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     Awen Environments

                                                inspirational living arts

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Seeing Perfection in the Imperfection

Posted on January 14, 2015 at 6:23 PM Comments comments (0)
We live in a society that values perfection. It is an unattainable goal that humans have a tendency to strive for and yet it is our definition of perfection that induces stress and anxiety, not the perfection itself. If you look around you there is perfection in every nook and cranny, you merely have to reorient your focus.

I learned this lesson in a quite interesting way recently, but it had been a message that had been staring me in the face for quite some time. Growing up in a family of perfectionists, I was always striving for the unattainable. No accomplishment was ever good enough for long and I placed harsh requirements on myself for not only my physical body and outward appearances, but also my achievements. As time went on I realized that I was no longer my achievements nor my physical being, but a sum total of all my life experiences that had molded me into the person I had become. I think it was my son who taught me the most about myself-- the good and the not so good.

My son broke down all my barriers and made me realize what was important. I was no longer so concerned about my achievements and more about being a caretaker and inspiring my creativity, doing things that nurtured my passions and living life authentically. He also made me look at the not so nice aspects of myself and places that needed healing including criticism directed not only at myself, but at others. Repeatedly I was met with less than perfect circumstances within my life that inspired me to build inner strength, challenge my faith and focus on what was truly important in my life. It was a very humbling experience that made me stronger. The perfect no longer seemed to matter so much. The perfect living space, the perfect gardens, the perfect clothes and physical appearance seemed less and less attainable in my increasingly busy and challenging life. I began to observe and learn from Nature and strive for more balance.

It is going on a year since my mother passed away suddenly of cancer. She was a major perfectionist and so was my father. Though I would imagine they were most hard on themselves for all the challenges the universe had presented them throughout their lives. These high standards were passed on to their children and at times I have seen myself doing the same thing to my son. This past year I have been reviewing my life and trying to come to terms with my home and eliminating or upgrading things in my life that no longer serve me. It has been a continual process of clearing clutter and truly determining what direction I want my life to take. I have also been reviewing many patterns in my life that I no longer wish to continue or that have been replaced with healthier ones. My focus now is to streamline my life, do what I love as much as possible and eventually see more of the world again.

In the midst of all of the changes in my life, my most recent project has been my bedroom. It had become a catch all for a variety of furniture styles and possessions, as well as the location of my altar space where I would set my intentions, prayers for myself and others, as well as a way to relieve my stress from the day's activities. I realized my private space no longer reflected the life I wanted. It was filled with a lot of conflicting energy from the past including my fears, combined with my dreams and intentions for the future. 

So first came the color change. I chose a somewhat unusual mango color which brightened my room from the dark, womb-like earthy, terracotta color it had been previously. In retrospect, the terracotta had been the perfect color for me during a time of transition but not anymore. My new color brought lots of light during dreary winter days. It also made me feel good and that's what mattered in the overall scheme of things, not whether it was the latest trending color.

My previous bedroom set had been acquired second hand and although I was drawn to the style and solid mahogany wood and workmanship, it nevertheless carried the energy of its previous owners to some degree and had acquired damage over the years. It also held my own memories, some of which had been painful at times. We bring our thoughts to our bedroom at the end of the day and so these furnishings now held a past I no longer cared to remember. These bedroom furnishings were not something I had chosen new, but acquired out of necessity during a transition point in my life when I was wanting something new but not sure what that was. They no longer felt in alignment with my life now nor did they support the well being of my body anymore.

Realizing I needed a major change and a different outlook on life, my bedroom became a primary focus at the top of my priority list for change because it was about me and my needs. This bedroom was something I would devote to honoring myself and a new transition in my life from being someone's daughter and mother to a woman of independence, strength and wisdom. I would create a sanctuary for my soul in my bedroom and honor myself for once and the new boundaries I had formed within my life and the lessons I had learned. It was symbolic of a new beginning and perhaps one day it would also inspire a new relationship because my relationship to my self had changed.

