My Clean House

When something falls or breaks, we see the pieces scattered about and we think of the time and effort it’s going to take to pick it up and put the pieces back together, and we feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and annoyed. Oftentimes we’d rather just leave it there where it is and move on as if we didn’t see it and it didn’t exist to us… sometimes we actually do.

And when we do that, we may feel that we’ve escaped something. That we’ve avoided the responsibility and madness that cleaning a mess involves. Whether it’s a small piece of litter that we’ve allowed ourselves to move past as if we “didn’t realized” we dropped it or a large vase of shattered pieces that would simply be impossible to try cleaning up, let alone fixing, we don’t want any part of it and feel that we’ve lucked out when we’re able to get away with not addressing it. Many of us have actually convinced ourselves to feel like we’ve had a pretty mess-free life in that case, because we haven’t experienced much of the cleaning process, and we might have even forgotten for the time being that many of those messes exist.

But the thing is, they’re still there… and they’ve accumulated.

And despite the successful effort you’ve put into keeping people at a distance from the majority of your household and past paths traveled, you’re likely going to eventually meet someone who you’d like to share your life with, which means all of your possessions, your household, and yes- your past. At that point, you’re going to begin the process of making up for all of the effort in cleaning that you’ve evaded in the past by now having to put that effort into an exhausting and defeating attempt to constantly cover those things up. You’re going to spend so much time making sure that person doesn’t wonder into the wrong hallway and accidentally uncover something you’ve kept hidden and never wanted them to see, that you’re going to miss out on some good, quality time of actually enjoying the time with that person that you’ve been blessed with.

And it will be messy.

Not only will you have to address those past messes that you’ve forgotten, but you’ll be less capable of doing so in a productive way because they’ve lingered, molded, and become sticky over time. And now you’ve brought someone you love into it and forced them to have to be a part of the cleanup crew. They may come to resent you for it and it may not work out, in which case you’re left with past messes and a new one to clean up. Or they may be more than happy and understanding about it, but not without at least some mess coming from the fact that it’s affecting what was meant to be your time to enjoy together, which only adds to the pile to clean up. Either way, the mess is there. It does exist. And it will eventually touch parts of your life that you never wanted or expected it to.

But fortunately you have a choice, and you can avoid a stick situation later.

That’s right! You can slap on those cleaning gloves, grab that broom, get on your hands and knees, and pick up those pieces right then and there when that vase shatters or when that litter drops. Before you move forward, before you forget it even exists, you stop right there when it happens, and you invest the time to address it before it becomes a lost something just waiting to resurface at the worst possible timing. I mean, you don’t want something unrecognizable and sticky showing up right as you’re getting cozy with your guest, and not even having a clue as to what it is or where it came from because you did such a good job of pretending you didn’t see it before and allowing it to linger and brew all this time, do you?

I don’t think anyone wants that. No, that’s gross.

But what you’ll find is that it’s easy to do as you go along. You’ll feel better after picking up that dropped trash… maybe it wouldn’t have been the hugest deal to leave behind, but it certainly felt good to stop and just pick it up to know that there’s one less thing you’ll have to ever worry about later- it’s gone and won’t add to any future mess. And as you sit with your vase with the pieces scattered in front of you, there will be a variety of different emotions and experiences involved, sometimes all at once, and sometimes with different vases. You’ll notice pieces of the vase that you hadn’t noticed before that were either so beautiful or so obviously weak that you’ll realize it was only time before this vase fell apart. You’ll also realize that it may even be worthy and capable of salvaging when you thought it was a lost cause, or maybe when you sat down to fix it you realized it’s not able to be fixed and you actually don’t even care to anymore. In those cases, you’ll either learn to build something new- a mosaic- and appreciate the process, developing a sense of accomplishment and gratification when it’s finished and leaving it on display proudly, rather than attempting to hide it and leaving dangerous pieces laying about for those who dare to walk through your home… or you’ll learn to let it go, to truly let it go. You’ll see that it’s easy, or you’ll find that you need some time to cope and mourn the loss of a vase you loved, appreciated, and expected to always have as a part of your home… but you’ll ultimately be able to move on from it more strongly because you did take that time to clean it up and say goodbye. You may notice it’s absence from time-to-time, but the mess will no longer be there to stare you in the face and hurt you.

