Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sometimes mess is necessary.


This week, my living room, hallway, eating area and studio are all a complete mess. Rugs are stacked on top of the sofa which is in the eating area. The dining table is covered and surrounded, so we can't eat there. Pillows, lamps, tables, mirrors, paintings and all the rest are stacked in an upstairs bedroom. I can't even get to the window to open it up.

There's dust everywhere. Not to mention flakes of old paint, cobwebs, a few little critters who were sharing our home, too. Ok, this sounds bad but it's really good. It's a big sign that renewal, rebirth and positive change is happening. Finally.
We have 25 foot ceilings downstairs that haven't been painted since we moved in. That was 15 years ago or more. So it was more than time, but with all the losses and changes over the last few years, it wasn't a project we were ready to tackle. Physically or financially. We had enough on our plate already, plus the fear that our plate might wind up empty on us. So, we waited.

Without planning or thinking, things started to move around us. It was really small things at first, cleaning a closet, re-potting a few plants, giving my old curtains to my daughter to use in her apartment, making a few new pillows and a valance. Then the painting started in the nook and the kitchen but soon we were painting the ceilings, the hallways and entry area. I got the feeling something other than painting was really happening, but I still wasn't sure. When we spontaneously decided to get someone in to paint the 25 foot ceiling, I knew that our life was changing for the better.

A long time ago, in a class I took, a teacher described how she knew when one of her students was coming out of a down cycle into renewal because they would tell her how they were suddenly cleaning closets, donating old clothes, throwing out old papers and re-potting plants. All these actions, she explained, were signs of a transition to a new life. It's all about cleaning out the old and making way for the new. So when life gets really messy, take heart knowing that the mess is a necessary pathway to renewal.

Now, I have to go rest my feet, so tomorrow I can get back on the ladder and finish painting the upstairs hallway. Then clean the rugs, sofa, floors, lamps, pillows, well you get the idea. Below is a Copper Moon I've been working on in between painting walls.

6 comments:

Lisa PN said...

Our house has been a shambles for the past few weeks, and i imagine for the next 4 weeks until our firstborn son arrives into the world! I can't do as much as i like, but i am a good supervisor and agree with you in regards to cleaning out to create for a new life, a new stage.

Am really grateful for a reminder. Thanks so much for that!

Patrick Gracewood said...

Susan,
so true! We went on vacation and came back determined to get rid of things like the five foot stack of old New Yorker magazines by the back door.

Spent a day cleaning and now it's a pleasure to walk into a clean and empty! back porch. Now for the front porch....and touching our art at least once a day to promise we'll give more attention to it when we have clear space....

Lisa said...

Congrats on finding the energy to make these changes! The results will be well worth it. We finally painted our ceilings last summer and the whole house looks brighter now.

Mahala said...

Oh, this is really hopeful. I feel like I've been in a bit of a things-are-not-really-working period. But I've also begun re-arranging furniture, tossing stuff out, and envisioning what I want for the new. So maybe it's a *good* rebirth kind of phase.

BTW, your lovely comment on my blog is now front and center as a post of it's own. Thanks for your permission to do that.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

Lisa PN, Congrats to you on the arrival of your son soon...glad your taking care of yourself and being a supervisor right now, I remember that new stage well...welcome and glad my piece helped you, too.

Patrick...isn't it amazing what a little cleaning can do for the mood and sometimes it takes a vacation to be able to see things differently.

Lisa...Thanks! It's amazing what new paint can do!

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

Mahala...I'm so glad to hear this gave you new hope in the midst of a difficult time. Yes, I do believe this is a stage of rebirthing...out with the old to make way for the new.

I'm honored you wanted to use my words on your blog...I'll check in on it later.