Berlin Wall
Image by Bernt Rostad

Yesterday, my horoscope suggested that I reach out and try something new. It went on further to suggest that I put myself in unfamiliar territory, shake up my routine, and that this may require an expense. Ok, well gee, I guess that could relate to having major landscape construction going on. That certainly has created “unfamiliar territory”, is an expense, shakes up my usual routine, and causes me to make sense of my surroundings. As I am faced with the challenge of distracting construction for days on end, I am curious about what it takes to genuinely shake up our routine in a beneficial manner that creates healing.

In the past, when we’ve had work done at our home, I tend to lay low and ride it out. The distraction of people being in my space and strangers energy is enough to send me seeking invisibility until the job is complete. However, the current project is fairly major, so the disruption has been going on for over a week straight, and it will continue for many days more. Unlike my cat, I cannot simply bury myself in the closet and come out when it’s over. So, I am faced with the challenge of: How do I use this opportunity to shake up my routine and possibly create positive change for myself?

Initially, I thought that the early arrival of workers might help shift my schedule to getting up earlier and enjoying a longer day. However, my body and sleep issues have not complied. Then, I thought, I can still do my usual activity of writing, reading, creating, meditating, and so on. Hmmm, excellent plan, but so far my monkey mind is not buying that one either. In fact my distracted self is struggling to tend to my routine responsibilities let alone more creative endeavors. So here I sit, attempting to write – to mobilize myself beyond the distraction and into a more mindful state. It’s kind of like living in the country and visiting the city. The increase in intense noise, smells, and activity can seem overwhelming in contrast, or the opposite can occur for those who are unaccustomed to the silence of nature. Regardless, whatever we are accustomed to, we tend to form into a structure of comfort due to familiarity. The challenge can then be to pursue that which is unfamiliar in order to grow.

In my usual manner, I look to what my environment is mirroring to me for clues. The construction that is taking place involves tearing down a 75’ retaining wall and replacing it. This is no easy task due to the condition of the wall (falling down), the added stressors of complicated drain issues with lots of water, and very limited access to the area. The result is a lot of hard manual labor, creative experienced insight, and faith. Faith that the wall of mud will not tumble down -bringing beloved old trees with it – as the rain continues. Hope that the new wall can be rebuilt with integrity for drainage and strength. And, vision for a future area that maintains the value of our home and provides enjoyment.

I mention the wall because that is how I feel about shaking up my routine and recognizing unfamiliar territory. As I attempt to guide my awareness to the present and out of distraction, it feels like tearing down a wall within. As the wall comes down, I feel exposed and a little unstable. I can try to hide, ride it out, and hope for the best as things return to “normal.” Or, I can open myself to a deeper level of awareness by attempting to be mindful in spite of challenging conditions. I can try to utilize this experience as an opportunity to learn, observe, and expand my awareness. I can tear down my own internal walls that seek to protect me from an onslaught of water – in other words, my doubts, fears, and insecurities. Trying to keep the old, leaky, falling down wall is like sticking a finger in a dike. Denial will give way to destruction. Eventually, if I do not allow myself to make sense of my surroundings and shake up my routine, it will happen anyway.

Now, what was I talking about? Oh right, distraction. And, there goes my awareness again amidst sawing and banging. Hopefully, I can convince it to return and be more present. Even when the literal wall is complete, I know that I still have plenty of undiscovered territory within. My inner walls will continue to come down as my outer walls strengthen, and healing can continue.

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