I’ve allowed messes to accumulate in my life. I used to be one of those people who felt like ignoring it, quickly sweeping it under the rug, and hiding it was not only easiest, but it was best- for myself and for all else. So I know what it’s like to face an accumulation of messes- it’s not fun, and it’s not easy! But it is inevitable. And I feel blessed to have become aware of this so that I could address them with my full attention and take the time to clean house. It was easy at times and it was difficult at others. There were many times when I would come across one of the stickier of the messes and have that “easy route” mindset once again, and be tempted to move past it with a blind eye. But fortunately, I’ve developed strength over time to be able to muster the motivation each time to force myself to sit, and pick that junk up. And I’m always so glad that I did.

I can now move forward along my path much more genuinely joyfully. There’s a sense of lightness and happiness that comes with knowing that there are no messes to worry about, nothing to hold me back, and that anyone I come across along my path is more than welcomed into my home! There’s more of an excitement for what’s to come than an anxiety or fear. No need to keep anyone I meet shut out for a bit while I try to cover up messes and ensure nothing’s peeking through before they come in. Just easy, joyful, and welcoming. Oh, and those refurbished vases on display? People honestly don’t ask as often as I’d expected, but when they do, I’m proud! And they’re impressed. And it’s not even remotely as embarrassing to have some vases that aren’t bright and shiny new on display as I’d mistakenly thought it would be in the past. In fact, it adds a really beautiful and unexpected character to my home that I appreciate, and so do those who love me.

Are there messes of the past that I come across every now and then? Sure! Yeah, absolutely. I did my best to get them all, but some have been hidden so deep in the cracks that they pop up into view when I least expect it. At those times, I simply take a moment, say hello to my old friend, and then I introduce it to my little friendthe mop. ;) It’s not nearly as overwhelming when it’s one or two at a random time rather than a whole seemingly never ending heap dumping on my joy all at once.I love my home. It’s beautiful. It’s full of character. And it’s me. All are welcomed inside, but not because it’s perfect… ohhhh no, far far from it! My home is nowhere near perfect and despite what those who are arriving after the big initial cleaning spree might think, or who have only seen the “clean” home I showed before and see my clean home now may think, it was not easy to acquire. I was not born a clean or perfect person; I had plenty of messes under my rugs. I simply learned from the heaviness of living with them and chose to do something about it. That, more than anything, is what I’m most proud of about my home… not the way that it looks, but the love and care that is behind why it is the way that it is now.Cleaning is never the most fun. But it can be more fulfilling than we anticipate if we give it a chance! 2015 is just around the corner… maybe we can all take this opportunity to make it the best year yet but setting ourselves up with a truly clean and authentically beautiful home to live it out of!
(…I hope by now we all realize we’re not actually talking about literally cleaning a home. You’re totally most welcome to do that as well, but we’re talking internally here, in the heart. Let’s lift those heavy weights off of it, shall we? :) )Thank you for being the wonderful YOU that you are in this world! You add a unique and beautiful light that is all your own, and for that, I’m grateful. Live in Love, friends! ❤

When Hugs Fly

I live in a really beautiful place. I live in St. Petersburg, Florida and my apartment complex sits directly on the water in a gorgeous area of town full of beautiful homes, friendly people, and beautiful scenery and weather that I’m able to enjoy on the docks, in the many hammocks scattered throughout the property, by the various cookout areas with friends, on our balconies and porches, or around one of our two pool areas offered. We’re quite spoiled here, I won’t deny that one. 🙂

But okay… the truth is that as much as I’d love to continue “humble bragging” about where I live, unfortunately this isn’t exactly about the amazingness that it my beloved home (but hey, I could talk about that all day long, so if you want some more of it, get at me ;) ). This about something more significant that I came to realize in the midst of enjoying this surrounding beauty.

There have been several times that while I was out enjoying the scenery, playing the cloud shapes game with myself, I would see a plane fly right through my carebear army or break up the smooch action happening between the ninja turtle and the hair. And as I began to take notice of these planes flying overhead, I couldn’t help but think about the individuals on that plane… the fact that it’s filled with anywhere from a few people to many, and each of those people has a different reason for being on that plane.

  • Some are ecstatic because they’re on their way to somewhere exciting, or returning home to people they love, while some are despaired because they’re traveling to somewhere unwanted for a reason unwanted, or leaving a place that they never wanted to depart.
  • There are also the flight attendants who are enjoying their job tremendously and are more than happy to be on that plane caring for the passengers, and there are those who have had long hours and rough flights and are physically, mentally, and/or emotionally exhausted and couldn’t be looking forward to landing more.
  • Then there are the pilots- the men and women who have worked so hard to master their passion for flying and traveling, and have realized their dreams enough to be responsible for safely transporting these few or many human beings to their either wanted or unwanted destinations. They, too, are either delighted to be doing what they love, or maybe they’re tired and missing their families, flying home just as fast as they can.

