My house is a mess. No, really…my house is a MESS. You know those reality TV shows where they bring in people to clean? My house is ALMOST that bad. Ok, ok…some rooms are that bad. The rest is just close.
What I can’t figure out is exactly why. I mean, I know I have to actually DO something for the stuff to get sorted out. Cleaning the bathrooms and the floors – and vacuuming all take work. Work I know how to and am perfectly capable of performing. So why don’t I?
Pat and I have discussed the fact that ENFPs like nurturing spaces; however, the work to create those nurturing spaces is an introverted activity and, therefore, difficult for us to start. If we start, we are too easily distracted by something that is more in line with our extroverted nature. I remember calling a friend to do something with me. She responded “I can’t, I have to clean my house.” Now, I know her house was spotless compared to mine. And I know why. The words, “I can’t, I have to clean” are simply not in my vocabulary in that order. After a morning where a group of us gathered in my home for brunch, I heard this same friend tell someone else that she had “wasted her whole morning.” That statement was an eye-opener for me. If anything, the cleaning that I did after they left was the time-waster for me. The gathering is the important part. The relationship building. The people. I am virtually physically incapable of staying home and doing anything if the most remote possibility exists that something, somewhere else might help make, build or strengthen a relationship. I am even going tomorrow to help a friend clean. Doesn’t that beat all? I am embarrassed by my home and I’m going to help her.
I am not lazy. I will work my heart and body as hard as they can go for something that I see as worthwhile. People are worthwhile. Just can’t get there with cleaning house.
I say all this to say…Cleaning house isn’t my trouble. (okay, not ALL my trouble.) I was doing some thinking tonight as I was getting dinner ready and going over the list in my head of what needs to be done to get my house in order. What I have realized is: I can’t clean my house because I can’t clean my life. Not the way it is…I have to rearrange it. Some of that has been done for me by my inaction.
I LOVE to entertain. I haven’t had anyone in my house in MONTHS because I am embarrassed. Robin is coming this weekend and while I’m thrilled, I’m also a little sad. I keep thinking that the next time she comes is the time that I will have done the work to provide her a nice, peaceful place to stay. And the next time comes and I’m busy shoving boxes out of the way so we can get to the bed. I have been thinking and talking about cleaning for a long while. I am trying to tackle it a little at a time. Problem is, by the time I tackle the next little bit, the first has reverted. It seems that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t keep up. But I keep trying.
Anyhow…as I stood in my kitchen tonight looking around at all the stuff; I realized something. I have all the stuff to entertain except the people. When my house was new, before it had a chance to get really dirty and when money wasn’t an issue – I threw parties. My house was full. When I stopped throwing the parties, my house emptied. And I wasn’t invited to theirs. Perhaps I have too much stuff.
It made me realize how easily I let people into my house. Into my life. That used to be a source of pride for me. Now it is simply a source of pain. They come in and leave clutter and I don’t have the strength to sort it out. So I leave it and go find more people to bring in their stuff and drop it off. And as they do, I develop more and more stuff of my own. Until my house, my heart and my mind are all stacked with stuff…I am a “virtual stuff hoarder” If you could see into my mind, you’d see all those stacks of stuff piled everywhere. Some falling down so that you have to walk on stuff to get over them into the next room. Where you just find more stuff.
So as I stood in my kitchen and looked around, I saw all the dishes. All the plates and bowls and silverware. I have enough to feed an army-or at least one shift at a small restaurant. I have all this stuff and I can’t do what I want to do with the people I like because the stuff makes too much mess. I have allowed the things in my life to overshadow the people. It is time for some difficult decisions. It is time to get some of it OUT. Of my house – and of my life.
I can live in a house with enough stuff to entertain all my friends and never have anyone over because it isn’t a fit place to be. Or, I can get rid of some of the clutter so that I can allow in the people and stuff who and which are vital to my life. What do I need? Whom do I need?
I spoke about rearranging my life. My obsession with things has kind of already done that for me. People I thought were friends brought in the clutter and then left when I couldn’t handle it all.
It has been suggested that, by “attacking” the piles of clutter, I will also be facing my demons. My past. My hidden fears. The feelings I am not allowed or am afraid to feel.
Why can’t I start? It’s such a simple metaphor…cleaning house as a metaphor for cleaning my life. There is so much more involved. What to keep? What to give away? What to throw away? What to store? What happens when it comes back?
It comes down to doing the work. I wrote the other day about the preparation in life. I spend so much time preparing that I haven’t the time to DO. I do all the research. I have all the right tools. I make list after list…and there always seems to be another book to read, another gadget I need or, and this is the big one, something or someone who is simply more important. And then the mess gets bigger and bigger until it is so overwhelming that I just sit and look at it. Not sure even where to begin. And after you wait so long, your tools stop working. Like the vacuum. THEN, you have to stop any forward momentum to fix them!
And so is my life. And when I started writing, the stuff started coming out…sort of waterfall like. And it’s been too much. It is overwhelming and I just have to sit back and look. And wait for tomorrow. I wonder when tomorrow will arrive? After all, I have cleaning and rearranging to get done!