What The Heck is a Change Reaction?

It all begins with some stinky, stained carpet.

After years of living with an elderly dog and then a puppy, the carpet in my small sunroom is trashed. This is the room where I write, and the smell is distracting. (For the record, nearly anything has the power to distract me from writing, but still…) Something has to be done.

So I go to Home Depot to price carpet, then come home and start dragging furniture out of my daughter’s room. That makes sense, right? It does when I realize that I first need to move my desk in order to replace the carpet. And my daughter needs a new desk, so I shove mine into her room and move her desk into the middle of the living room—temporarily of course.

What space! What possibility! Nevermind that the living room looks like a thrift store. It’s as if I’m looking at everything with new eyes. Why is that dry-erase board hanging in the kitchen when I never use it? Why bother having matching end tables when I have one in the bedroom and one in the living room?

I start clearing and rearranging and decluttering and before I know it, I’m surrounded by chaos. Every room has something pulled out of place, all of it part of an elaborate rotation of stuff that I’m masterfully tracking in my head.

Then comes frustration as I uncover a conspiracy of dust bunnies, loose change, and misplaced and mismatched odds and ends in need of containers. Added to that, I wake with a cold.

This is what I call a change reaction: a string of events that threatens to overwhelm and pull the vision out from under me. In this case, it began with my desire to pull out a rug; instead, I’ve ended up flat on my back, surrounded by things I no longer want.

Perusing the website called The Power Path, I find this:

“In times of great change, there is always a period of feeling out of sorts, where some parts have made the change and others are being resistant or trying to catch up. This can result in feeling not quite ‘all there,’ a little spaced out with a sense of not being able to hold onto any thought for too long. Instead of resisting this, take the time just to be in this container of adjustment. It is not always about doing. Sometimes rest is the prescription we need.”

I definitely feel out of sorts, with no choice but to accept that my vision will not be executed as quickly as I’d hoped.

Then a funny thing happens. As I lay there, I start using my imagination to fill in those blank spaces. I feel the urge to shop, to bring in some new things. I feel excited. I realize that I haven’t felt this in a long time. Years ago, when I was a new homeowner, decorating and renovating were constant hobbies. I spent a lot of time thinking about doorknobs and paint colors, or hauling in alley treasures to reclaim or restore. Somewhere, I’d lost that pleasure. I’d arranged my apartment to my liking seven years ago and hadn’t made many changes since.

Allowing a change reaction led me back to a part of myself I’d forgotten; I feel like I’m reclaiming a piece of myself that once brought me joy. And it started with a willingness to live with a blank space, to risk an avalanche of chaos.

It’s a process. For now, my daughter’s room looks great. And I bought myself a new ergonomic stool for the desk I don’t yet have. I have it at my kitchen counter overlooking the sunroom with the stinky carpet—yes, it’s still there.

For now.

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