Kind of cool to think about, isn’t it? I mean, each and every person has very different reasons for being on that plane and is living a very different life from the rest, yet they all chose to travel on the very same plane, on the very same day, to the very same destination. They each have their very own story and when they depart, they will all return to that story, continuing their own lives, living in extremely different ways, pursuing different dreams, purposes, and paths in life… but not without influencing one another first. Because for the time being, they are experiencing connectedness in a common flight.

It’s mind-blowing to consider how many people there are in this world, the ways in which so many of us cross paths at different points in our journeys, and the influence we have on one another in large and small ways that we may not even be aware of. Maybe that flight attendant who was cheerful and friendly was able to provoke a smile and a generally happier feeling for someone who was feeling down or anxious. That more positive demeanor will be carried over toward that passenger’s friends and family, who are inevitably influenced by it themselves and continue to touch the people they interact with more positivity, which causes a ripple effect of seemingly simple, yet oh-so significant, happiness. And what’s more, maybe that passenger brought a twinge of happiness to their cab driver, who may have been having a rough day himself and was pleasantly surprised by the kindness of that stranger, simply because she addressed him by name and with a smile. Maybe his brief time with that person brightened his day just a little bit… just enough to remind him that there are still kind people in the world, and he’d like to do his part in being one of them. That would likely touch more of the people in his cab fares, and not only bring a brief moment of unexpected kindness to those people, continuing the ripple effect, but maybe they even feel inclined to tip him a bit more in his fares out of gratitude, which he would inevitably be grateful for.

Do you see what an impact we can have on so many others, and the world as a result, simply by the way in which we go about our interactions? This goes both ways with positivity and negativity because what we send out is what will grow, and it doesn’t only apply to the people closest to us, it applies to everyone- even those people who we may not even think “matter”. They most definitely matter to us, as we do to them, because we each play a role in some way, shape, or form with the people we connect with. We really are in this life together, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

There are just so many different ways in which we interact with and influence one another, and as I watch these planes passing by, I can’t help but feel the wonder and awe of it all. Making a difference in this world is possible, we just have to stop and consider what we’re sending out to everything around us. We may not be able to personally interact with all of the billions of people on the earth, but we certainly can send positivity and love to them in significant ways just by being loving and kind in all that we do.

So, I do my part when these planes pass by! I take a moment to think about all of the different people and their different lives up there in that rocketship magic vessel whizzing by and I say a pray of gratitude for each and every one of them. And then I send up all of the good vibes I can muster for them to soak up as they endure their safe and happy flight. I may not be able to personally give each of them my love and tell them how wonderful they are just for existing, but I hope that every single one of them gets that weird fuzzy feeling… you know the one I’m talking about. That moment when suddenly, you just feel good, like someone just came up and gave you a quick warm hug, but you don’t know where it came from. That’s what I hope they felt… that was me:)

Have the happiest of days, my dear reader friends. I hope this day and every day after is filled with kindness, love, and positivity both send out and received by you. Live in love! ❤

