Four Rooms – Week 1

Last week, I began a sort of “spiritual housecleaning” by acknowledging the truth of British writer Rumer Godden’s observation that “Everyone is a house of four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a 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.” Facing the fact that my own life had gotten badly out of balance, I made a commitment to work at “airing out” each of these four rooms every day for four weeks and encouraged you to do the same thing.

After a week, I can confidently say that this is life-changing! The determination to go into each of the four rooms has made me far more mindful of how I spend my time which, as the wonderful Annie Dillard would gently remind me, is how I spend my life. I freely admit that I have two things working heavily in my favor in taking on this “Four Rooms” challenge right now. First, I’ve just completed an exhausting, tumultuous time at my Day Job and had the impetus to explore some substantive changes and second, I’m extremely fortunate to have a partner who not only supports my efforts to live a more mindful life, but my Beloved is my stalwart aide-de-camp in my recurring battle against overwork and perfectionism.

Every evening, I jot down my journey into each room, so let’s take a look at the results from Week 1.

In the physical room, I cleaned closets, took myself on a date to see a play, spent a few minutes arranging flowers, ate delicious barbecue, took a catnap (with real cats!) in the middle of the day, and pushed myself physically ;by biking 10 miles (it wasn’t pretty at the end, but it DID feel good).

In the mental room, I spent a little bit of time in the morning and just before bedtime working “brain games” like word puzzles and working on short French lessons on Duolingo.

In the emotional room, I donated those closet castoffs (thereby making room for wonderful new things to flow to me), practiced “square breathing,” spent time with my Dad (being sure to ask questions and really listen to the answers), had dinner with my dad and my brother, spent time with my college-aged god-daughter (also asking questions and really listening to the answers), and I also broke out my watercolors again – something I hadn’t done in about two months.

In the spiritual room, I straightened my morning space and began making time for a morning reflection/meditation. It’s short – often less than five minutes – but it helps me set the tone for my day. After that, I move to my desk and take a moment to prioritize my day’s tasks.

I think I’m off to a very good start. One thing that has truly helped me was making the resolution to only check work emails at certain times of the day. (The next step is to move work email on my phone off the main page. Annnnnd – done!) I’m also muting certain text threads that have a tendency to “blow up” with things that aren’t truly relevant to me. I still can see the thread, but I’m not alerted to every single emoji or like.

Take your time. Slow down. Find how to best live your own values. Smile enigmatically when someone says, “I don’t see how you can do that.” How we spend our moments is how we spend our days. And how we spend our days is how we spend our life.

Live with savoir faire, Divas!


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