A few days ago, my husband took the initiative to do some home improvements. He decided to build a library in our living room. He didn’t take this task lightly and researched online for a day or two to find out the best way to approach the task. He finally decided to recycle a couple of shelves we had on the ground floor and add some more elements he bought at IKEA. To begin with, it was his project, but once the shelves were done, I started helping sort out books.
We moved into our current house almost ten years ago when our kids were aged 6, 5, and 3. We chose to buy a new house so we didn’t have to spend time renovating it in order to spend our spare time with the kids. We couldn’t afford to furnish it fully from the moment we moved in, which we thought was also an advantage since we felt we needed to get to know the house first and then decide how we were going to use the space.
Throughout the years, we’ve changed how we use some of the rooms, often ending up with a bit of a patchwork. The kids were young, we were tired between work and everyday life, and didn’t want to spend much of our spare time in the house since we enjoy being outdoors.
So, when we started searching for all the books we had in the house, we realized they were everywhere, and the moment I entered a room and started sorting ‘my’ books, I realized there were other things that needed to be sorted into three categories: to keep, to give away, to throw away.
Initially, I approached the task with enthusiasm, but towards the end of the second day of sorting and tidying, I started getting frustrated. We will never finish! , was my dominant thought. Then, I remembered that one of my goals for the rest of 2022 (and the rest of my life!) is to develop patience. What a great opportunity to work with my goal!
So far, the shelves have the books we want to keep, we have two boxes with books we would like to give away/sell, and are working on it, and we have thrown away old papers and other rubbish that we had accumulated during the last ten years or even longer.
This little project of ours has reminded us of other things we have been wanting to change in the house but haven’t taken the time to do. Again, I had to accept that we can’t do everything during our summer break because we want to do other things, and we can’t spend all our holiday money on changing the furniture and lighting in the house.
So, for the moment, things are good enough with potential for improvement, which reminded me again of my goal to be patient. If ten years of living in the house and adding things sometimes without thorough planning will take a while to declutter and change, imagine attitudes and patterns of thought that have developed for over forty years!- if we only count this life. During the last seven years, I keep studying Yoga, reminding myself to work with what I consider most important, but I keep discovering new ways I limit myself through my mind. I am a work in progress, and I need to be patient, kind, and compassionate towards myself.
I have discovered that a great way to work with my patience is during my asana practice too. I stay longer in poses or do more repetitions of the same exercise. I try to keep my daily practice even simpler than before to discipline my restless mind. When I sit in meditation, I stay a bit longer after my bell rings, just to let go of the impulse of ‘finishing’ and moving on to the next thing.
I am also trying to remind myself to take a pause before I speak while in a conversation (not being very good at this yet), maybe to realize I don’t need to say anything at all.
It is going to be interesting to observe myself go back to everyday life. Will I remember to work towards my goal? I certainly hope so.