I am going on vacation in 2 weeks. I will be spending over a week just sitting at the beach, playing, thinking, splashing, reading, soaking up the beauty of the earth. I am so excited and hopeful that this will really open up my soul to peace, joy, and clarity.
To help in this effort, I already have a list of about 30 books I'd like to read..haha. Okay that's a bit much, I'm going to have to narrow it down. So in that effort, I have to think about why I am really doing this. What do I really want to accomplish on this trip?
Well, what have I been missing? I have accomplished a lot. I just graduated with my Bachelor's Degree. I have 2 awesome kids. I'm doing some dating and making friends and trying to connect with people. I'm trying to stay active with hiking, biking. I plan to hike my favorite mountain this August. I have a job lined up teaching science to 8th graders. I have a nice home and car, and a lot of the "things" that help me do what I value.
What are the problems I still have?
I think the major one is that I can't seem to keep it together for very long. I am lacking order and discipline. I often stay up too late, eat too much, play too much at the expense of being a good housekeeper or a better mother. Maybe my priorities are out of whack, maybe I'm short on time and the priorities that are lower leave me annoyed, maybe I just still feel inadequate and it's hard to get things in order when my mind is bogged down by deep-down feelings of inadequacy.
What do I want? How do I wish my life were different?
I'd like to be more organized and at peace. I'd like my home to be cleaner on a regular basis. I'd like to not leave projects laying around all the time cause I'm always on-the-go from one fun thing to the next. I'd like my home to be a haven where I can do the things I love, parent great kids, and think clearly. Right now I'm buried in so much clutter, my brain is too stressed out to think unless I escape and ignore the house. I like to have things clean and organized, but it seems to take sooo much time.
I also want to be a better mom and devote more time to my kids and help them learn to be obedient, self-disciplined, open-minded critical thinkers, boys with integrity and other good values, etc. I don't feel like I'm doing anything about that right now cause I've been concentrating on myself so much (mostly out of necessity...just graduated from college, remember.) My environment stresses me out and also makes it so I keep people at arm's length so they won't see this part of my life and think poorly of me. (There is another clue- I still think too much about what others think of me.) I think the environment also stressed my kids out, and it is probably an unconscious source of contention in the home.
My life is good outwardly...and I want to connect to people. But then I'm afraid to bring them in *until* I spend a couple weeks getting my house clean and organized. I don't want anyone to see the truth of how I live among clutter with disobedient and often disrespectful children. I only want people to see the good stuff, naturally.
I suspect that all this physical clutter comes from some place deep within myself. Is it true that if I "fix" something about my life, all other stuff will come together? Or does housekeeping simply take work and discipline? Perhaps I need to learn to be more disciplined, so that is what I most need to work on?
Perhaps it's all based in the disconnection from God I've had recently as I've become inactive in my church and questioned a lot of things. Maybe that is what I really need to spend time looking at. Giving up religion with its natural built-in discipline has probably caused me to "let loose" in many ways. But I'm not sure that being religious helped me be more organized either, I don't know. I do think at certain times in life when I was very stalwart in my faith, I was more happy and at peace. I attributed it to praying and God giving me the gifts of charity and peace.
I've thought about trying meditation as a way to help me get inner peace. See if it works as well as prayer. I think that could help me determine if peace can come from within myself...or if it really is a gift from God. Which would indicate that there IS a God. But if meditation works just as well, then what I've suspected may be true- that Godly things are really a product of our Physiology.
Do I actively resist cleaning and organizing? Like right now...I'm looking up books and writing this blog instead of cleaning out my fridge, putting the rest of the groceries away, or countless other projects I could be doing to get my home in better order. Do I come up with other priorities and reasons to avoid it?
Part of my hesitation and frustration is that the kids have chores that they didn't do yesterday and it's kind of hard for me to do my stuff until they do. (One son empties the dishwasher, the other is supposed to clean the floor by the chairs where we eat.) I hate mopping and it needs to be done so badly. It's one son's job to do that each week but he doesn't do it very thoroughly, so it needs a good deep clean. The kitchen is somewhat of a source of stress because I'm not that good at throwing meals together that are healthy and delicious. I have a hard time thinking of what to make. A messy kitchen makes this even worse, or perhaps is an excuse to hide the fact that I'm not good at cooking daily meals. Maybe that makes me feel inadequate, which is something to run away from.