I Love You, I Swear

I had an unexpected visitor last night- of the feline kind, to be precise- and it was adorable, sweet, and a pleasant addition to the usual company of Kappie (my beautiful, perfect, best-dog-ever dog) and my bomb Spotify playlists (I mean, it’s just true… they’re a special kind of awesome) while I painted. It just wondered right up onto my porch and seemed to be meowing something along the lines of “Meow, I want to be your new friend, meow, I like your tube socks, meow, can I hang out with youuuu?” I couldn’t understand it exactly, as I don’t speak kitten fluently, but I’m fairly certain that’s just about accurate. And honestly, who can deny the fellow appreciation of the classic beauty of tube socks? Not this girl, that’s for sure.
So I let it stay. And I’ll admit, I began to love it within ohhhh about the first 3 minutes. It chose my art supplies to curl up within, above all places, for God’s sake! How. CUTE
But as it started getting dark outside I began to realize that I might have to take this little muffin pie under my wing for a bit until we could find who it truly belonged to, as it was clearly a house cat, what with its clean fur and obvious familiarity in roaming anywhere it pleased throughout my apartment (cute, but definitely lacked in manners). And that’s what threw some things into perspective for me. Recognizing all of the extra attention, time, and care that this new pet would require if I were to house it for even just a few days made me realize just how much that even despite my vocal mild obsession with my child/dog, the truth of the matter is that *gasp!* I think I take my precious puppy for granted. And if I take him for granted, heart-melting face and all, what else do I take for granted that I’m not aware of?
See, Kappie is a really, really good dog. He’s well trained, he’s easy, he’s loving, and he’s adorable. Yet I ignore him far too much either by leaving him home alone as I go out and about living my life, or by ignoring his presence (unintentionally of course) while I’m here working on painting or doing computer work, or relaxing with a movie or a book. And he’s fine with it… again, he’s easy. He’s not needy or high maintenance. But that doesn’t mean he likes being ignored! He is the happiest little munchkin when I do take the time to give him a little extra TLC and praise him with a high-pitched “good boy!”, accompanied by the ever popular belly rub. He LIVES for that stuff! I mean he literally revolves his entire life around me, and yet I let him wait around all day for the moment that I feel like making the oh-so ginornmous step of effort in reminding him of just how deeply he’s loved and appreciated in this little miniature apartment we share. In general, I realized that he doesn’t get nearly enough of the attention that he deserves, and it took having the extra company and anticipating the extra attention and care that it would need for me to see it. Sometimes we need a little life-slap in our face to wake up and legitimately appreciate what we already have.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I certainly would love to have an extra cutie pie roamin around the Coloring Book (that’s my place… are you honestly surprised?) and maybe taking some of the heat off of me to give Kappie attention when I truly am just too caught up in my day by providing him with some companionship. But I honestly am just not looking to have any extra responsibility right now as I work toward developing my art more as well as some other *TOP SECRET* projects that I have going on which require a good amount of my attention. And hey, either way, I don’t have to worry about it. That’s right, that scheming kitty dipped after loungin around comfortably for a few hours, playing a couple rounds of “catch the laser” with the toys I bought her (yup… I did that. I’m that sucker), and gettin down on a dish of CVS’s finest kitty feast. Typical chickkkk, right… ay, ay? Am I right boys? ;)  (….don’t answer that, it’s a trap).

Sometimes we think we appreciate the things that we have in our lives, because when we think about it, we can easily say that we do… and sure, we do. We have a conscious appreciation for the things that we should be grateful for. We may even think we show that appreciation well… when it’s convenient for us. But in reality, we might not appreciate what we have to the fullest extent possible, or in the ways that these things truly should be cared for, and that doesn’t mean that it’s intentional and it does not at all make us bad people. It’s just that simply put- we are human. I mean, if you’d asked me if I loved Kappie- if I appreciated him and if I treated him well- I would have told you, ”Yes, absolutely! He’s my gem and my love and I don’t know what I’d do without him!” I likely would have admitted that I wish I could spend a little bit more time with him, or that I wish I could walk him more at the park, but “I just can’t”. Here’s the thing… I can. I can do all of those things. I could make time and put out that effort, if I truly cared to. But I don’t because I prioritize other things above it, especially because he allows it, because he’s easy. He doesn’t complain or whine or grab for attention constantly and he allows me to leave him be while I go about living my life. So I excuse myself and allow myself to make it seem like “I wish I could, but I can’t”, when the truth is, I can, and the truth is, I know how much he loves it when I do. When I prioritize him, he’s so happy he can barely keep his tail on his little butt… it’s what gives his days meaning! I think if we took a closer look at our lives, we could all identify more than a few things in our lives that we take for granted in one way or another, and we truly could change that, and it would be worth while for all involved. Because ultimately, when we give to others and when we make others smile (or tails wag), it makes US smile and fills our own hearts more. It’s a beautiful cycle, we just need to take the time to invest into it!
And that is why Kap and I are about to hit the pavement and take advantage of the beautiful park that we are fortunate enough to live right next to! We’re gonna go play, and laugh, and bark, and run, and jump, and mark territory (that’ll be his job), and wag tails (I’d say we’ll both be engaging in that one), and it’s going to be amazeballs… and then we’ll come back and he’ll be so exhausted that I can get some work done, with a smile on my face, because I’ll be so filled with joy in knowing that I’m a good mom (I don’t want to hear it. He’s my baby and that’s that) and he’ll be so happy and tired he won’t even want my attention. Instead he’ll be deep into one of those nice doggy slumbers that we all wish we could have a little peak into, dreaming it all up again. I’ll know this because I’ll see him running… sideways, while laying down… as if he actually runs that fast in real life (keep dreaming little man… keep dreaming.)
Happy Everything Appreciation Day!! Go show your gratitude for, well, EVERYTHING 🙂 Live in love ❤