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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's OK If This Is Becoming a Bit Compulsive ...

Housecleaning - Inside and Out

Housecleaning can become a bit compulsive.

And this is really ok.

It's especially ok if the house really needs to be cleaned, as mine has.

Last year, between March 21st (Vernal Equinox) and April 1st, I took stock.

I realized that my energy was low. ("I can't even spell 'marketing plan'," I wrote in my journal.) Unveiling was close to launch date - not yet quite there, but I could really, realistically see it coming. (And at that, it still took another three months before I held the first physical Unveiling copies.) But as the launch-hour approached, life (and my overall energy) seemed to be slowing down.

This sense of how much more difficult it is to complete a major life transition is not unusual at all. There is even an analogy to how things work out in nature: physicists know the phenomenon called "critical slowing down" - the fact that just before a system changes state (water to steam, for example), we can put in a whole lot of "energy" and still not see much difference. It just becomes harder and harder to gain a single degree of temperature. Any woman who has borne children knows that the last few months - and weeks and days and hours - are the most difficult. There's a time (so I'm told) when you just want that baby born, no matter what. And for those of us who've taken on any project, we know that the early "blocking out" stages can happen quickly - from building a house to painting a picture to changing our body shape. It's filling in the details that takes so much time.

Add to this one more important factor: when we're getting close to the "finish line" for any big life project, we can't let go. It might be completing a book, a degree, a renovation project. And simultaneously, the "project" - whatever it is - consumes our life. There really is no time left for anything else.

The point is: We do transform our lives. We do take on what are truly heroic quests and challenges. And while we are doing these - and going through the last very difficult stages - the rest of our lives unravel. The house gets dirty. Important relationships are not maintained. (At least, not with the diligence that we usually muster.) This would be the year that the vegetable garden gets sparse and weedy, and we don't even think about putting up vegetables that summer.

Balance is lovely. Balance feels good, and so does a clean house, a set of well-maintained friendships, and a beautiful, thriving vegetable garden. But when we are doing a Heroic Quest, we forsake balance.

Balance is something that we recapture later. And it may take time. In my case, it's taken me a year - that's right, a full year - to get the house and grounds cleaned up. And I've really, truly been working pretty hard at it. Most especially, over this month of February.

So you haven't heard much from me this last month. I love you just as much as ever. And I've been thinking about you while cleaning out the storage room. (And when I swept mouse dung and dust off the high utility shelves - and got whif-fuls of it, and came down with allergy-induced headaches later - well, lesson learned for next time.)

Cleaning, de-gunking, and organizing - restoring balance, harmony, and joy - takes time. This is a transition. Not quite a Quest, but a post-Quest mop-up.

So if we have been Questing lately - we need to recognize that post-Quest, it takes a little time to get life back in order.

And have you been Questing? Do you want to know more about a Heroine's Quest (versus the classic Hero's)? Learn more: online radio talk show on the Heroic Quest with moderator Dennis Tardan.

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