Well, when I finished the post I wrote introducing this month’s Extreme Self-Care Challenge as set by Cheryl Richardson in her book,
I took a few photos of the disaster that is my office so that I could proudly display my disgusting ‘before’ and pristine ‘after’ pictures.
I will not be sharing any photos.
I had a good start. Everything languishing on the furniture surfaces was dusted and rearranged and dealt with. The only problem is that the ‘dealt with’ part meant filing the very important detritus into several piles (that’s an understatement if I ever made one – several piles – ha!) that I have studiously stepped over from that day to this.
Despite one friend’s cheerleading, which went something like the adage ‘well begun is half done,’ and another friend’s advice that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, I’ve only been able to take a nibble or two in this oh-so-elephantine task.
Apparently, my tolerance for the cacophany of my own clutter is higher than I imagined, which isn’t surprising actually. We can all tolerate our own noise better than the disturbances caused by others.
So I didn’t manage to get past clearing the clutter or organizing my stuff, let along creating a soul-nourishing space.
Except for one tiny 4′ by 4′ area where I sit in front of my laptop to escape into the secret worlds I’m creating for my next book and from which vantage point I can easily see pictures and photos and quotes that uplift, inspire and delight me.
When I look up from my writing, directly in front of me is a beautiful calendar of door photographs with accompanying quotes. Here’s this month’s offering:
Slightly to the left, is the collage I’ve created of all the beautiful things I want to have in my life. It nourishes me every time I look at it and reminds me that I already have most of this beauty in my life right now.
Slightly to the right of the calendar is a favorite family photo with an oversized photocopy of my Turtle Dreams logo ‘swimming’ out of the top of it. And beside it are two paintings – hand-made gifts from my sons.
Pretty soul-nourishing, I’d say.
And, when I glance over my shoulder at the piles glowering at me from the floor, I remind myself that this month I may not have finished excavating my office, but I have rearranged my living room furniture to the cozy, centered-around-the-fireplace winter grouping.
And there have been many evenings when I could have been purging piles, but chose instead to sit in front of a crackling fire rereading the Harry Potter saga to my son and our exchange student.
Funny Story Interlude:
When Jacob and I decided we’d read the Harry Potter books again, we invited Sarah, our 15 year old Austrian exchange student to join us.
“No,” she said. “I’ve already read it in German and I saw the movies.”
“Okay,” we said and settled in to read.
Sarah stayed in the kitchen, doing her homework on the island. By the time we got to the end of Chapter Two, she was curled up at the other end of the couch, listening. We finished Book One on the weekend and will start Book Two after we watch the first movie which should be arriving at the library any day now – have I ever mentioned that I Love My Library?
So . . . this month I may not have succeeded in transforming my entire office into a soul-nourishing haven, but I have created sanctuary in other areas of my life and I’ll trust that my good intentions will eventually ripple out from this 4′ by 4′ eye-of-the-storm to soothe and enliven the rest of my work space.
That’s what I’ll tell myself anyway.
It’s called ‘spin’ and sometimes spin is a very good thing.