So it was interesting when my new bed arrived and I immediately noticed that a piece of the wood in the headboard was 'different' from the rest-- somewhat lighter in color with a more significant graining pattern. There were also insect markings from the cherry tree it had once been. As I settled in with the bed and began living with it, I went through quite a little process of deciding whether I could live with this new piece of furniture. I reached a point where I contacted the furniture store and asked what could be done because I felt this was a design flaw and a poor choice of wood. The manufacturer agreed to replace the bed and arrangements were made, but then one day I really began looking at my new bed and seeing its true beauty with different eyes. I thought about how much I now enjoyed this new bed and how it had already become a new ally that supported me during my sleep bringing the beauty and strength of the cherry tree it once was, into my dream time. That's when I started to have second thoughts. 

Suddenly one day I realized what the message was in all of this when a friend mentioned that maybe the choice of wood for the bed was meant to be. I realized I had finally 'seen' the perfection in the imperfection before me. This bed and the wood it was made out of was actually perfect. One needed only to see it in a different light as it is with all things. Nature is perfect because it is as it should be. The insect markings would also become very symbolic for me, as I later came to realize. Those of you who know me or have read my stories, will remember that the insect kingdom once taught me a valuable lesson about relationships and my anger which I had been putting out into the world. This bed would be a reminder of what I didn't want in my life anymore.

I believe there is a perfection in all creation that goes behind our very comprehension as humans. Every snowflake has a different pattern. Every tree has different DNA and a different shape. We humans are part of Nature and all of creation-- each unique and perfect in our own way. The messages are all out there if you pay attention even to those objects that you bring into your life. I think I'm finally on the way to accepting myself exactly the way I am and... I just love my new bed and the lessons it has taught me.

Blessings of Clarity!

2015 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.









Journey into the Labyrinth

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM Comments comments (4)
The road I've been traveling lately seems to have a series of twists and turns that end up nowhere.  I find myself being drawn to a certain direction pursuing ideas and seeming opportunities that ultimately lead to a dead end or represent who I used to be and no longer feel right. It occurred to me the other day that this was so symbolic of being in a huge maze where you are journeying intent on finding the way out only to come to a wall that causes you to completely turn around and go back the way you came from or go in a completely different direction. In my own personal experiences, nothing seems to be coming together at the present moment and I have to wonder why.

What do you do when every intention you have and every action you take leads to a dead end? Do you give up your hopes and dreams to ever changing your situation or accomplishing your task at hand or do you look at what it is that you wish for and analyze why it isn't manifesting in the manner in which you would like? What I've learned over the years is that when something isn't coming together in a smooth manner and all of the pieces aren't falling into place, there's usually a reason. That reason is that it's not in your best interest or in the best interest of the universe's overall plan that is taking place and there's a lot going on right now on this planet both from a physical and spiritual perspective. It also may be that other things have to line up first for things to happen.  Recognizing this is sometimes easier to intellectualize but dealing with the frustration associated with coming to a dead end despite your best intentions can create a lot of anger or it can lead to losing your faith and feeling hopeless. I have felt all those emotions over the last few months, so sometimes I have to just sit back and wait and redirect my focus.

The thing to remember is that while a maze is designed to confuse, it is also like a labyrinth, a tool for meditation. Sometimes you are meant to walk the path because while you do so, you also become clearer with regard to your original plan and/or you gain more insights or clarity into the situation you are dealing with. What may seem to be wasted time, can actually be seen as experiences that only serve to strengthen your intentions by serving to show you what you do not want and help you to see that change will usually not come until you are ready for it. In my case, I had been looking for a new home because our current home has never really 'fit' our lifestyle or needs in the way I would like it. I can't seem to get organized as I would like, there's a lot of traffic and noise on our street and I have had a constant tendency to create clutter in our closets, in our bedrooms and other living spaces, as well as in our attic. Despite what I know about the energy of space, I just cannot seem to get organized or keep things neat the way I would like to. So I have been spending a great deal of time looking at other homes and properties in search of the right one.

