Fixing What’s Wrong Doesn’t Really Work
Last weekend was a really good one for me. I not only enjoyed a loving and uplifting visit with my dear sister Boo, I was also graced with deeper insight into something I thought I already understood as a result of the experience we shared.
I had invited Boo to visit so she could accompany me on a shopping trip for a new bathroom vanity. Unlike her, I don’t seem to have a particular talent for interior design and really wanted her opinions and suggestions. I’m also committed this year to having more fun – to fully enjoying myself – whenever and wherever I can, and being with Boo is always fun.
Needless to say I was very much looking forward to our time together.
But before I tell you about our shopping spree and my deepened insight, let me give you a little back story about the vanity. The master bathroom in my home is – well, I’ve been known to refer to it as The World’s Ugliest Bathroom. I don’t spend a lot of time in it, though, so over the years I’ve learned to ignore its appearance and just get in and get out as quickly as I can.
This year, however, I’m exploring more deeply than I ever have before the transformative power not only of joy, but also of beauty and pleasure. My master bathroom is most definitely not beautiful, so I decided to make some changes. Not a full renovation, but smaller things I could do to enhance its overall appearance and maybe even create a little beauty. A new vanity and fresh coat of paint easily made the top of the list.
As I made the commitment to upgrade the bathroom’s appearance I became even more acutely aware of how ugly it currently is, and a sense of urgency to change it immediately arose within me. I could barely stand to be in it another minute.
I called my contractor that very day.
He suggested looking in a particular retail outlet for a vanity, which I was already inclined to do, and told me that they carry the size I need in their online store. My plan with Boo was for her to help me pick a paint color that would go well with my shower and floor tiles, then look for vanities that would go well with the paint color. Once we found something online we’d go to the store and see if we could find a vanity in the same color or made by the same manufacturer, albeit in a different size, so we could get a sense of its overall quality and “rightness” for the space.
During the week prior to her visit, I identified a few other things I wanted that I knew she’d be good at helping me choose, so we planned a more extended shopping trip. One of those “few other things” I wanted was something beautiful for the table in my client space, which had become the resting place of old, outdated promotional material for Solid Ground (the former name of my teaching/mentoring business). That stuff needed to go.
I had been pressuring myself to create new materials, but finally acknowledged that I was pushing against the flow of my own creative process and needed to let things ride for a bit. What I really wanted, I realized, was something beautiful to enhance the overall look and feel of the space. So “something beautiful” was added to the shopping agenda.
Boo arrived in good spirits, in spite of having sat in weekend traffic on I95 far longer than she would have preferred, and we dived right into the paint color selection. Within a short amount of time we’d agreed on a handful of lovely colors that could work.
I distinctly remember feeling almost relieved that we’d narrowed them down so quickly, because I didn’t want to spend any more time than I had to spend in The World’s Ugliest Bathroom. I even felt embarrassed for Boo to be “up close and personal” with all of its yukkiness.
Following through with the next step in our plan, we spent some time online looking at vanity options that might work in my space with the colors we’d chosen. I had actually checked online about a week before Boo came and had found at least half a dozen vanities that looked promising. But in that moment we were hard pressed to identify more than two that were appealing, maybe three. Still, we did find those few and off we went to the store so we could see and touch some of their vanities in the 3D world.
Our slight disappointment with the online selection deepened into big disappointment, bordering on disgust, with the physical models in the store. They were neither attractive nor of a high quality. I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable ordering something sight unseen from that store and would need to look elsewhere for my vanity.
We turned to the next items on my shopping list, one of which could be purchased at the store we were in, and once again were disappointed with the selection. They just didn’t have what I was looking for. Onward we went to the next store, for a different item, only to have the same experience. They didn’t have what I wanted, and what they had was either unattractive, overpriced or both.
Thankfully both Boo and I kept things light and laughed at how I kept striking out. Apparently it wasn’t my day to find what I wanted.
Or was it?
We had just enough time before dinner to make a stop at Pier1 Imports, where I thought I might find the “something beautiful” for the table in my client space. Pier1 is one of Boo’s favorite stores so it was a stop we were both happy to make.
Once inside it didn’t take us long to zero in on an idea for creating something beautiful and unusual for my table. We started assembling and arranging various items on the floor, since there wasn’t any table space on which we could work. The more we experimented with it the more fun we had.
We were on a roll. We wandered and looked and selected new things to try. We added things and took things away and rearranged them multiple times. We stood back and we stood close, examining our budding creation from all angles. We tried things that were clearly meant for another purpose but fit right in, anyway. We played and dabbled and tinkered. We were always in agreement with what worked and what didn’t.
