There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.
Rumer Godden. A House with Four Rooms
I have spent a good deal of my adult life dealing with the after effects of trauma. In the analogy of A House with Four Rooms, I have lived mostly in an emotional room which has been a dark, dank basement. It has been a 24/7 struggle to control my environment to avoid triggers, try to maintain an appearance of normalcy and to constantly climb out of the holes I was forever falling in to. And then, after years of therapy, I seem to have finally conquered PTSD.
Two years ago I had a bilateral mastectomy and I much of my time in the physical room, the majority of my energy going into recuperation and regaining my strength.
And so now I find myself free of those burdens, with a lot of spare “time” on my hands and a desire to better integrate these rooms within me into one whole person.
With this in mind, I have set my 2014 phrase as “my house”.
And because I am list oriented I have made this list as a guideline for my daily practice*** -
- do at least one type of exercise
- eat at least one piece of fruit
- eat at least one vegetable
And yes I know I should (and most often do) eat more fruits and veggies. But this is more about being aware of what I am eating.
- learn at least one new thing
- read at least one thing from a different point of view than mine
- practice awareness through all my senses
- acknowledge whatever emotion I may be feeling and sit with it
- tell at least one person how much I care about them
- practicing “letting go” of at least one insult/hurt/disappointment
- spend at least one minute in the morning setting my intentions
- spend at least one minute at night to be grateful for the day
- appreciate at least one thing of beauty
And because I don’t want my house to sit in isolation, my daily practice will include:
- compassion for someone else
- at least one good deed for someone else
- write or call at least one friend
It may seem like an extensive list to accomplish daily but most of it happens simultaneously. For example, yesterday I went snowshoeing with my daughter. I had a specific trail I wanted to hike, but she was leading and took us in a different direction.
So all in one trip I got my exercise, I was aware of the cold on my skin, the smell of pine in the air, the awesome sparking reflection of the sun on the snow, and the sound of my snowshoes crunching on the snow. I appreciated many beautiful things, particularly these -
and learned that they are called winter berries. I let go of my need to hike the way I wanted to go, and told my daughter how very much I enjoy spending time with her. Easy. And I came home feeling great!
2013 was a year of unbelievable emotional and physical accomplishment for me. I hope to make 2014 a year of great awareness and appreciation for all that healing. And most of all to work on becoming one whole person again.
***daily practice will also include forgiveness if I don’t accomplish everything