Is your Best Stuff Tucked in the Closet?
I bought a new throw.
You know…those small, decorative blankets that you “throw” casually on a sofa or bed that really serves no other purpose, but to look pretty.
It’s gorgeous. Red cashmere trimmed with feathers.
With a cat and a Siberian husky in the house, who leave trails of fur behind them, I have no business owning this throw. If I come to my senses, it may even become merchandise in my shop.
We all own items that are very special to us. Some items are so special that you only pull them out once a year, if ever. It is the ultimate irony actually.
On a day to day basis, we surround ourselves with things that are necessary, practical and hopefully at least, likeable. But, the items we love the most, we tuck away and rarely enjoy, in our efforts to preserve them.
Perhaps it is fine china, a special vase or a fancy shirt; items that you could surely use and enjoy more, if you dared waste them on such non-occasions as your regular life.
With the work I do, I have a deep awareness of the relationship we have with our belongings and how that symbolizes our life choices. But, nothing brings more awareness than having my own personal experiences.
Many years ago, when I was married to a different husband and had a different cat, I bought a dark green velvet comforter cover, or “duvet.” With a light haired cat, that enjoyed sleeping on the bed, it was not the most practical choice. But, I really liked it. I liked it so much that I didn’t want it to get covered with cat hair, so I decided not to use it. My cat was elderly, so my logic was that I would wait until he passed, and then I would use the new duvet. Many months passed, maybe even years; the duvet sat in my closet untouched. Many variables changed in my life, including a divorce, and yet the cat, much to my joy, persevered.
Whenever clients go through a life change, I encourage them to revamp their space as a current reflection of who they are. Following my own advice, my bedroom needed a make-over.
I found myself face to face with the “waiting for the cat to die duvet.”
What was I waiting for? I mean, I thought I knew what I was waiting for. It was a practical issue.
Or was it?
Perhaps what I was really postponing was the opportunity to surround myself with things that were important to me, things that brought me comfort, joy or maybe even a little luxury.
What else was I postponing in my life?
I reflected back on my college years to a major decision in my life. I desired to pursue theatre, but it was not something that my father supported. In my effort to be the cooperative child, I seriously considered putting my soul choice aside for something more parentally acceptable. I contemplated waiting to pursue my life plan until much later…like when my dad died.
Ok, there is a theme here.
I mean, really, how many people and pets need to die before I just express who I am to my fullest capacity?
The good news was that I decided to pursue theatre anyway (and my dad is still quite healthy!). But, there I was looking at the duvet, which was way less of a life changing event than my entire career, contemplating my options. I thought, to hell with it. I started using the duvet and enjoyed every minute of that green velvet.
That was a good decision because if memory serves, my cat lived another two years after that. That would have been a long time to have a mediocre comforter, when something I really wanted was just sitting in storage.
But, that’s what we do.
We store away the “things” that are most important to us. Often waiting for a more convenient, better or special time to bring them out and honor them.
As a result, we often live our day to day lives surrounded by mediocrity, when we could choose excellence; just getting by, rather than doing something we are passionate about.
We don’t want the special thing to break or get dirty.
We don’t want to put ourselves out there and do the psychological or emotional equivalent of “breaking or getting dirty.”
So we wait for a better time, a better day, a special occasion or never; because often life just takes over and we never get to enjoy what we were waiting to enjoy.
I can’t tell you how many estate sales I have been to where the finest objects, in their most pristine form, are for sale. The family shares stories about the importance of these objects and maybe even prices them accordingly. But, the person passed and the objects live on to be moved along to the next owner. Will they dare to be used, or will they encounter the same fate?
I have learned that no matter the best laid plans, your life can change in an instant. And when it does, you realize the importance of enjoying every day and not just special occasions. I realized through my own transitions that I was not really using and enjoying some of my most cherished objects.
I started burning more of my candles, no longer afraid of them coming to an end.
I pulled out my fancy glasses and they became my everyday dishes.
I began to surround myself daily with all the things that I thought were just too special to waste.
To waste? What was I wasting them on?
Me, I guess.
Many of us have been taught to focus our energy on what will be used, observed and enjoyed by others. We do not feel worthy or important enough to indulge ourselves. Or maybe it just seems impractical or wasteful.
But, by honoring yourself, you harness your deepest ability to serve others. Through the process of surrounding yourself with the things that are special, you feel your basic needs met, which makes you more prepared to help others. Essentially taking care of yourself, first, is the most responsible thing you can do.
Is all of that accomplished by using the fine china every day, or wearing the fancy shirt around the house? Kind of.
By honoring your day to day self, more, you are consciously saying that every day is special and that you are special every day. This doesn’t have to be through material objects, of course, but they can be a tool.
Doing that can have a profound effect on your self-esteem; which leads to making bigger, bolder decisions for your life, and no longer prolonging those decisions.
So, all this reflection because of a throw…
I guess I need to keep it after all. I don’t need to wait for anyone to die.