Some Days My Home Feels Made Of Straw

As I child I remember hearing the story about the “Three Little Pigs” many times.  What I took from it was the obvious – the smart person builds their home with bricks so that nothing will blow it down and for me that meant the elements of nature such as wind and terrible storms.  Much later as an adult I realized that the real meaning of the story is to fortify our “being” homes in a way that nothing can destroy our psyches.  At least that’s my take on it.  And certainly we are given ample ways to fortify with everything from our faith to self-help guru’s we listen to and watch on TV to courses on self-esteem, yada, yada, yada.  Still, I think many of us have days (and many perhaps weeks or months) of times when we feel we could crumble easily – just like the little pig who’s house was made of straw.  The wolf barely blew and down went his house.  I found myself in a home made of straw the day after my last blog post A Better Home was published.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the blogging world and all the details, there are two ways you can read my blog.  One is to stumble upon it on the Internet.  The other is to subscribe to it so that you can get an email alert for each new post.  I get all the analytics on who subscribes and even by the way, who actually reads my posts.  It’s thrilling to say the least to get new subscribers.  It’s also thrilling to view my analytics each day a post comes out to see who clicked on the email link and took the time to read my words.  It is NOT so thrilling when a reader unsubscribes…

I admit that my blog has a lot of touchie-feelie stuff going on. My blog is certainly personal and the words I write flow directly from my heart.  In fact, each time I sit down to write I say abundant prayers and meditations that my words will reach others in the way I hope they will and that those that read my words will somehow benefit from them.  So anytime someone takes the time to unsubscribe, umm, well, it makes my psyche (ego) crumble like a house made of straw.  Especially when the person that unsubscribes isn’t someone you figured ever would.

A kindred spirit I met at the Benjamin Moore store

About a year ago I was in a Benjamin Moore store working on colors for a client.  A woman was in there at the same time trying to decide on a new color for her home office. Of course, I had to offer my two cents opinion.  Excited to get my thoughts, she ran outside to get a panel of her window treatments to show me so that I could give her a better opinion.  One thing led to another and we began to talk about my blog.  She told me she was a writer herself and that her new blog was coming out soon.  We talked for a good 30 minutes and we both left agreeing to read each other’s blogs and to even try and get together the next time I was planning to be in Charlotte.  We felt there was no coincidence that we met each other and laughed about being kindred spirits.  So, I subscribed to her new blog when I was invited to and she subscribed to mine.  Ever since, we have been reading each other’s posts.  After A Better Home came out, I saw on my analytics that she read the post.  But, later that day I saw that she unsubscribed to my blog.  What happened to being kindred spirits?!?  My ego was crushed and truly, a mere puff of wind could have knocked me down.  Yep, my home felt made of straw.  Days later I realized it was a matter of point of view.

Interesting point of view, I have this point of view

I spent days dwelling on this loss I felt when she unsubscribed to my blog.  I think it was particularly crushing to my psyche (ego) because just in the last few months I have been practicing willingness as I expressed in my post, Willingness.  For sure my posts have been more about what lays on my heart.  I’ve been putting myself out there in a way that I hoped would touch others and encourage them to be more themselves.  At the same time, I began speaking more about my spiritual side.  With my spirituality being more inclusive of all creeds than exclusive to a specific creed, maybe I pushed her away.  She writes a Christian blog so did I offend her? Regardless of why she unsubscribed I soon realized I needed to get over the hurt that I had magnified in my head.  This hurt had made me feel insecure in who I was and what I was exposing about myself.  Worse, I took the quantum leap of assuming because she unsubscribed that meant I was a failure.   So I practiced a healing exercise my dear friend and colleague, Jannette Semenic taught me to do.  I call it the “Interesting point of view” game because each time I do it by the end of the exercise I am smiling and laughing at the change that comes over me.  I hope you’ll try it yourself whenever you feel ready to crumble or feel your house is made of straw.  Here’s how to do it:

  • Know the belief you want to use in the exercise.  For example, mine would be the belief that I am a failure as a writer because someone unsubscribed to my blog.
  • Out loud say these words:  “Interesting point of view, I have this point of view that ___________________________.” (Insert in the blank your personal belief.)
  • Repeat these same words again.
  • Repeat these same words again for the third time.

What happens to you when you do this?  Do you begin to see that whatever the belief is that you have about yourself is really nothing more than your own point of view and that you have CHOSEN to have that point of view?  Can you feel a shift in your belief about yourself?

