Other parts of the house are the same. I find the clothes rods in my closet crammed with clothes that are ‘perfectly good’. I often forget to question, why, if they are perfectly good, I’m not wearing them! The kids’ toys are the same. Over the months we seem to accumulate more and more, and before long there are toys at the back of the cupboard we’ve forgotten all about.
Although no visitor would notice if these ‘closet’ things were cleaned out, it makes me feel completely different, better, and more settled, when they are. One of the things an observant visitor would notice is that my windows could use a cleaning. I need to call my friends, Ed and Marie, who have done this job for us for close to thirty years. When we moved to the acreage, the back of the house was three stories high including the basement. We quickly decided this would be one place we would splurge on outside help.
As I’ve been busily working at my computer these past weeks, I’ve found myself thinking it’s time to get at it. To tackle the Fall house clean. I don’t know exactly what causes me to have an appetite for it at this particular time of year. It could be that Halloween feels like a messy holiday, and with the exception of the reflectful Remembrance Day, the Christmas season is known to bring its own share of messiness too. Knowing this, it’s possible I just have a hankering to get my house in order.
The truth is, I don’t have time for a true Fall house clean right now. And yet, another kind of house cleaning is also calling my name. This one, I have no excuse to ignore. It doesn’t take physical energy; it doesn’t really take extra time. It can be done while driving or snacking or walking or knitting. This house cleaning is the one where I open the doors and look into all the rooms of my inner self. Each of us has many rooms inside ourselves. Each of these rooms hold different parts of our complete selves. Some we visit frequently. These are our comfortable rooms. We are very familiar with the person living here. Some of these rooms are so put- together, we know we can welcome others into them without a care.
One of these rooms would be the one where I find my ‘family self’. In this room, I like the self I find. I know just where things fit in this room. Everyone is welcome here. This inner room aligns with my values so well, I don’t have to worry about quickly shuffling things around if someone comes to this door.
My professional-self room is also in great order. Everything is in its place, and everything has a place. My filing system is in order, and I know my deadlines. My projects are clearly labeled. This is a part of my inner world I am proud of. In this room I am well-dressed, professional, and welcoming. My confidence is high here.
But there are other inner rooms in this mansion that makes up my whole self. I open the doors to these rooms easily, but not often. One of these would be my adventuresome room. As I write this, I find myself exploring this room and I recognize I’ve been visiting this room more and more in the past few years. I’ve been fortunate to have had adventures come my way, and more fortunate to have said yes to them.
I also have a room that houses my outrageous self. This room has a door that sometimes sticks. Yet when I manage to swing it open and fully step inside, I find it filled with musical instruments, a dance floor, and art from my travels. This room has huge windows opening to the wide outdoors, inviting me to a place where I can run and bike and hike. Ben and Andy love this room. In this room, Ben and I can swim, even at the end of October. Tucked in the back of the closet here, I not only have my ‘play’ clothes, but I have glamorous clothing; clothing I almost don’t think I can pull off wearing, and yet here it is.
I must steel myself to open the door to a few of the rooms of my inner self. My inner room of bravery holds promise for me, and yet it’s kind of a double-edged sword. I know being brave will bring me unknown priceless treasures. At the same time, I must be brave just to enter this room.
There is one other small room I haven’t really considered exploring yet, but I think it is time. This is my ok-self room. It’s the room where I let go of other people’s expectations of me, and make the decision it is fine to be ok with myself, just how I am. It’s possible this one is a little hidden room at the back of my brave room.
I enjoy this kind of Fall house cleaning; the kind where I wander through my inner house and look with fresh eyes at what is there. I can see what things I’d be better off without. I can identify which things have passed their ‘expiry date’ and no longer serve me well. I can see some spots where there is room to add something new. The windows here too, need a good cleaning so I can clearly see what is possible when I access all parts of myself.
I’m giving myself permission to wait a few weeks to tackle the physical part of my Fall house cleaning. But I’m committed to spending time cleaning out that other house of mine – the inner one. The one with some rooms filled with threadbare furniture, overused and far too comfortable. And with other rooms containing unused treasure and invaluable opportunities.
My plan is to eventually open up my whole house and let all parts of it gleam and shine.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What inner room holds treasure for me?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn about some wonderfully practical house cleaning tools.
Appetite, longing , desire ,hankering