Oooooo, Lioness! This is absolutely BRILLIANT!!! I am honestly in awe.
I have mentioned before that you are a very thoughtful woman - not just thoughtful in being aware of other's needs and trying to be there for them, but thoughtful in that you think things through and do it magnificently. This is a perfect example. Thank you for this!
I found this thread uncomfortable reading. The thought that one failure is likely to bring on a total failure (like the alcoholic who has one drink) is something I'm not ready for, I think. I'm worried that if I took this on board, the inevitable (maybe I shouldn't assume they would be inevitable?) failures would get me down to the point where I'd just give up. I'm nowhere near a maintenance stage, and that's maybe the problem.
What I found very useful was the list of tasks that need to be finished. I might have a go at working on limiting the time before I deal with something. I tend to leave things, and I don't really know why. Even a job that might take seconds, I will avoid. Meanwhile, that job is there getting on my nerves. For instance, maybe I have some shopping that I haven't put away. Every time I have to step over it, I'm going to feel guilty and stressed. If I leave it there for a week, two weeks, that's a lot of guilt and stress over a five minute job.
At the moment, some of these jobs are too big, and I don't feel I can set myself the goals that are in the original post. What I might try to do is concentrate on the very small jobs. If something is going to take a few seconds, I'll try to do it as soon as I notice it or within a set timeframe, instead of leaving it for later.
Post by serenitynow on Dec 26, 2009 8:48:57 GMT -5
serenity sister, What I liked was your taking THE TIME to think through the steps that we know but neglect. I can actually feel the resetting of the old tapes in your (and by extension) my mind. I have a little booklet (somewhere ) called Tyranny of the Urgent. It postulates that we tend to neglect the everyday essentials for the immediate distractions that pop up incessantly in our lives.. the ringing telephone, the tv program, the shopping trip, the computer (!), work (or other) deadlines. It's the immediacy which grabs our attention and keeps us rushing from one "crisis" to the next and turns us into stimulation junkies. (I think I'll start a thread about that.)Things continually vie for our attention and the squeaky wheel tends to be addressed first, pushing the art of orderly living further and further into the background. I also very much resonate with "grown up" part. Living a cluttered lifestyle condemns me to a childish ( not child like) state most unbecoming to a person "of a certain age". Thank you for your post. serenitynow
Lioness, I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts. You put words to some of the thoughts I was having about why my house is a jumble. I had realized it was avoidance of some type. I would feel 'entitled' to not clean something up because hadn't I worked all day already? It is easy to blame something outside ourselves for why we behave the way we do. I once went to an Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting and was surprised at how many fully grown people were still blaming their parents and not getting on with THEIR life. To me they were avoiding taking responsibility for their own choices and more importantly the results of those choices. My observation of society these days is that is it filled with folk who want to get away with something. They knowingly do something wrong or illegal or seriously negligent and then wiggle and squirm until they can find someone else to blame. So now the courts are filled will people blaming others. I see it at work and other places. People are quick to tell someone, 'It wasn't your fault!" or 'Don't blame yourself!'. So we have raised a nation of children who have a 'victim' mentality. They are never 'at cause' for something; someone or something else is always at fault. I have lots of stories and examples, but that would make this post a novel and tedious. Besides, I'm sure each of you have stories about people seeking to blame others for something they are responsible for. Don't get me wrong, being responsible for something, admitting you were wrong or that you could have done something differently isn't something that a person should be ashamed of or be condemned for. It takes a truly strong and courageous person to take full responsibility for their life, the choices they have made and the consequences of them. I'm here because I can now SEE the consequences of the choices I have made all around me and don't like it. I need to clean up my own mess! My mess is not me, but it is affecting me. I need to make new choices, develop new habits and most importantly, new ways of thinking, to head down a new path in my life. I'm the only one that can make that change. Thank you Lion, for getting me a bit further down that new path.
edited to correct typos and clarify a few thoughts.
Last Edit: Dec 26, 2009 10:33:58 GMT -5 by spiritwalk
I think you have a great point serenitynow. I can see it in my own life that's for sure.
For instance, I can see how e-mail has changed the way I behave at work. I may be busy doing something, but an e-mail comes up and I feel compelled to answer it, thus disrupting what I was doing. And of course if what I was doing was a bit tedious and the e-mail more interesting...what better excuse to stop doing what I was doing and answer the e-mail.
Yet another opportunity to change my own behavior!
Post by CourageouslyLion SeeksSerenity on Dec 26, 2009 10:16:36 GMT -5
For those of you who find my "abstinence concept" scary ...
I totally get where you are coming from.
I've been a member of this forum (and the prior forum) for a total of 3 years and 8 months. (adding together the time on both forums).
I was only able to write this thread a month ago. I've only NOW become ready to consider maintenance.
Before one month ago, reading such things would have made me run screaming from the computer. And even now, it is difficult to contemplate.
I suggest that you encourage and accept where you are now. And ... completely delete the word "failure" from your vocabulary.
