Chaos, Noise, and Grit

Everything at my condo is in such disarray that I have fled to my sister’s quiet house.  Our windows were damaged and needed to be replaced, so the process began yesterday when the new windows were delivered.  Installing windows is a noisy process but I didn’t realize the full extent of the noise until air drills and saws were singing a duet.  It’s ear piercing and goes on all day!

Furniture needed to be rearranged in every room, so all the pieces were pushed together to make space for our 6-man crew (one woman did arrive to make sure the men were doing what they were supposed to be doing).  Everyone commented on what perfect weather we were having for a large, mostly outdoor project.

The breeze was wonderful until we realized the wind was blowing cement grit (from their drilling) everywhere inside our condo: the furniture, lamp shades, book shelves, blinds, carpet, computer, kitchen counters, stove, sofas, tables, and chairs.  A major cleaning is now needed, which we won’t start until the installers are finished.  This morning we brought out every sheet we own and covered as much as possible to eliminate adding more grit.  More laundry but less grit.

My husband seems to be at ease with the whole process, but the chaos, noise, and grit are challenging my limits.  For my sanity’s sake I had to escape!  I’m reminded of this quote from Melody Beattie that says, “Few situations are bettered by going berserk.”  Going berserk was a definite possibility, and the only way to avoid it was by honoring my limits and moving into healthy self-compassion. That meant leaving the installation scene.

On the other side of town, my sister and her three cats offered a welcome oasis of tranquility and quiet.  Curt joined us for lunch and late afternoon sipping time (his preference is scotch).  We all need a safe shelter when chaos, noise, and grit take over.  Perspective (chaos, noise, and grit won’t last forever) and calmness (my emotional reaction) are extremely valuable when navigating a difficult situation.  Both anxiety and calmness are contagious, so the question according to Brene Brown is, “Do we want to infect people with more anxiety, or heal ourselves and the people around us with calm?”

If we are kind to ourselves we create a reservoir of caring compassion, which means our own needs are met and we have more to offer others.  Here is what Christopher K. Germer says about the importance of self-compassion, “A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day.  A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”  The only way I could survive the installation process, and take care of myself, was to leave the site and seek a calm, quiet place.

I’m grateful for the experts that were installing our windows and the weather that made the job easier.  I’m grateful that we have the energy and cleaning products to clean our home from ceiling to floor.  But I’m most grateful for Curt’s understanding encouragement for me to seek a quiet shelter.  My sanity is now intact and flourishing.

Here’s one last quote from Brene Brown about cultivating calm: “When we first start cultivating calm and stillness in our lives, it can be difficult, especially when we realize how stress and anxiety define so much of our daily lives.  But as our practices become stronger, anxiety loses its hold and we gain clarity about what we’re doing, where we’re going, and what holds true meaning for us.”  Whenever we’re faced with any form of chaos, noise, or grit, let’s remind ourselves that now is the time for self-compassion.  We are worthy and deserving!!

Until Next Time – Sylvia

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