Putting Out the Fires

I was visiting a friend and she complained about the state of her home. She felt like she was drowning in her living space. She couldn't take the disarray. And on top of it, she felt badly that she hadn't been able to do anything about it.

So I had her give me a tour. It helps to get a person out of the complaining mode and into action. Our minds can be so loud and distracting. They can be as much clutter as our tangible stuff.

She started by showing me how her husband puts his stuff on open flat surfaces and it drives her nuts. She informed me that she's been telling her husband not to do that, and he does it, and it makes her so angry, and she tells him again, and he forgets, and she gets furious and it's been going on for years.

She said, "What can I say to get him to stop doing that?" I said there was nothing she could do. She already tried. I said it's his nature to live that way. And to expect him to suddenly do otherwise was making her crazy. We can't control people. We'd like to. Life seems like it would be so much simpler. But it doesn't work. It drives us and the other person nuts.

Her mind got quieter. The fight in her head went away. She said it's not a big deal to occasionally put his stuff away.

Then she showed me her kitchen. Her stuff was in piles all over the counter-tops. It's funny how sometimes the things that others do that drive us mad is part of our own behavior.

I said it would give her peace of mind to take care of her things. When our own little world gets settled, we get quieter inside and it helps us be flexible and open to the rest of the world. I suggested she take some quiet time to herself and go through each item, one piece at a time. As each thing got taken care of, she'd get a piece of herself back.