Saturday, 30 August 2014

Cleaning House

Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful 
or believe to be beautiful.
~ William Morris

I have this dream sometimes, about a house with lots of rooms. It's not always the same house, though there are a few I have visited more than once in my sleep. But always the house has many rooms – sometimes multiple kitchens, living/rec rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms. Sometimes there have even been secret hidden passage ways for moving between rooms! 

Dream interpretations will tell you that a house is a symbol for the self. The various rooms represent different aspects of the self, and whichever are prominent in the dream point towards which aspect(s) of the self to pay attention to. The presence of many rooms may be suggesting a choice to be made with many possible options. For me, I think the multiple rooms sometimes represented things from my past that I had not fully let go of – people, possibilities/opportunities, choices or decisions left unfinished; thus not truly allowing space for new rooms to flourish.

In the last couple of weeks I have cut some of those ties. I stumbled upon and sought out opportunities for closure. More importantly, I wanted to find closure and cut ties. To let go of the lingering stale energies. To walk away from the potential drama. To release the fear of having nothing there. To create space for the possibility of something new or different.

Some of the ties were easy to cut. Others, not so much. One or two may still have tiny threads not completely frayed loose. And still there are probably more that need attending to. Not all at once. Not necessarily in the light of some significant situation. Rather an awareness of what around me is bringing me energy and life; and what around me is draining.

This week I had a dream about a smaller house full of people. A few familiar faces, but many not so. Cramped into a tiny kitchen, living room, one bathroom, and too few bedrooms. I had the distinct feeling that this was not ok. I wanted my own space back. Perhaps this was a reflection that in my awake life I have been cleaning house. No longer are there empty rooms for stuff to linger. In the most endearing way possible, I hear myself saying: “If you don't fit in my house, get the f* out!”

Thursday, 21 August 2014

I want to be a Selfish-people-pleaser

"Every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling "This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!" 
And every day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, "No. This is what's important."
~ Iain S. Thomas. 

What's harmful gets no more of my attention. I'm not wrestling with the ignorant; instead, I'm celebrating real heroes, steps in the right direction, victories, progress and love. I choose what's good and fun and smart and supportive from here on in. Now I'm fighting like I know I'm winning - because I am.
~ Asia Nelson

One of the things I am loving about my close friendships in my 30s is that many of us are struggling with some learning-/growth-potential experiences; together!

Let me clarify – it's not that I love that we are all struggling with sh!t... Though I know the growth/learning potential is good and important, I also know the struggling still sucks. Rather I love walking beside, hearing about, and watching the learning & growth that happens! It's so exciting to hear someone say “Ok, I get it now... that's why that happened, this is what I'm taking from it, and here's what I'm gonna do about it.”

(No surprise then for the career I've now chosen)

The other thing I love about it – sometimes in a friend's a-ha! moment, I learn something too!

Case in point just the other week when Friend said something along the lines of “I want to stop worrying about everyone else, and every day do only what is going to make me happy!”

Sound a little selfish?


But maybe not when you put it in the context of what makes Friend happy: spending time with family, friends, alone; working, playing, relaxing...

If what makes Friend happy is not only ensuring self needs/wants are met, but also those of loved ones – then what makes Friend happy may actually become Selfish-people-pleasing. When Friend is happy, loved ones are happy (at least in the context of Friend)... when loved ones are happy, Friend is happy.

It's a balance thing – all things in moderation?!

So if Friend wakes up and decides today I want to spend time with family/Partner/friend(s) – both self and family/Partner/friend(s) benefit from the time spent together.
Self-pleased + people-pleased = selfish-people-pleasing!

If Friend wakes up and decides today I want to spend time by myself – the self benefits from the rejuvenation time. BUT – family/Partner/friend(s) indirectly benefits from this too because Friend will likely be more rested, balanced, and eager to spend time with and support family/Partner/friend(s) when/if they need it.
Self-pleased + indirectly (and/or eventually) people-pleased = Selfish-people-pleasing!

I think it's important though, that the Selfish part comes before the people-pleasing. We hear this all the time in the social services field – self-care, self-care, self-care is pounded into our heads. Because we can only take care of others (people-please) when we first take care of ourselves (Selfish).

I can hear some of my friends and family who have children balking with a “Yeah, but...” And while I know I can't wholeheartedly defend this idea in that light because I am not a parent – and there will certainly be exceptional times when the people-pleasing will need to trump the Selfish (whether a parent or not) – I will argue that a) (hopefully) caring for your child(ren) does in some ways fit under the category of “things that make me happy”; and b) I'll say it again: if we are not taking proper care of ourselves we are less able to take proper care of our loved ones – including our children. Added bonus: you are potentially teaching your children that taking care of self is important and valuable; and helping them to become Selfish-people-pleasers too!
So dear friends, if you feel so inclined to benefit from another's a-ha! moment as I would like to, then I encourage you to yank your hand back and become a Selfish-people-pleaser. And allow your loved ones the freedom and space to do and be the same. Perhaps we can all benefit from every day doing what is going to make me happy!