Posted March 15th, 2011
What if Fear, Guilt, Angst and Doubt were sent packing? By you. After all, they’re tenants in your house, are they not? Haven’t you been saying how tired you are of them blasting their heavy metal music all hours of the night, leaving their dirty dishes in the sink, the toilet seat up and let’s not even talk about the icky hair they leave behind in the shower drain.
So let’s, for a minute, assume you evict them. You put on your big girl panties, march up to their respective rooms and give them notice. Sure, they might be surprised – maybe even put up a fight. Can’t blame them, really. They’ve never heard you talk to them like this before. Realizing you’re not going to back down, they finally pack up their bags and shuffle off to Buffalo (or wherever else they’re wanted.)
What would your house be like then, eh? Are you liking this image? Let’s sweeten the pot, shall we?
Now, let’s suppose you put a rockin’ ad on Craig’s list for some new tenants – boarders that would breathe some light and fresh air into your home, ones that would carry their weight and actually make your home happier, healthier and more alive.
Because you are the powerful manifester you are, soon four new tenants move in your house: Honesty, Impatience, Inspiration and Audacity. Clearly Inspiration is the warmest of the bunch, but something in your gut said the others were the right fit for you at this stage of your life, so you trusted it.
You welcome them in , a bit guarded and skeptical at first (who can blame you after the last bunch, eh?) The house and all its inhabitants soon settle into a new routine and here is what you notice:
Honesty is hard to be with at times – kind of grates on the nerves a bit with its close-to-the-bone comments. But we can’t help laughing when Honesty is around because its observations are just ridiculously on-target. Honesty doesn’t say all that much, but when it does, there is not a grain of sugar to be found. We’ve all come to appreciate just how much sugar we’ve had in our diet before living with Honesty.
Impatience was a surprise, really. A bit of a wild card that turned out to be a bonus. We all kind of tip-toed around it for a while – especially before it had its coffee in the morning – but now we’re used to it. Impatience is the “get it done” voice in the house and keeps us from whining and bemoaning our lives. Without Impatience, we’d all be hung up in our underwear, spinning our wheels and waiting for someone to rescue us.
Inspiration is the one that stays up eating chocolate in the kitchen until the wee hours of the morning, talking, dreaming, exploring and doodling incessantly on this little white board it wears around its neck. Exhausting at times – especially after having its morning cup of coffee – Inspiration is the most creative person in the house, always questioning our assumptions and playing “what if” games with us.
Audacity rapidly becomes known as the pot-stirrer in the house, always saying something a little edgy or shocking with its raised eyebrow, watching to see how many waves it can make. We’ve all become used to it by now and are envious of the fearless nature Audacity possesses. Audacity keeps the house and everyone in it fresh by adding a bit of healthy tension to our lot, never allowing us to settle, get too comfortable or play it safe.
What a different house you’ve created for yourself, no? The air feels fresher, the light feels brighter and there is some substance in the house that wasn’t present before. Where as Fear, Guilt, Anger and Doubt used to drag you down and hold you back, the people in this house are invested in life and take responsibility for constructing a life that fulfills them. It’s also a highly creative environment, not one caught up in “keeping up with the Joneses” or paying much mind to what other people think you “should” be doing, saying or being.
What we’re really talking about here is choice, right? Actively choosing your life. Your circumstances might not change a bit and certainly Fear, Guilt, Anger and Doubt will make cameo appearances in your life again. But what if it wasn’t as hard as we thought? What if taking control of the thoughts that get to live in our OWN house was a choice we could make daily?
Elizabeth Gilbert writes about her own experience with this in Eat, Pray, Love: “I’ve started being vigilant about watching my thoughts all day, and monitoring them. I repeat this vow about 700 times a day: ‘I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore.’ Every time a diminishing thought arises, I repeat the vow….The harbor of my mind is an open bay, the only access to the island of my Self . This island has been through some wars, its true, but it is now committed to peace, under a new leader (me) who has instituted new policies to protect the place. And now – let the word go out across the seven seas – there are much, much stricter laws on the books about who may enter this harbor.”
Similarly, Martha Beck writes about the moment a woman reaches her “breaking point” and realizes she has been playing the role of society’s version of what she should be: ‘You know, this is a really stupid script. All this fussing and fighting and sweating and shaking is giving me a migraine. And besides, I like happy endings. Y’all can keep going or y’all can come with me, but I’m going backstage to rewrite my part. She sits down in one of the chairs, loosens the collar of her space suit, and begins to jot notes to herself on a pad. ‘Let’s see,’ she murmurs ‘I’ve always wanted my character to do this…’ “
For some this notion of “choosing” might be a radical paradigm shift, for others it might be subtle. But the question remains the same: “What if you get to choose who lives in your house of you? Would you choose a sustainable community or a combustible one?”
And before you go down that road of “it’s not that simple…” or “easier said then done…”, what if you were to consider it a matter of civic responsibility? Elizabeth Gilbert called this act “assuming custodial responsibility for the care of your soul.” Imagine how making the decision to improve your house would also benefit everyone that comes into contact with it. You’ve not only created health and happiness for your own home, you’ve also spruced up the neighborhood, inspiring your neighbors and friends to do the same.
What if your choice not only impacted you and your life? What if it impacted the world? What would you choose then?