I guess I need....to determine if there is a God. And if there is, reestablish contact with Him. And if there isn't, I need to establish contact with the peaceful true Self inside of me. I need to reconcile science with my spiritual side, cause that is where the upheaval began I think.
I think I also need to work on vulnerability more and at NOT running away from things that feel like inadequacies. I probably need to come to realize that there is no such thing as inadequacy. There is no need to please or impress anyone. I guess just myself- I am inadequate for myself and I judge myself harshly on that. I need to love myself, clutter and all.
I could explain my clutter and see the love and logic in it.... What does it consist of right now?
1- Christmas decorations that I still haven't gotten all the way put away and stored
a. Higher priorities have trumped this- student teaching took all my time and thought, trying to take care of kids.
b. I value memories- I want the decorations to be put away properly, not just thrown into the storage area, and I haven't taken the time to get them organized properly so our special ornaments are protected and easy to find next Christmas.
2- Desk-top clutter, mostly supplies from student teaching and classes in college
a. Higher priorities taking over....instead of cleaning up- pile it there, move on to the next thing I need to study or plan for class...then those things just pile up over time.
3- Cooking/ eating clutter- dishes, etc.
a. I value trying to teach my kids to be responsible, so I will NOT do their kitchen duties for them, I wait for them to do them. My youngest son is terrible at doing his stuff and the dishes have really piled up under his hand. I value peace and love and have a hard time following through on getting him to do things, because he fights with me and holds his ground really well. I'm losing power struggles with my 7-year-old, to try to maintain some peace and sanity. But then it's robbing us of those very things anyway.
4- Graduation stuff. Cards, gifts, party supplies, etc.
a. Graduation was almost 2 weeks ago. I have slowly been chipping away at this clutter, and I *have* gotten a lot of it cleaned up and put away. These last items are easier to leave cause they won't rot or go bad, and don't take up a lot of space except various corners of coffee tables.
5- Clean laundry
a. It's good I keep up on washing clothes (mostly)....can I really spend an hour folding it when we can just dig through and find something clean when needed? It's a nuisance, yes, but it's not the end of the world. The piles of clothes in my room are ugly and annoying so I'd rather they be put away. But there will be an all new batch of clean clothes to replace them soon and it will never end. Do I want to spend my life folding laundry? Maybe I should just give the kids their clothes and have them shove them in their drawers, sans folding. Or they can fold them if they so wish. And do the same with mine. But I have so many clothes, I really *have* to fold them or they won't fit in the drawers. And lots get hung up.
Am I just lazy? I spend time on other things. I've gone to lunch with lots of people, I've gone hiking and biking, I have thrown parties and tried to connect to people. People are more important than the order of my house. But then when I come home, I'm stressed out. If I could accept that this is just the way I am, would that make me feel better at home? I don't think so. Even if no one comes over, the clutter stresses me out cause I can't find what I need when I need it, I can't find a flat surface to work on a project, I can't find a place to sit, etc.
I value being adventurous, exploring, being child-like. If I'm in the middle of finally organizing and putting away my Christmas decorations, and my kids want to go outside and have a water fight, am I going to stay and put the decorations away? Hell no!
But I do envy people who have no clutter...in fact, they seem to not really even live there, it's like a hotel. haha Okay so maybe I don't want it be THAT sterile, but I guess I need places that can be clean and livable, AND have other areas that have projects and things that are okay if they are not put away or clean all the time. I need an extra room for that. But all my extra areas are very public in this house. I have 2 living rooms kind of...one I use for my office and want it to be neat with a half office/ half sitting area, and doubles as a game room when needed. How can I make this space work for me and not have to stress and kill myself for 2 days cleaning before someone is scheduled to come over? I guess a little at a time.
This isn't really helping me figure out which books I should take with me...