
    • it varies, but generally what I do to bring myself back into alignment is:

      – allow myself to be grateful for people and things I am genuinely grateful for: things like certain friends, experiences, weather, health, abilities, opportunities

      – remember that I trust the process: I am not here to control or change anyone except myself

      – practice letting go of all those things and people that I cannot change

      – identify ways I can think, rethink, act or behave that will allow me to feel good: seeking a new book, having a conversation with a friend, being generous in some way, loving something about myself, giving and appreciating

      – when a dark or negative remembrance starts to enter my mind I challenge myself to move it aside in favor of a thought or memory that feels better

      Does any of this help you?

      June 8, 2012
  4. I’ve browsed through this article searching for home improvement tips. Read the first paragraph and though this isnt what im looking for but surprisingly read it till the end.. Thanks for this very well written article…

    May 29, 2012
  5. I so totally agree, as usual, and I love Andrew Stuart’s comment! My husband used to do that to me! I always said: If the dirty floor bothers you so much, vacuum it yourself! I hadn’t even noticed it was dirty. On the other hand, I hate to have a dirty kitchen, so it is always clean. My husband never ever does the dishes. It doesn’t bother him to see them in a pile. It bothers me, so I do them and I don’t resent him for not doing them. Now we have another problem: he can’t stand to have the kids’ toys all over the place. I don’t ask them to pick them up because it doesn’t bother me, and most importantly it doesn’t bother the children. Not only doesn’t it bother them, it actually annoys them if somebody puts their toys away because then they are not where they left them. I tried telling my husband the other day that the picking up of the toys was only important to him, not the rest of us. He took offence and said the reason why I am messy is because I wasn’t asked to pick up my toys when I was little. On the contrary! It is because I remember so well resenting this demmand to pick up my room that I don’t do it to my children. Also in my defence, I might be messy, but I am not the one who is constantly asking “Where is the …?” I know where things are.

    June 25, 2012
  6. On the other hand, I hate to have a dirty kitchen, so it is always clean. Thanks for this article.

    August 27, 2015

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