From the Inside Out

From the Inside Out

You are an unquenchable flame. There is nothing you can do to yourself that will eradicate you from the Universal fabric. … Be happy with yourself. The joy you experience provides an indestructible armor against any misfortune. Your voice was meant to be a lullaby giving comfort to the weary and security to the young. You were meant to be the giver and the gift. Do not attempt to take that from yourself. It cannot be done any more than you can take the stars from the heavens. You have your place in the Universe. Accept it with grace and good humor.  Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Economical Rates of Progress - August, 2010)

What bright, cheerful thread will you weave into the fabric of life today?

All too often in life we forget to be happy. It’s easy to overlook our personal satisfaction in a world that seems ever more vitriolic, chaotic, and demanding. This week in the midst of washing windows I experienced self-satisfaction serving as a powerful motivator.

The awareness came as I was about to ‘throw in the towel’ on a project that I’d actually looked forward to doing: washing the outside of the windows my home that were splattered with residue from recent stucco work. I had the tools, plenty of time with no other pressing demands, and I’d save some money. Getting an early start, I gathered my tools, set myself up, and climbed the ladder for the first window.

Before it was complete, I began to question my DIY decision. The task was more challenging than I remembered (it’s been years since I washed the outside of windows and I’d not done them in this home). I felt a bit uneasy on the ladder, even though it was quite solidly placed. The woe is me line “I’ll never be able to do this” was coursing through my body, mind and spirit. I felt inadequate, frustrated, and ready to stop to call the local window washer.

I did stop. I took a breath. I asked myself what I wanted. The answer surprised me. Yes, I wanted clean windows. And, I wanted the satisfaction of doing the job myself. I took another breath to look beyond my feeling of failure.

In recognizing that I wanted more than clean windows and being clear that ‘more’ was the satisfaction of experiencing me doing the work, my energy shifted. I understood in a delightful new way just how motivating being satisfied with ourselves, our choices, and our actions can be. I knew too that the topic for this week’s post had revealed itself.

As I breathed new life and lightness into the project, I gave myself permission to take as long as needed to do the job well and with ease. I let go of ‘getting it done today’ and embraced not knowing how the energy and time would flow to completion. I moved from one window to the next and within a couple hours 12 of 14 were spic and span. After a bite of lunch, a rest, and a short walk with Luke, I tackled blinds and windows inside which I’d planned to do much later.

By the mid-afternoon of the second day, I’d completed the remaining two outside windows on the ground level, along with three small upstairs windows (in and out). The energy flow then carried me to other projects on my list: installing a fan in the office window, cutting insulation for several windows, and patching a water-damaged wall. 

I was reminded that this is the flow we create with clarity, awareness, and intention. I’d added a bright, cheerful thread into the fabric that is life.

Of course, there have been times when I did choose to quit. I’ve learned there is rarely, if ever, a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decision. Rather there is an outcome and what we learn (or not) from the experience. Deciding to engage someone to do the work might have yielded an insight of equal value (and, for sure, some unused muscles that are a bit sore would be silent today).

But, had I taken that road, I would have missed the joy and satisfaction of looking out this morning knowing that I’d accomplished the ‘clean window’ task. More importantly, I would have missed adding the question ‘what will cultivate my personal satisfaction in this event?’ to how I evaluate choices in life.

What about you, what will bring you a sense of personal satisfaction today? What bright, cheerful thread will you weave into the fabric of life today?

The vast San Luis Valley and San Juan Mountains Greet Us in Early Morning.

The vast San Luis Valley and San Juan Mountains Greet Us in Early Morning.