Joie 18 – Four Rooms

I recently completed the 100 Day Project and discovered a few things along the way. Yes, my proficiency improved through sheer repetition and that gave me the courage to try subjects and techniques that were increasingly more difficult but, just as important as getting “better,” I also found out how good I felt when I carved out time from a busy day to paint. 

This got me to thinking. Why wouldn’t the same idea work in other aspects of my often-unbalanced life? What if I did a variation of the creativity-based 100 Day Project to focus on some other practices? But which practices? Heaven knows, I’ve driven myself mad trying to be perfect in all aspects of my life – to eat the right food, and drink enough water, and exercise, and meditate, and, and, and . . . But justlikethat, Rumer Godden’s wonderful quote from her book A House with Four Rooms came across my bow. When something comes out of the blue when I don’t even know I’m looking for it, I try to pay attention. This gave me joy, so it’s the subject of this “Joie” posting. 

If you don’t know Rumer Godden’s work, seek her out. The specific quote that hit me between the eyes is this:

“. . . everyone is a house with four rooms, and those rooms are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”

Right here – in two sentences – was the plan. If you’re interested in “airing out” all your rooms, this might work well for you, too. 

Grab a piece of paper – DO NOT WORRY ABOUT MAKING THIS PRETTY – any sheet of paper will do. Draw two lines on the paper to create four quadrants. Label one quadrant “physical,” one “mental,” one “emotional,” and one “spiritual.” Now do some brainstorming – what activities nourish your physical self? Eating on a schedule instead of waiting to have lunch at 4 pm? (Yeah, that’s me, sometimes.) Drinking water? Exercise? Write it down. Don’t worry about the practicality of it; just write it down. Then go onto the next quadrant, then the next, then the next. 

Just like that, you have a plan. 

The goal here is to “air out” all four rooms every day, but don’t fret if you don’t. Don’t worry if you add to the things on your list, or move them to a different square, or cross some out entirely. Just try. 

For instance, my “physical” square includes “prepare for bed by turning off electronics by 10 pm” and “eat good food on a regular schedule.” My “emotional” square includes “paint and create” and “listen to great, uplifting music.” My “mental” square includes “work puzzles, including reading mysteries” and “watch foreign films.” My “spiritual” square includes “spend solo time outside” and “engage in reflective practices.” Yours will look different and I daresay I move some things around. (I think “spiritual” and “emotional” have some real overlap, so there may be some shifting around in the next few days.)

I doubt I manage to “go into every room every day,” but I’m going to try this for the next 100 days, which will take me to just past Labor Day. As we come out of the global pandemic, I think this might be a great way for me to build some better habits instead of just reflexively falling back into what I did before – those habits didn’t always work for me, but I never really took the time to figure out why. So this is going to be a summer of discovery. 

Why not join me? 

Seek joy, Divas!






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