What I realized in this seemingly endless search for the 'perfect home' is that I will not find what I am looking for until I have dealt with my current home and it's circumstances because I will just carry those patterns with me if I do not address them here. I cannot take my clutter with me and I cannot miraculously find I home where I will become organized until I address why I have clutter in the first place. Why is my closet a mess and what am I holding onto? Why do I having furnishings in my current home that do not work or need repairs or hardware or the right place? Why do I have things in my home that I do not love and find useful? Why do I have clothes that no longer fit me or make me feel good? Why can't I let go of them? These are all questions I have been asking myself.

When you realize that until you address the inner feelings associated with clutter and a disorganized house, you will not find what you are searching for because energetically or vibrationally you are not there yet. You have to be living it and streamlining your current circumstances in order to achieve what you think you want. So, if you keep hitting a wall or walking around in circles like that of a maze or labyrinth, there is a very good reason because you are not clearly aligned with where you are supposed to be.

For me, it took a great deal of househunting and looking at a wide range of homes that were disappointing to realize that what I have may not be perfect, but it sure has come a long way from when we moved here and slowly but surely has been becoming what I want it to be.  Why should I accept less than what I want and compromise with a new home where the previous owners have used less than acceptable materials to remodel their home? Why should I accept a lower standard of quality in my life by moving into someone else's poor choices or mistakes in order to gain a few advantages that I don't have? Rather, I realized, that I was done fixing the mistakes that others had created in their homes both energetically and physically. I was no longer going to accept less than what I wanted and this included in my home. Those remaining steps that I need to take including clearing my clutter and perhaps even building an addition may well be the answer to living in the house that is best suited to our needs right now. As time goes on, I will gain a clearer picture of exactly what steps I need to take next.

Sometimes you can seemingly spin your wheels looking for answers or thinking that you will find something better to suit your needs and sometimes, you need to change your circumstances and environment to create that which you need. The thing to remember is that a maze will eventually lead you to your final destination albeit in a round about way. Those experiences or feelings that you encounter on your path serve to better define your wants and create that which lies at the heart of your desires. You cannot arrive at your destination if you do not set forth and try something one step at a time. Sometimes the path seems endless, but always you arrive somewhere, and it will be exactly where you are meant to be at that particular point in time. Trust that all is well.

Blessings on your journey.



2014 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.








Clear Clutter, Clear the Past

Posted on January 1, 2014 at 11:11 AM Comments comments (6)
"Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again."
--Joseph Campbell

Clearing clutter was never a difficult thing for me to do, as I always kept my home neat and organized with everything in its place.  That was until I became a mother, before I was seriously concerned with environmentalism and before I had such a complex life filled with loads of responsibilities.  It was also before technology reached the point it's at today and before being on the internet had become an integral part of my life.  It's easy to keep your space clear when you lead a simple life and you live alone, but what about when you're handling multiple tasks on a daily basis and you have a family of humans (or animals) to take care of?  Then the challenge becomes much more daunting.
 
We also live in times that are fast paced and filled with chaos and uncertainty.  How do you cope with the constant barrage of emails, personal and professional challenges, as well as things that we as humans acquire over the course of our lives? And how do you balance the need for utility versus things that you love?  How do you justify throwing things out when you know that you can reuse them in more creative ways or they will become useful again, if and when you move into that perfect house? Believing that the home you are currently living in is just temporary does not help matters.  It may be because of your job or because your current home doesn't have the plot of land your truly want or just because your dreams are to live in another region at some point of your life.  The real question is how does it make you feel right now?  That is what matters most because it's affecting your energy and the way you live your life in this present moment.   
 
