When we bought our house this fall there were hours of daydreaming about what our future house would look like. Sometimes the fantasies were so exciting that I could barely handle living in the moment. I kept saying to everyone that I wanted to wake up in February (ohhh how silly I was) and see the house fully decorated and finished. Now it is June and my house is so very much not finished, but I wouldn’t trade this winter for all the free carpentry work in the world.
If I had woken up from my daydreaming in February I would have been mortified. Mostly because my house looked exactly like it did in December, but also because I wouldn’t have clocked all of those hours hunting down window dealers who wouldn’t call me back or snowblowing my new driveway or watching my husband slowly, painfully learn how to reframe our nearly 150 year old house. . I would have been devastated because I wouldn’t know the insulators were days away from coming, as were my beautiful new windows and I wouldn’t have know what it was like to wait for that insulation in a house missing two windows in the coldest winter I remember.
I also certainly wouldn’t want to wake up in June and have missed planting my vegetable garden and discovering my inherited flower garden. I wouldn’t want to see the painted kitchen and the redesigned bathroom and not be able to feel so much pride and accomplishment. I wouldn’t want to have missed all those hours of profound exhaustion lying on the floor staring at the ceiling astonished at how much work I had done and how much my body could physically hurt.
But when it comes down to it I’m still just as antsy in June as I was this fall. I still want it all over. I still want to magically wake up in my fantasy master bedroom and waltz casually into our beautiful new bathroom for a long hot shower. I sometimes want it so much that I don’t care that the garden is thriving and the drywall is coming this weekend after months of prep work. I’m so caught up in the future that the amazing present is being completely ignored.
This post has been a long time in the coming. Waiting for a house to be built is a metaphor for a thousand things in my life and a thousand things in your life. We are so busy waiting for the change that we miss the transformation.
One of the amazing parts of my job is working with people at the moment of transformation. Despite what they may thing, their stepping into my office is the beginning of the transformation. They think that the end result is to be pain free or have more energy or to sleep through the night. But it never is. Their job, their work is to experience the transformation. They need to slowly let that old story die off and disappear. They need to believe there is life that doesn’t include pain and that they are worthy of that life. They need to find new language and new understanding for their self-care techniques.
I constantly find myself reminding people they are not lazy or undedicated or a failure. They are human and doing their best. Pain or exhaustion make life very challenging and it is a struggle to do anything in the midst of that kind of struggle. Verbally and mentally abusing yourself is never going to inspire you to rest more or relax out of tightness. Wishing away the healing process won’t teach you how to relieve pain in the future or care for yourself the next time you can’t sleep.
Transformation is fast and magical when it happens, but it almost never is perfect. We don’t move consistently toward our goal. We hobble around, get confused, try again, find short cuts and just keep desperately trying.
Progress is not necessarily relative, but it can sometimes be so subtle that if you don’t want to see it, you will definitely miss it. We are all on some journey where we would secretly love to peek a glimpse at the final destination. But that peek into the future wouldn’t come with any context unless you actually lived through all those moments first. A watched pot will eventually boil, but think of how many dishes you could wash, instead of watching. Get out there and enjoy the living, so you can appreciate the moments of your transformation.