For a long time now, I’ve had a philosophy that if I start to get an itch to replace something, like a car, for example, the prescription is to take some time to thoroughly care for my current car. I make sure all the maintenance is up to date, I get it washed and waxed, maybe fill it up with the premium fuel, and then I spend some time detail cleaning the interior. It seems to make a difference that I do this process myself, rather than taking it in to be detailed, because as I wipe away the layers of dust and neglect and stale Cheerios and dog hair, I rediscover my car little by little and realize that what I have is pretty great. This has worked for me numerous times when I begin to feel dissatisfied with various things I own. You see, it’s easy for new things to look great. No one has been using them day after day without ever giving anything back. I guess that’s the same as the saying, “The grass is always greener where you water it.”
Today, I spent my morning restoring and rediscovering my kitchen. I’ve kind of let it go to crap lately. And it’s no surprise to me, now that I look back, that I began to feel dissatisfied with my kitchen. I started thinking about remodeling… new cabinets, new counter tops, new appliances. New, new, new. I was up on a chair putting some things away in the cabinet above the refrigerator, when I noticed how dirty it was up there. So I grabbed a cloth and began to wipe away the months of neglect and dust and stale Cheerios and dog hair (yep, that stuff gets EVERYWHERE). I didn’t stop with the top of the refrigerator. I wiped down the tops of all the cabinets and their faces, cleaned every little nook and cranny I’ve ignored for so long. When I finished, I stood back and examined my bright, clean kitchen, feeling a sense of pride and the sort of peace that only being completely content can bring.
As I cleaned, I thought about my philosophy and how it could apply to the things in my life which are not “things”. I’ve often said, both aloud and to myself, that I wish I had a new body. Not just for the way it looks, but because I don’t feel like it works right (bad knees, no energy, etc etc etc). And then I tried to think about the last time I really gave my body exquisite care. When have I ever put anything into my body (the premium fuel!) to care for it. Sure, I’ve eaten healthy foods here and there. But I realized that my motivation has always been specifically to lose weight. The healthy foods seemed almost a punishment to my body for being overweight. Like, “You’ve eaten cookies for so long, now you have to eat nothing but KALE!” With that mindset, how can I possibly succeed? I abstain from “bad” foods for a while and then inevitably feel deprived, return to my old eating habits, and gain back any weight I may have lost. What if, instead, I thought about what foods might nourish my neglected body? What if I cared for my body by giving it more of those foods and focused less on what I’m “not allowed” to have. I am allowed to have any food that I want. I choose to care for my body with nourishing, wholesome foods. It seems that if my body was properly cared for in this way, things might finally return to some kind of balance in my body.
I am looking forward to rediscovering a bright and clean body after carefully and lovingly wiping away the years of dust and neglect and cookies.