Make a habit of correcting your point of view when needed

Our point of view on anything and everything is our own choice.  My hope is that in sharing this story of myself with you that you will look inside yourself and see if and where you have any parts of your “being” home that need fortifying and if your point of view needs correcting.  If so, I think that means you’re human.  I also hope that in sharing this healing exercise with you, you have a new tool to use whenever you do need strengthening.  Please let me know if you try this and of course, if it works.  After all, we are all on this road of life together and we need to lend each other a helping hand whenever we can to make our world a better home to live in.

To living in perfect harmony…

Clutter In Your Space Clutters Your Mind

Waterfall in autumn

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

As an Interior Decorator, I have been privy to many homes and offices.  I love what I do for many reasons.  An obvious reason is that I love to create beauty. I often say I have the best job in the world as I am always creating what I call new dollhouses.  But, another reason is that I love anything to do with psychology and absolutely, positively, undeniably I believe that a person’s most private space is a window to their psyche.  So, working in a client’s most private space gives me a glimpse into who they are.  It is utterly fascinating.

What I have discovered through the years is that often the homes I have worked in mirror my life and what I am experiencing at that given time.  In other words, they seem to become an outward manifestation of my inner self.  I know this might sound strange to some of you reading this but, I believe it to be true.  I believe that everything on the physical/material plane is a manifestation of the inner workings of our lives and becomes symbolic of what is going on both on a spiritual and emotional level.


Living in clutter

No wonder for a few years I seemed to be drawn to homes that personified the word “cluttered”.  My life at the time was one great BIG cluttered mess due to some ridiculous “trauma-drama”.  Seriously.

Path of life in autumn

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

A few homes I began to work in had to go through months of third party “decluttering” before we could even begin the project I designed.  It was as if these homes outwardly got decluttered while I set about inwardly decluttering my own life.  I call this a direct mirror I went looking for to reflect my inner self and the struggles I was dealing with at the time.

I am happy to report that the work I did on my “inner” home was successful.   It has taken way too much Blood, Sweat and Tears but hallelujah, I am clutter free!  (Rediscovering Nature was my tonic as I write in my post, Let Nature Restoreth Your Soul (And Your Home).)

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the homes I worked in.  Once my projects were completed, the owners went back to their old habits and the clutter returned.  I believe the reason is simple – clutter can be an indication of underlying issues.  It’s that “mirror” thing again – your exterior space mirrors your inner space.

Clutter in your space really does clutter your mind.  Or more importantly,  clutter in your mind clutters your space.

Where there is clutter, there is work to be done for sure – both figuratively and literally.

Reasons for clutter

I think the reasons why people have clutter in their homes are usually for one of the following:

  • Lack of proper storage space
  • Life changes such as a move, a new baby or anything that throws life out of whack
  • Poor time/life management skills
  • Psychological issues such as depression, family dysfunction, low self-esteem, poor personal boundaries and even attention deficit disorder

I call the first three of these reasons “temporary clutter”.  In other words, all three are easy to fix with a little effort and determination.  Still, clutter from any of these sources is clutter and it can be unsettling to your mind.  My recommendation to you if your homespace is cluttered for any of these reasons is to find simple solutions for them.  Your stress will decrease and your feel good vibes will increase!  I guarantee it.

Now, the fourth reason – that’s a tough one.  It takes a lot of work to rid your homespace of clutter if there are psychological components to it.  Mind you, I am not talking about the extreme of hoarding here.  That’s a whole other ball of wax.  I am talking about routine clutter that detracts and distracts from your sanctuary – the place you call HOME.

Here is a list of some of the spaces in your home where clutter accumulates and what the clutter there might symbolize:

Kitchen – Difficulty with emotional nourishment for yourself or others

Main Living Space – Feelings of isolation

Hallways – Obstacles in your life

Bedroom – Distancing from partner and/or intimacy with others

Bathroom – Low self-esteem

Closets – Hidden Issues

Basement – Ignored Issues

Garage – Confused about direction in your life

Exterior and yard – Low self-worth and a sense of giving up

Anyone find the symbolism of clutter in these spaces thought provoking?  I certainly do.  I think every homespace is worthy of reflecting the best of those that dwell within it.  And,  this means that if  spaces within your home suffer from clutter, look inside (both your inner self and your home) and get to work.  Honor yourself.  You are worth it.  Those that live with you are worth it.  Your homespace is worth it.


Your home is your sanctuary

Absolute calm

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Yep, your home is your sanctuary.

It is where you deserve to have peace and comfort away from the outside world.  It is meant to be your safe haven and should calm your mind.

Clutter in your space clutters your mind.  Clutter in your mind clutters your space.

Free every space that is part of you and your HOME from the mess that clutter creates.

HOME is also where the heart is.  Fill your heart with love and your home(s) will reflect it – both your inner home and the one you use for shelter from the outside world.  Now, that’s another thing I can guarantee!

To loving life…