I guess it is finally time for me to address this issue, as the pain has become unbearable. Not actual physical pain, but the pain of disrepair and neglect, especially when juxtaposed against my nice new granite patio. What began life as a functional wooden storage shed in the early 1990’s, has become an unbalanced, cluttered, disorganized receptacle of “all things outdoor- functional or not”, visibly in need of attention! How did I let it get this bad?
As I reflect honestly, I can recall a time in life when the 4’X8’ wooden shed was erected on our property. I was so proud! It was so nice and new, with shiny hinges and two welcoming doors which worked beautifully to protect the outdoor treasures tucked neatly inside. All my garden utensils and tools were handy and safe- right next to my potting table. I was in heaven and loved the convenience and organization- everything had a place and was protected. That lasted about 2 years…
Over the ensuing years it has become the dumping ground of all things rejected from sight in my garden, yet not so bad as to release to the trash bin. “I just MIGHT need that someday”, I would say… “those old cushions aren’t really that bad… perhaps the kids can use them”, and so on. Today, I honestly don’t even know WHAT is inside the shed. The doors have long since fallen off, so I got crafty and replaced them for about 5 years with a roll-up shade (which has since worn out). It was a “Band-Aid” fix on a larger problem, but at least it worked for a while. Now, my shed is merely a neglected shell of its prior self, with a leaking roof, unbalanced floor, and rotted inner floor boards.
Does this sound familiar?
Perhaps a little like our bodies? We were given these AMAZING pristine nascent receptacles to hold our souls during our human experience; what did we do to them over the years? Even IF the outside still looks “fine” it’s the inside that holds all the old debris (like my shed) that we simply can’t seem to release. But why? Especially when we know (intellectually) that holding on to things that no longer serve us is unhealthy… we have a hard time “letting go”.
I am tackling this shed project, much as I am tackling my human project… Bravely throwing open the doors to let some air inside; making space for the Chi to start flowing again. Wow, it’s dark and musty in here… where’s the light? Oh no, there IS no light switch- what am I to do? Look to nature and peek inside during daylight hours when I can see clearly without being scared by “the dark”. That’s great, but why ARE we so afraid of the dark? It has safely hidden all our old crap for so many years, I guess it’s just easier to “let it be” instead of stirring up “trouble”. I just don’t have the time right now. If I just don’t look inside, I won’t have to deal with it… but that’s NOT really true, is it?
Listening to the Pain
Every day I walked by the shed, I noticed the disarray and it made me uncomfortable- “That’s not like me to let things “go”; maybe next weekend, or after THIS other project is done. No worries, I’ll deal with it soon. That was my plan when it was first built and newly primed. My first mistake was NOT doing the basic care it needed upon arrival- I never painted the shed. The primer was a nice neutral color, so that should be fine; at least for a while. By the time life settled down and I thought to paint it, the wood had started showing signs of damage. However, instead of making the shed a priority and cleaning up the damaged areas to paint it, I just continued to deny the problem and the wood got worse.
This happens to us all the time, in our bodies. That little mole that changed, doesn’t really look that bad, I’m sure it’s fine… Oh, and that cough and blood, no worries… how about continuing to stuff ourselves with “food like products” and expecting our engines to run properly. We put the right gas/ oil into our lawn equipment, yet refuse to do the same for our most sacred equipment, our bodies.
The painful feeling that I experienced each time I looked at my shed, was temporarily silenced by focusing on another “more important” project at the time. These delays and distractions just caused things to get worse and mostly without my conscious awareness. I have now taken the time and made space to deal with this longstanding “issue” in a healthy way, before it gets any worse!
PLAN for Shed repair… Health and Sanity!
1. Remove overgrown vines on roof- I’ve got to get the surface clear to assess for damage. Staying hidden, even under nice foliage is not healthy.
2. Cover section of damaged wood on roof- wood/ tarp- Found rotten corner- who knew? Protect and prevent further damage during the transition.
3. Remove old siding in sections (each Thursday- garbage pickup on Friday)- Do only as much “detox- clearing work as you can tolerate… less is more, so I can handle the debris more easily…
4. Empty shed totally; Find safe, covered space for chopped wood and Viable garden tools AND discard all old, rusted, broken items into the garbage… I CAN DO IT! Emptied out sides of the shed Sunday (Pentecostal release, making room for Spirit to return). Even lit incense to purify the area. Hanging shutters to protect and beautify the transitional shed.
5. Assess 2×4 framing- Is it still viable? What stability repairs are needed?
6. Assess flooring; level the shed if assessed as “viable”, and create new, SOLID foundation!
7. Allow shed to remain open and free of “stuff” for 1-2 weeks- Let Chi flow freely and allow Spirit time to guide me to healthiest use of this new space!
8. Redesign shed based on form and function with guidance from Spirit as above- (lattice, clear roof, old windows instead of siding?) … Let my natural creativity shine!
Progress… Not Perfection!
So, here we are early June and I am happy to report that I’m well into #3 of my plan. It seems that this picture looks a bit worse than the first one (with all the nice vines on the roof). However, I am calling this my “healing crisis” when things tend to get spun up a bit during the clearing, before the dust settles on a clear new path. Only by opening FULLY can we see what is hidden in the deepest, darkest recesses of our “storage sheds”, and finally FEEL… and Release all the stuff that no longer serves us.
Please note, as I am going through all the stored items, I am lovingly assessing whether I can use them NOW in a healthy way. For example, the slightly rusted garden tools with the dry wooden handles- I will be brushing off the rust with a nice wire brush and applying oil for protection (give them a new life). IF, however, they are beyond repair, they will be thanked & discarded with a “lesson learned…
In my opinion, it’s all about learning the lessons. Take care of the things that matter in life (body, family, shelter, tools, community and spirit), and the rest will fall into place, much more easily. We just must be BRAVE enough to unearth the hidden junk, deal with it in a loving manner, and protect/ share the gifts we have been so graciously given in life…