I think this is especially important to note because ...
We are NOT layzee and we are NOT failures.
(For newcomers, note that the word Layzee (L@zy) is bleeped out by the forum censor into *** ..... because we don't speak of ourselves that way here).
We are NOT failures. We are simply people who have either
simply never learned the skills of housekeeping .... OR
somehow lost the ability to efficiently housekeep due to trauma/chaos/poverty/stress/depression .... OR
have an undiagnosed illness such as thyroid problem or anemia that is giving us severely lowered energy .... OR
have an undiagnosed mental illness .... OR
have a difficult physical disability ... OR
have a natural inclination to resist overbearing routine .... OR
have a combination of several of the above issues ... OR
the original reason for messiness is buried in the past and doesn't matter anymore, but the messiness habit has become ingrained.
These may be WHY someone assumes we are failures or layzee bums. But we are NOT failures. And we are NOT layzee bums.
MANY members of SOS have been verbally/emotionally abused by parents, caregivers, or spouses.
It is this type of negative self-talk that we often heap upon ourselves -- because others once heaped it upon us.
So PLEASE, remember, you are NOT a failure or L@zy because you cannot perfectly maintain a home!
You are intrinsically valuable as a human being, just the way you are, right now.
Here is how we do things here at SOS:
You get out of bed: We say: YAY! Wonderful!
You come to SOS to read: Success! Hooray!
You log on and post something: Amazing! Terrific!
You pick up one piece of trash: Congratulations!
For every tiny thing you do to make your life better, we will cheer you and encourage you and celebrate you!
If you are "at-this-moment-unable-to-do-things-perfectly" we just give you a big group hug.
It's not failure. It's imperfection. ALL human beings are imperfect.
We just celebrate that you are alive. You are intrinsically worthwhile, just as you are !!! We love you, even if you do nothing today.
SOS is NOT about judgment, recrimination, or perfectionism.
We are here to encourage you, wherever you are at. A great example of this concept is the daily thread on ListZilla called Working In Threes (W.I.T.s) Everything you do, even drinking a glass of water, is celebrated as a success.
And if working in threes is too much, people sometimes start threads called "working in ones".
Lots of people talk about "just do something for 15 minutes." When I joined, I was incapable of doing that. The concept was paralyzing and terrifying.
Someone said: "Try five minutes!". Nope.
"One minute?" Uh-uh.
Then someone said: "Try 30 seconds." I was able to do that! For the longest time, that was all I could commit to. I had to gradually build in patterns of working on my house in 30-second spurts. Eventually, I worked up to 3-5 minutes.
Even now, years later, the longest I can do is 20 minutes at a time, and that's during important crunch deadlines.
I think a parallel could be drawn about the quantity of areas you are able to maintain.
There is a thread on the ListZilla forum called "Zero Degrees of Squalor Areas" The link is here: takeonestepatatime.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=4206 It is NOT about having Zero Squalor in your entire home! It is about finding one spot, such as a chair, or a small table, or a corner of the room, or a single shelf ... that you keep free from clutter. And practicing maintaining that one single spot. Eventually, you build up to including maintaining another spot, so that you are now maintaining two tiny areas or shelves or chairs as squalor-free. This may take a long time to build of a pattern of success. Eventually, you gradually expand this concept.
There is another thread called "The Special Spot Method of Desqualoring" The link is here: takeonestepatatime.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=4206 It suggests making one tiny spot (a corner or shelf) in your house sacred or pretty or "empty" -- in a way that makes it a "special spot" for you ... something meaningful ... and defending it. And then gradually add more Special Spots and Clear Spots to your home.
Sometimes you need to let maintenance "sneak up on you". Just do positive actions, and then one day realize you've maintained something!
Another way to approach this would be to take ONE of the tasks I mention on my list in the opening post of this thread.
Example: Just focus on cleaning up spills after yourself. Make that a regular habit, and celebrate every time you do it. Ignore the rest of the ideas on the list.
Then, add another habit to the list, such as always putting dirty laundry onto a designated dirty laundry pile. (eventually you will get a "laundry hamper" system set up, but ... one habit at a time). Practice always putting the dirty laundry where it goes ... and NOT leaving it in the middle of the floor. Congratulate yourself every time you maintain this habit.
Eventually, you can add more habits to the maintenance list. I would recommend scooping the litterbox as one of the first habits to cultivate. (And i KNOW it's hard to do. I struggle with it. But I know it's for the sake of my cat's happiness and health).
Remember, if you "fall off the wagon" ... you are NOT a failure and you are NOT layzee. You are just imperfect.
Don't beat yourself up. That wastes energy. Just pick up the next spill or the next piece of dirty clothing and go on with your progress.
aw Lion, Thank you for your post. I read every word and read every reply. I've been dealing with hoarding/squalor for years. Five years ago I said I was tired of it and wanted to change it, whatever it took, I was ready.
