I was very ready for a change! I spent weeks comparing paint chips taped to the wall like post it notes competing for my attention. I brought home plenty of samples from Lowes. I didn’t even bother to hide my patchwork colored walls over Thanksgiving. The whole startup was an experiment taking over my house. One thing led to another and before I knew it, a simple painting project turned into three weekends of “This Old House!”
Most of us say we want things to “be different” in our lives, like a new wall color, weight loss, or a better job, but we’re not always prepared for the problems or challenges that come along with it. If we want improvement in our lives, how do we prepare for the problems that inevitably accompany those changes?
We can begin by accepting that change WILL produce experiences we’ve not had before (i.e. challenges). The trouble with these problems, or challenges is that they throw us into stress mode. However, the challenge isn’t actually causing the stress, it’s our resistance to the issue that invites anxiety and panic. We want them to disappear, and quickly. It’s as if we believe that our problem is going to harm us in some way, either physically, emotionally, or worse, in how we appear to others. We avoid facing it and we feel terrible. Problems make us feel powerless — but the truth is we’re not.
As a result of this anxiety, we’re in such a hurry to fix a problem that we don’t even allow the necessary time for a solution to percolate. We quickly apply band-aid measures to our problems to make them go away, but they tend to re-surface in other ways, in other places. They’re pretty unpredictable.
But it’s interesting how quickly the signs of stress disappear the moment we open the door to invite solutions. We do this when we ask for advice or help, or stop spinning our wheels of panic long enough to consider our situation creatively.
A real solution has something to offer us on a deeper level that a “fix” does not. Solutions demand our creativity. They ask us to collaborate, experiment and innovate. A real solution forces us to explore the unknown. It elevates our trust and belief in possibility. Engaged in creative problem solving is the closest we will ever get to the Divine.
But let’s face it, the creative process can be messy and unpredictable too.
Engaging in the creative means walking into the dark, feeling our way, bumping into things, spilling our guts, making messes, and stumbling – a lot. But the big difference between applying a fix and finding a solution is that one appeases our ego and the other feeds our soul. The outcome is directly tied to the attitude we adopt in the process. You can’t get creative without an attitude of wonder and adventure. For me, the creative process is what makes me feel alive. And if we consider the truth, we don’t get to have change in our lives without changing something in our own self.
I know some of you may be thinking, why bother? Why not save the time and trouble by just fixing things and moving along. Which just makes me think about a five-year-old learning to paint, or ride a bike. There are things in this life that deserve much more than a simple fix, the things that make life interesting are almost always discovered by inviting in a solution to a troublesome problem, like not knowing how to mix and match colors.
I could have hired a professional company to come in and “do the job.”
Instead, I invited an artist friend for the weekend and we explored the world of color combinations everywhere we went, the grocery store, an antique mall, an outdoor art fair. My friend listened and watched as my heart and eyes were drawn to the colors that moved me.
They were bold and bright and cool. She inspired me and encouraged me to choose by instinct. We put together a beautiful cohesive palette that really feels like home to me. Now, not only do I have freshly painted walls, I have a memory of a weekend with a friend that will never fade…priceless.
Pics of my paint project below…