In the book "It's All Too Much" by Peter Walsh, he asks you the reader to look around your home; ask yourself, "Is this my ideal life? What does my ideal life look like?"; then after the vision is crystal clear in your mind, clear away everything that doesn't fit into that ideal.
I would like to take that advice, and then take it one step further. For some, a TV in the bedroom is cluttering their ideal love life. For others, a lack of self control is preventing their ideal relationships. For still others, a lack of understanding or closeness to Spirit is hampering their ability to feel compassion and love for others. Each of us is unique, and our lives are all as imperfect and different as we are. But for all of us, a lack of attention and consistent work will result in chaos.
Acknowledging Weaknesses, Compensating For Them
I was looking around my house the other day, and I snapped. Have you ever done that? I was just walking around, tidying, and as I told my kids for the umpteenth time to pick up their toys. My daughter, the high-spirited one, tells me it's not her job, and I should just do it for her, and as I began to argue with her, I realized something very important. This is not the life I want. This is not how I want to spend my time. Peter Walsh's words came back to me like a roaring wave, and I snapped.
I went through the house gathering as many toys as I could find, even things that were put away, and I put them in the car. I got rid of many, many things my children claimed to love, yet showed no respect for, and I informed them they were all going to charity. I then went through my own things, starting with my shoes, and started throwing out and donating things I don't use and don't need. It felt so good! But something else was nagging at me that I couldn't quite pin down.
I got rid of about 90% of their toys, loved or not. You may think I'm nuts and say to yourself, "those poor kids!" That thought did run through my mind briefly, but I pushed it away. Christmas is next week. At least 30 more toys are about to enter our house, so these kids will be fine.
I know a great organizer. She fits a large amount of stuff into her dust-free home which has few closets, and large empty spaces. She is neat and tidy, with a place for everything, and everything in its place. She is also not me. I have no organization skills apart from occasional bursts of energy. I do not do well with daily maintenence. So to make up for that, I need less stuff. My goal here is not to tell you that you should get rid of all your kids' toys. I am attempting to make an analogy.
I filled up the entire car, and sent it away with my husband this morning. "Good riddance!" I thought to myself. Away went all the source of the contention and stress in my home, right?
Today I thought would be a finishing day, of finally turning the house into "My ideal life." I was sure that the kids would be grateful not to be scolded for leaving their toys about. I was sure that this would be a good day.
I dragged, humphed, and got highly irritated with my kids who fought nearly all day. My daughter even taught the 2-yr-old some new moves, such as how to scream, "I hate you!" and kicking me during a tantrum. It was when my daughter kicked me and ran to her room that I had to stop and ask myself once again, but this time with more thought, "Is this my ideal life? What does my ideal family look like?" I didn't have to imagine it, I just had to think back and remember. What was different back then? What was encroaching on that vision? What needed to be cleared away?
It was then that I realized that the toys, while they were cluttering up my home, my time, and my verbal commands, were not the SOURCE of the contention that has lately been sneaking into my home. I am thankful that they were not there to be blamed. This was not my children, or my husband, or simply life's hardships. This was my doing. I had lost my drive, my spirit, my intuition, my patience, and worst of all, my charity. I had changed, and so my family followed suit. It is time to apologize, and start again.
Reading My Own Blog
For the next little while, this blog will be centered around my attempts to change, to overcome negative reactions in mind, words, and body, and become positively pro-active, again. To help with that, I am going to be reading my own blog, along with the scriptures, church literature, uplifting and helpful books, and striving to live only the good, while clearing away the bad. This is where I will discover if my blog is actually helpful in helping someone change. If it is not, changes will be made. With God's help, I know I can do this. I know without a doubt that change is truly possible, with a confession, a desire to change, true sorrow, and a broken heart before God. I also know it will require Faith that my God is there, Hope that He will help me and that His help will be sufficient; and Charity, a gift of love that I must beg and pray and plead for, while allowing my heart to be open to it.
This blog isn't about me prostrating my life in front of everyone, setting up some sort of false ideal to be admired. This blog is about real change, and wanting (and believing) that change can be permanent, in favor of kindness, patience, love, and godliness. This blog is about beating family contention, and patterns of abuse, unkindness, impatience, neglect, and other mistreatments of children that are so often passed from generation to generation. This is me telling the world: I need to change too, and I know it's hard, and I know it seems impossible, because I feel all of those things! I have hope, because I have been there before, and I know I can be there again, with time, patience, and consistent daily effort. I will let you know about the tools that help the most, and the ones that don't. I will let you know how my family reacts, and most of all, all the inspirations that come to me during this process.
I will end with a heartfelt plea. If you are like me, PLEASE don't give up. Please don't give in. You have not failed if you have not lost hope. If you feel anger, resentment, frustration, and pain, you are not alone. If you feel hopeless, afraid, defeated, you are not alone. If you feel defensive, self-righteous, even confused, you are not alone. You are not alone. All of us need help. All of us need a change sometimes, and change begins with me.