A few weeks ago, my landlord sent (finally) the maintenance guy (Waffi) over to deal with a variety of problems in the apartment: an oven that wouldn’t light, a bathroom sink that wasn’t draining properly, a busted hinge on the hall closet door and a perpetually dripping faucet in the kitchen. We’d been living in a state of disrepair for several weeks. Waffi is a sweet but incredibly busy guy. Everyone wants a spot on his dance card and we’d been waiting a long time for our turn. By the time he’d finished all the repairs and packed up his tools that afternoon, I felt like I was living in a bold new world. My oven was heating up nicely, there was no stagnant pool of water in the bathroom sink, the closet door was secure and the drone of dripping in the kitchen had been silenced. I high-fived Waffi and did the happy dance on the front deck. The changes were small but seemed enormous. Everything felt so much better.
It is interesting to me how we get used to living with situations that are defective and unworkable. This can be anything from an appliance that we jerry-rig with a rubber band and a spoon to an unhealthy relationship. As we go through our days– or weeks, months and years– we constantly make little adjustments here and there. Compensating. Making do. And eventually without our even noticing it, the broken becomes the the norm. We adapt so completely that we don’t even recognize the impact it has on our tender souls.
Living with broken things is a form of settling. It’s accepting “less than.” It’s an unconscious message we send ourselves that we’re not worthy of better. Living with broken stuff also zaps our vitality. All those adjustments we make are little energy drains that slowly add up and deplete us. It’s like a low grade infection. We’re not really 100% on our game. This state of being isn’t conducive to full creative living. To thrive and grow, we need solid, functional foundations in our homes & studios, our hearts and our psyches.
Some fixes are easy enough; We can change the batteries, ask the neighbor to turn it down, call the piano tuner already. Other fixes are tougher, like squaring with an exhausted relationship, saying good-bye or letting go. Some fixes require us to drill down deep and take an honest look at how we think about ourselves and what beliefs we have about the world around us. Changing negative and unhelpful thought patterns is hard work. But it is also the most liberating.
Fixing what’s broken in our lives is the ultimate act of self-care. It enables us to show up more fully. It creates the optimal environment for our well-being and positions us to rock our highest potential. Our creative efforts are cleaner, energized and unfettered. Unencumbered by the difficulty of broken things, we can focus on what is working in our lives. We can make room for the extraordinary. We can be free.
Is there anything broken in your life? If so, how does it affect you and can you fix it? Talk to me.
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you
– David Whyte