I've been here at SOS for 14 days. I went straight for the chat room. All the words of praise and encouragement are just what I need. I'm at maintenance level in all the "public places" in my home. One day I decided to spend one hour cleaning, collecting laundry, collecting dirty dishes, sweeping and mopping and making my bed. I did it. If someone calls me and says they're going to stop by in an hour, I got it covered.
Time limits on dishes, di it right now, right away. Time limit on laundry, half a load and I'll search the house high and low to find something to add. I'm down to one load of laundry a day (me and two kids) and only have to run the dishwasher once a day. When we have lunch or snack it goes to the dishwasher right away. I take kitchen trash out at night after dinner. The rest of the trash in the house maybe twice a week. When I'm doing chat challenges I take the trash out at the end of my challenge. Every time I go to the bathroom, I do a little something. I can see myself falling off the wagon by letting the laundry pile up to two loads. Dishes in the sink, I'll just pile more in there.
Now, I'm ready to challenge in the hidden areas such as my closet, kitchen drawers, hall closet, and the boxes of papers in my library/office. Now that the library/office is clean I have a clear uncluttered place to work.
I've seen my sister and my mother in law both keep a clean house for years. I've seen them take care of spills right away, they don't put off laundry, when they go from one to room to another they take something with them. When they buy something they put it to use right away, hang it up and not leave it laying around to collect dust. They do maintenance without having to think about it. One day last year I spent the whole day at my sister's house 'cause we wanted to watch the birds. We did that the whole day. She wasn't all into worrying about the house 'cause it was clean. That was what I wanted.
I've found energy I never knew I had or thought I'd lost. I've been keeping up with the hosue maintenance so, I watched 3 movies last night and didn't feel guilty at all about doing it.
Having a clean refrigerator has made it possible for me to fit in an extra gallon of skim milk for me to drink. I don't waste money by throwing food away. I got off track during the Christmas season and did let some veggies go bad.
Being caught up on my laundry is great. We have clean clothes any time we want. I wasn't stressing on Christmas morning about what everybody was going to wear to the in-laws, 'cause it was already clean and hanging in the closet. My septic tank likes only having one load of water dumped it at a time instead of 8-10 in one day. How can half a load be more energy efficeint? Well, how many times have I washed a load of clothes over and over. One time about 3 weeks ago (before SOS) I got up every day for 5 days and washed the same load and never put it in the dryer. Every time I did it I was using my laundry detergent 4 times to many and washing that same load 5 times!?!?!?!?
Maintenance is exciting for me. I feel so free. My mind is not cluttered, my energy level is high, my self esteem in through the roof and I really like NOT having guilty feelings for doing something other than cleaning house.
I'm going to bed tonight with laundry done, dishwasher unloaded, clean floors, already have meat out of the freezer for tomorrow nights dinner, bathroom is clean, and I picked up clutter in the house. If someone called me in the morning and told me they would be here in 5 minutes, I'd say come on and go sit on the sofa and drink coffee until they arrived.
I come to chat everyday knowing that I must 'cause I could fall (not fail) at any moment. I feel to good right now to want that to happen.
My kitchen table is not clear. There are sweet goodies there that I baked, my sister and friends baked. They were spread around the kitchen everywhere making the kitchen look very cluttered. So, I moved all the sweet goodies to the kitchen table for all to see. Now, the kitchen doesn't look cluttered. No one is going to miss out on anything 'cause they may have overlooked one of the goodies hiddden in the corner somewhere by the bread box. I just really want to throw it all away, 'cause I don't like looking at it. But, I control myself and as one container gets a little empty I combine it with another. One less thing.
I've had no complaints from my dear children. I certainly wish that my DH was alive to see my progress. He'd be giving me hugs and kisses for sure.
The depression is gone for me too. Getting up and moving has helped that. Getting the burden of squalor out of the house has helped my depression and has helped my mind be clutter free.
Thank you Lion for posting such a long and thought provoking post. I appreciate the time it took that so all of us could glean something good from it. Bless you.
Having an uncluttered mind I was able to take the time to re-read my reply to see if there were any errors. It didn't worry me that it was taking to long!
Lioness, this courageous (I didn't mean to pun!) thread is wonderful. I knew from the day I joined that you were going to be a very special inspiration to me. Thank you for existing and your kindness to us all. The goodness you share with us surely will come back to help you any time you are tired or discouraged. My sincerest best wishes go out to you. Fatiha
When I find myself thinking, "Oh, I don't have enough dirty dishes to wash them," I tell myself, "YES, YOU DO!! Your brain is LYING to you again!!" When I skip washing dishes for only one day, I end up with a "Mt. Washme" that takes me just short of FOREVER to conquer!
When I find myself thinking, "Oh, the bathroom really isn't dirty enough to bother cleaning, " I tell myself, "YES, IT IS!!! Your brain is LYING to you again!!" It often is dirty enough that I wouldn't want company to see it.
See also Arid's "Submit to the Process" thread here: