Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to see with new eyes

Before: an office heaped by neglect
and drawers emptied to move a desk

What do you need to see with fresh eyes? What project or goal have you been putting off?

Most of us have old eyes. We look without seeing our habits, clutter, and destructive patterns because we recognize familiar patterns as norms. How can we see things with new eyes or fresh vision?

I walked through our front door Sunday night after spending two months in Montana. Before my sabbatical, I blocked out things around the house to focus on my dissertation and travels. One of the most exciting things about my return home (besides seeing the kids and our grandchild!) was getting a fresh look at the house.
Before: the other side of the table...

Yesterday I had an eye migraine which I suspect was caused by "good stress" and the elevation change. However, W got an early start today (6am) and I woke full of vigor. First, the dogs and I walked a few miles around the neighborhood. Then I unpacked food, clothes, and toiletries. Finally it was time for some real renewal of the house, which I'd been ignoring and putting off...

During: furniture begins its move into
place and the sorting begins.
I washed and de-spider-ed the conservatory before tackling my utterly chaotic, post-dissertation office. (Happily, Jonathan appropriated my "dissertation" desk while I was away.) I leveled a drafting table as my standing desk and re-purposed a glass table for my sitting desk. Some clutter waits to be sorted, but the bulk of my chore got done today. Hurrah! Hurrah!

So how can we look at things with fresh eyes so that we can renew ourselves or our spaces? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Leave your familiar environment and come back. Let things settle down while you think from a distance about new possibilities. I graphed a few ideas for my office while in MT before choosing a plan of action.

During: leveling the standing desk
2.  When you return, consider your priorities and who you are--before you restart routines. Priorities may require personal changes, spiritual renewal, or decluttering a physical space.

3. Make a list of what needs doing before the sheer mass of change bogs you down. I began to jot down must-dos and chores in a notebook, on the evening of our return. It took a couple of days before I had energy to begin. Those "little" actions I've notated may take months to complete, but I'll check them off as I go. The list helps steer next steps in the right direction.

4. Start small but don't quit until your energy runs out. Drift through the list, doing what is at hand and what pleases you. If you find yourself running out of steam, do something else. Then get back to the main task. (Between the two daunting jobs of the conservatory and office, I diverted to small chores on the check-list to keet energy high: I ran the dishwasher, washed and folded laundry, cut my hair, checked FB, and blogged.)

After: the sitting desk is ready. Time to blog?
5. Remember that things usually get worse before they get better. Don't get discouraged if everything feels like chaos. You don't have to finish what you started in one day!

6. Celebrate what you've accomplished. Take a photo of "before" and "during" so you can enjoy the "after." When I've finished my office, I'll post the final photos.

God is merciful. He made the world in six days rather than all at once. Afterwards, he rested and enjoyed his creativity. Let's give ourselves permission to do the same.

Read more:
*Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10 NIV 

*I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may keep my ordinances and obey them. Ezekiel 11:19,20 

*Jesus said,] "'I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father's hand. The Father and I are one.'"
John 10:28–30

*Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22

Moravian Prayer: Come replace our hearts with whole hearts devoted to you, Lord Jesus. Take away our love of sinning and burn away the impurities of our minds. Help us bring every thought, word and deed into captivity through our mutual love and ministry. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome home, Rosemarie. And congrats on conquering a meaningful task. Several months ago J and I reorganized our home office. Your process list reminded me that a pile of "to file" items still remains and motivated me to add that to my weekend "to do" list. Thank you!