Renovation

+ Blueprint Renovation Dec 10 Muse 14210700_sBeing more naturally wired for order and calm than for chaos, I have always declared that I would move to a new house before I would take on a kitchen renovation. But, here I am. Our sixty-year old kitchen had had some improvements over the twenty years we’d been here, but it retained the original “bones” of a 1950’s June Cleaver house. It was time to do it, and do it right – a full renovation.

It didn’t take long into the process to notice that the renovation had aspects that paralleled a life/spiritual “renovation” or transformation. Both involve setting an intention, flowing with the process, clearing the space, and manifesting the new. Through it all, renovation of kitchen or spirit, there is a lot of creativity, change, surprise, excitement and elements of the unknown. They both take a lot of stamina, and neither process is for the faint of heart!

Setting your intention: My husband and I had dreamed of fixing up our kitchen for, well, forever. We set the intention to manifest this dream and hired an architect, Chiong, who discussed with us what we were envisioning. Chiong began drawing up plans and computerized realizations of our proposed kitchen, which provided a concrete picture of the kitchen-to-come, though it was all “on paper.”

In a spiritual transformation, we set our intention as well. We imagine what we want our lives to look like, what we want to shift and “remodel” in our belief structures and life patterns. As with a house project, we start a life transformation by envisioning the end result we want, such as a new career or to better a relationship. Our goal might be as non-specific as, “I want to feel better” or, “I want to function more effectively.” Whatever it is, once the end state of being is defined, we begin to design a plan to get ourselves there.

In the case of remodeling a kitchen, the architect spent hours drawing plans, re-drawing them, adjusting fine details, putting in new dimensions. I was struck by the amount of work done before the actual construction began. This is true in a spiritual or energetic shift as well. Many times, unexpected obstacles enter into the process of setting our intention. Getting ready can be complicated, but is time well spent. It allows us time to really live with our intention and think it through, refine it. The old adage, “Be careful what you wish for,” reminds us that thought becomes form, so it is a good idea to really know what we want, and then to test it out over time.

Keeping the process going: Once the plans were set, the contracts signed, the next step was to get the building permit. We waited a frustrating eighteen business days for our permit to be issued! This waiting created a sense of suspended reality for us – we didn’t seem to really believe there would be a renovation until that permit was in hand – and my husband and I slowed down on the decisions about light fixtures, paint colors, door knobs, etc. that we could have been making while we waited. Lost time! Renovation/Spiritual Lesson: Don’t entrain with the energy around you and get stuck! If things are taking longer than you thought they would to shift, don’t stop doing your work. Things are in motion, even if that is less obvious in the moment.

Clearing the space and making room: Renovation/Spiritual Lesson: It gets worse before it gets better! The next phase was to empty the spaces that were getting renovated. In our case, this meant getting rid of everything in the kitchen, the dining room and the sun porch. Finding a place for all of this in our small house was quite a challenge. The stove went to the basement, but the refrigerator was put in my office (Of course! Where else would it go?!). The sideboard went up to a bedroom, my healing table and tools were moved to the second floor, the kitchen utensils and food were – everywhere. My insistence on orderliness in my home had to go out the window, along with the old kitchen sink!

The healing/therapeutic process of opening ourselves to transformation is not a particularly orderly event either. Things often get more uncomfortable, out of sorts, and problematic before we experience shifts in the direction we want to go. It can be confusing, emotional, messy, painful, and just plain hard. But, old patterns and ways of thinking have to be examined and cleared so that new ways of being can come in. It’s not a pretty process!

It certainly wasn’t pretty in the kitchen when the demolition phase began. What a term, demolition! But, that’s exactly what happened – the space was demolished. Windows were taken out, walls taken down, linoleum pulled away, counter tops pulled off, a door closed up, a door cut in – dirt, dirt, and did I mention dirt! The kitchen looked like hell for quite some time. We were a long way from our beautifully colored computer-realizations!

Manifesting the new: There were points along the way when I couldn’t believe the renovation would ever actually be done, that our rooms would ever look the way I’d envisioned them. Our contractor James and his crew worked steadily, aiming to be done by Thanksgiving. Much as I love to have something completed, so I can check it off my list, I consciously chose not to focus on the end, or at least not on its timing. I managed to be more at peace with the process, not just tap my foot waiting for the result.

Eventually, the rebuilding began. Internal systems were put into place, the electricity wired and the plumbing piped. The action paused while the work was inspected, a pause which provided a short, but much-appreciated break from the noise and chaos. It also gave time for the energy to turn-around from “take apart” to “put it back together again.” A new hardwood floor, cupboards, a new door on the sun porch – bit by bit, the new began filling in the empty spaces that clearing out and demolition had left behind.

In a spiritual transformation, what is “installed” are the new patterns of being and ways of perceiving ourselves and others. The shifts can be incrementally small, yet have enormous impact. I’ve seen clients change one word or thought and have everything feel different.

Integration: The last phase involves adjusting to the new. It takes awhile to integrate new patterns, to experience ourselves in our lives from a new vantage point. It’s also taking awhile to learn my way around my new kitchen. Most things aren’t where they used to be, though my son was delighted to pull open a drawer and find the Kleenex box in its old place – it still felt like home!

Endings can bring mixed feelings. Emotionally, we can be delighted to have transformed old patterns, yet have a slight sense of loss for the old, familiar ways of being. In my home renovation, I am delighted to have the kitchen work complete, but there are a few aspects of the process that I miss. I enjoyed having our workmen here – they were personable and fun to talk with. The decision-making was non-stop, but it was a very creative process. There was excitement threaded into the nervousness we felt as we guessed how all those separate decorating decisions we’d made would come together. While I love having it a little quieter around here, the activity level the last couple of months was also stimulating.

There is a whole range of internal and external projects, small scale to grand, that we can tackle to renovate and transform our homes and our lives. You might re-order a desk drawer or put together your resume and start looking over Craigslist for a new career. If you’re feeling faint of heart, invite yourself to live with your idea, your desire and test it out. Call in your Essence, your Spiritual Architect for guidance. A space or spiritual transformation is a worthwhile endeavor, and I can guarantee it will shift your life.

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