"Are you getting settled?" That's the question I am asked most frequently these days, and the answer is, "Yes, but no."
The answer is "yes," when I interpret the question to mean, "Are you happy to have made the move from Madison to St Paul?" "Do you feel like you made the right decision to move back to where you raised your family and where your grandkids and your 90 year old father live?" I answer a resounding "yes," to those questions.
However, the answer is just as resounding when the question refers to unpacking boxes and finding the right spot for all our stuff and putting the house together as if we have lived here a long time. "NO," I answer without hesitation, but, I must admit, with a weary tone.
We were on our way to being settled. The bookshelves in my garret-office on the upper half story are all unloaded and arranged alphabetically, and my desk is in position. My closet is organized and one bedroom looks serene and inviting---that is, when the plastic curtain is removed at night after the painters have gone home.
You see, right now we are sharing our home with a great crew of painters, and thanks to my decision to have all the woodwork on the first floor of this 1920's house painted, we are living in what feels like an isolation ward. I won't go into the involved process, which involves spraying rather than brushing on the primer and other needed coats, but suffice it to say, I am not settled.
The plan had been for this to be done before we moved in, but life intervened for our painter, and the plan needed to be revised. I absolutely understood and after all, I am practiced in thinking Big Picture. At some point the painting will be done, and I will be able to fix a good home cooked meal again and I won't get up in the middle of the night and trip on the plastic sheeting on the floor.
At some point there will be no more boxes in the bathtub http://clearingthespace.blogspot.com/2014/01/january-reflection-getting-being.html and I can even take a bath. What a concept! However, allow me to whine. I am a tired of taking the long view and am eager to luxuriate in being settled.
Words of Wisdom
I need a pep talk.
Here's Melody Beattie http://melodybeattie.com in Journey to the Heart, Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul to the rescue:
Whatever you're working on, whatever you're in the midst of doesn't need to be finished, in perfect order, with all the loose ends in place for you to be happy.
For too many years, we worried and fretted, denying ourselves happiness until we could see the whole picture, learn the entire lesson, cross every t and dot each i. That meant we spent a lot of stressful time waiting for that one moment when the project was complete.
Enjoy all the stages of the process you're in. The first moments when the germ of the idea finds you. The time before you begin, when the seed lies dormant in the ground, getting ready to grow. The beginning, and all the days throughout the middle. Those bleak days, when it looks like you're stuck and won't break through. Those exciting days, when the project, the lesson, the life you're building takes shape and form.
Be happy now. Enjoy the creative process--the process of creating your life, yourself, and the project you're working on--today. Don't wait for those finishing moments to take pleasure in your work and your life. Find joy all along the way. (p. 37)
I need to remember that three months ago we didn't own this house in St Paul; one month ago we had not sold our Madison house and we were in the thick of packing to move into this house; and just 10 days ago--we were on the eve on the movers coming to move us here. No longer do I wonder when our house will sell nor do I daydream about where we will settle in St Paul.
In a week, a month, our life in this home could, most likely will, look quite different from the way it looks now. Each day brings progress towards the look we have envisioned for this house, and I feel so fortunate to have these excellent craftspeople working to make that happen
And in the meantime I feel more and more settled into a life here--being with friends and family and reacquainting myself with favorites from the past and discovering the new. I'm not unpacking boxes, but I am writing and reading and meditating. All that is cause for great joy. Now.
What unfinished project seems to be preventing you from feeling joy today, right now? What can you do to live with joy now. I invite you to share your recipe for joy even as your current life feels unsettled.