The priceless life lesson my kitchen counter taught me…
You know how they say a picture’s worth a thousand words? Well, here’s a recent picture of my own kitchen counter, as it appears on any given day. You can see typical stuff, like snacks always at the ready for me and my ravenous toddler, a book I pick up and read whenever I get a chance; there’s also a bowl of sage and cedar that Violet and I use during our morning smudge ritual, and yes, those are really antlers!
I’d like to say that this picture captures a moment of uncommon chaos, but while the items themselves may change, my kitchen counter pretty much always looks just like this, reflecting the realness of my ever-evolving, beautiful life.
For so many years, I held onto this bizarre ideal that my kitchen counter should always be organized and spotless – like in a model home or some commercial – and I would be constantly be striving for that.
I even stayed up late more than a few times to get it close to “perfect”, just to have it revert back to a cluttered mess seemingly the very next day.
Sometimes I’d feel so exasperated and wonder where all this stuff even came from. It was almost as if in the night while we slept, little elves would arrive but instead of helping by making shoes like in that Grimm’s fairy tale, they would simply make my counter look a mess! Hahaha!
For me it’s my kitchen counter, but we all have some sort of an ideal that we’re almost strangely obsessed with achieving. We buy into this myth that there’s this perfect destination that we’re going to arrive at if we can just clean a little more, strive a little more, focus a little more… but no matter how hard we work, it usually feels like we just can’t quite get there.
It’s stressful, and the major time-suck that comes with this fixation of trying to attain these standards that we’ve picked up somewhere along the way, means that we’re missing out on other, probably much more important things in our life.
We sacrifice being in the moment, time with our loved ones or even sleep in this endless cycle, and for what? That ideal may not even really be our own, but just what we think is expected of us.
One morning, I walked into my kitchen and I had a revelation. I looked over and saw the same counter with the same crazy clutter as always… but what struck me was that instead of my usual feelings of frustration, failure and shame, the only thing that went through my mind was, “Yep, there’s my messy counter and you know what? I don’t give a damn.”
I mean, just who is it that I’ve been obsessively cleaning my counter for all these years, anyway?
For once, it was just a counter. There was a level of deep acceptance, and embracing that might have totally flown under the radar had I actually not had the clutter as a backdrop.
It helped me realize that the mess is still the same – I’m the only one that has changed. The only thing that’s different is my perception… and my acceptance.
Just to be clear, I’m not encouraging you to stop cleaning your house in order to find happiness. 🙂
My kitchen counter is just my own personal example of how liberating ourselves from the expectations of what our life should look like releases the shame, and allows the shift into acceptance and freedom.
Living a fully expressed life on your own terms sometimes means living a messy life… or a radical life… or a nomadic life – it’s different for everyone. Sometimes it means making decisions or choosing a path that doesn’t make sense to other people, or that you can’t explain to them.
But you know what? You don’t need to.
It’s your life and these are your decisions.
I believe what ultimately makes people truly happy is the freedom to be fully self-expressed and do what feels good to YOU. Not the ideas you’ve inherited from your family or your teachers about what “society” expects from you.
If no one was looking or judging, would you be happy with your life the way it is? If not, that’s one thing. But it’s all about living the life that feels true to you, not anyone else.
Once you drop the shame and the idea that you need to explain yourself to anybody, and start being unabashedly fully self-expressed, you’ll find that people actually judge you less.
When people sense that you don’t feel good about what you’re doing, or hold embarrassment and shame for not meeting expectations, that’s exactly what they’ll reflect back to you.
When you don’t give a damn and you’re happy living according to your own rules, it’s obvious. Often you’ll be viewed as maybe a little eccentric, but also confident and brave.
Consciously or not, people will know that you are truly free… and though they may not express it, there will be a little whispering inside of them, full of admiration and wishing that they could be free, too. 😉
In Love & Service,
P.S. Please share any comments below. I LOVE getting comments and questions. XO