And finally we had it: something beautiful for my table.
Unbeknownst to us, the store employees and one of the customers had been watching us with delight. They were silently cheering us on and eager to see the finished product. Once we deemed it complete, one of the employees asked if she could take a picture of it, and us, for their Instagram page. In the spirit of the moment we said yes and had fun posing for the picture.
The whole experience was light, energizing, creative and fun, and we left the store in high spirits. The rest of our time together flowed beautifully and when Boo left to go home the next day I took a moment to feel deeply how blessed I am by her presence in my life.
And then I took another moment to relish how sparkling and abundant my new “something beautiful” looked on my table.
A little bit later, as I was reflecting on our time together, I had the “aha!” moment I mentioned at the start of this article. I realized that my disappointment with the available options for my new vanity were a direct reflection of my vibration, which was dominated by my judgments of how ugly my current bathroom is. I had gone shopping not from a pure desire to create beauty, but from an urgent need to fix a problem. I was vibrating more with what was wrong than I was with the beauty I wanted to create, and with that kind of vibration I could only experience more of what felt wrong to me.
In contrast, the delightful experience we had finding something beautiful for my client room table was a direct reflection of the purity of my desire to find something beautiful. I wasn’t trying to fix a problem. I had given myself permission to want what I really wanted and simply moved in that direction with eagerness and a sense of adventure. I wasn’t trying to get rid of something unwanted. I was intending to create something new.
This tale of two contrasting shopping experiences may seem trivial, but it reveals an essential principle of manifestation, regardless of whether we want a new bathroom vanity or a deeper connection with the Divine or anything in between:
The energy of pure desire is life-giving and will naturally seek its own fulfillment.
The key here is in the word “pure.” Pure desire is unencumbered by blame, guilt, doubt or judgment of any kind. It is the essence of the creative life force, which forever seeks new avenues of expression. In the absence of counter vibrations such as doubt and judgment, pure desire must and will be fulfilled, in harmony with the creative pulse of Life.
So as soon as we become aware of what we genuinely want to create, share or experience, we serve ourselves best by letting go of all judgments we have about whatever it is we don’t want that gave rise to the new desire. Then we can follow desire’s lead and let it guide us through its own fulfillment.
I realize now that before I can create beauty in my bathroom in a way that feels joyful to me, I must first stop judging the way it currently looks. Humorous as it might be, I’ve got to stop calling it The World’s Ugliest Bathroom. It’s just a bathroom in need of some loving attention.
And I need to give myself time and space to consider what I actually want in there, rather than rushing to find something to replace the ugly cabinet I don’t like. “Rushed” and “ugly” are not the vibrations I want in my creative process.
I want to have fun in the experience of imagining and searching and exploring options, the way Boo and I had fun tinkering with all of those beautiful baubles at Pier1 until we found just the right combination.
I must also jettison all judgments I hold against myself for having tolerated something I don’t like for so long and, instead, remind myself that my point of power is always Now. Now is the perfect time to create beauty.
And Now is the perfect time for all of us to remember that we can’t get what we want by focusing on what we don’t want. Whenever we’re motivated primarily by the need to correct, fix or overcome something, we’re essentially focused on what we don’t want because that “something” is the foundation of our action. And that means it’s active in our vibration.
So if you’re experiencing disappointment on your journey of creating something you want, first pause to give yourself fresh permission to really want it, and let yourself actually feel the purity of your desire.
Then bless everything that doesn’t currently match that. Not because you’re trying to convince yourself that you love like something you don’t even like, but because you understand that judging it keeps you locked in a dance with it.
Dare to turn in the direction of what you want, with the deep knowing that it is the fate of all pure desire to be realized. Relax, lighten up, and let desire lead you into its inevitable fulfillment.
Copyright © 2018
Suzanne E. Eder
Thank you Suzanne for the grace of your writing.
It feels soft like feathers slowly slowly falling to the ground.
Timely reminder for me, to not push against.
To flow with instead, beauty and pleasure both dear to my heart
Carina, thank you so much for your Grace-filled words. I think we all benefit from the reminder not to push against what we don’t want from time to time, given how familiar it is in our culture to do just that. Wishing you an abundant flow of beauty and pleasure!
Hi Suzanne, love your writing and your insights. And just as your intention is to make more time for beauty in your life, my new intention is to devote more time to reading your columns and your blogs. All the best, Irene
Irene, thank you so much for your generous comment. You’ll be pleased to know there are tons of blog posts on my site!! 🙂 My best to you, too.