There was a time when I was very hard on my clients immediately pointing out areas of clutter in their home which resulted in stagnation and negative energy in their lives.  It was so easy for me to do because I was the observer and the analyst.  Much has changed since then, in particular, my lifestyle and what is important to me.  But what about walking my talk now?  So, I've been taking serious inventory of how I live my life and what areas need improvement.  The process has been exhausting and sometimes even overwhelming.  I have been shocked at times at how far I've let my living and organizational standards go simply because I've been too busy, have had too many fires to put out and just got caught up in the mundane activities of life. Sometimes I've just been exhausted and needed to do something that pleased my soul and physical body.  Those were times I would simply ignore all that needed to be done.
 
The key to tackling seemingly overwhelming clutter is to deal with it one step at a time.  Your home (or your situation) didn't get to the point it's at overnight and so you can't expect to change it overnight.  You can, however, address your clutter fairly quickly if you just keep chipping away at the issue, one piece at a time.  Each day I'd work on my clutter in some manner and every day I got closer to my goal.  I continue to do this, one area at a time.  A big challenge for me this past autumn was how do I get my car back in my garage for the winter with all the clutter I had stacked inside?  Being a gardener, it was filled with all sorts of tools and supplies.  At one point I truly thought I'd never be able to deal with all the things  I'd accumulated in time before the cold weather set in, but I did.  

Clearing this clutter involved several layers of planning which ultimately improved the quality of my life.  I also went through a very intense internal process that included a lot of foresight and planning to achieve my goals.  It felt so much better once I put my plan into motion and saw the results.  I think back now and wonder how I could have put up with this clutter for as long as I did and wonder how I could have held onto so many things.  I know that part of this was that I always planned to do more activities which ultimately I never had time for.  Investing in a huge shed which I turned into a studio was part of my organizational plan and it made a big difference because we were able to organize our tools, gardening supplies, as well as materials for future projects.
 
Clutter is stagnant energy in your home and it can truly affect your mindset.  It brought my energy and perspective down every day as I looked at my clutter filled spaces.  Sometimes I just chose to ignore them, but inside it really bothered me because I knew it wasn't acceptable to who I truly am.  I had strayed simply because I had been pressed for time and other things had to be addressed.  Now I have more time, but I also had to make the time to address the problem areas. Although I began this process in the fall, winter months can actually be a great time to deal with clutter because we're indoors more and we are affected by the energy more readily.
 
In November I attended a breakfast meeting where I asked the instructor how do we address our challenges these days and find the time to do all the things we need to do and those that are important to us.  I told her of my overwhelm which I felt quite often.  Her response was to create a to do list which you review every day and then you eliminate 5 things that just aren't so important.  I thought this sounded simple enough, but it still didn't address doing the things I loved which at times seemed trivial.  To that she replied that what made me feel good is well worth the time because it puts you in a different space-- one of joy. That's really what matters on a daily basis and it will get you through the challenging times.

I bought her book that day and later read about a similar question that was addressed in a slightly different way. The response was to each night speak to your higher self and make a mental note of all the things you need to do the next day and then you simply turn it over before you go to sleep.  During the day you will find that your attention will be focused exactly where it needs to be and the rest is not so important. Not surprisingly, I have found this process to be quite effective and I've found myself to have more clarity and direction (when I remember to take the time to do this).
 
At this point I am still addressing my clutter, one room at a time and sometimes only one closet or drawer at a time, but I am truly feeling the difference in how I approach my day and how I manage my activities and responsibilities on a regular basis.  I can sense how the energy of the house is changing and aligning more with who I am and how I intend my life to me.  And yes, I still have days where I seem to accomplish nothing and everything piles up, but I know there's always tomorrow to get back on track.

Clutter issues are significant because they reflect innermost feelings and beliefs about ourselves, our lives and our future.  It's easy to dwell on the past and unpleasant memories if you are surrounded by constant reminders that you subconsciously associate with unhappy or stress filled times. Releasing things that you no longer find useful or enjoy creates the space for new energies to come in, thereby setting the foundation for change and the manifestation of your goals.  Creating your own sacred space is part of letting go of the past, releasing that which no longer serves you and creating a new future.
 
New Year's Blessings of Renewal!
 
2014 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 

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