Living in a small space with your dearly beloved is bound to be challenging sometimes. We are two very different people with moods, habits, our preferred ways to do things. For the most part, we work it out. After all, we have 27 years of practicing. But actually we don’t do things the same way we did the first time we lived together.
We’ve had so much time and space living alone since then to develop our own habits and ways to do things, but, for the most part, we compromise without much discussion.
But there is one thing that she does that drives me absolutely crazy. She does not rinse her dishes, and then everything crusts and hardens and I have to work twice as hard to clean them.
I rinse my knives after I slice my sandwich, before I sit down to eat it. For me, cleanup is part of the preparation. For Marika, cleanup happens when there are enough dishes to wash them all at the same time. And then she’ll soak everything first, then wash.
I have no time for pre-soaking, especially since, if they had been cleaned after use, you wouldn’t NEED to.
Different strokes. I get it.
This afternoon, I reached for the knife on the cutting board to slice some strawberries, and was greeted by a congealed smear of mayonnaise. Instead of saying something, I groaned and took a deep breath, wiped off the knife and got a clean one from the drawer. And she said, “What, my mayonnaise knife?” I couldn’t help myself. “So if you know it’s gonna crank me, why don’t you just wipe it off?”
Before she could respond I realized, out loud, “You know, it doesn’t matter. It’s not about the mayonnaise.” I started crying. “I just need to not let it get me so damn cranky.”
So I’m going to try a new response, like “No problem,” or “Gosh, I love her!” And see if I can shift the energy around this.
Because life is not about changing another person. It’s about accepting what is and finding ways to be grateful.
And it’s about the mirror effect. Usually, if something about another person is bugging me, I know that it’s really something about myself that I need look at.
This week, I’ve been especially grumpy all over, not able to feel joy or appreciation, even out in nature among towering rock formations. And I realize I have settled into a bit of complacency with my life again, like I did before my open heart surgery nine years ago.
Yes, look at all I’ve done and changed since then. And yes, this traveling life IS pretty darn good. But I know there is more for me to be doing, sharing, and learning. It’s time for me to stretch a bit past this comfortableness and spend some time at the edges.
Of course, I’ve been using my book, Heart Sparks, to begin the shifts and changes. And when it gets really uncomfortable I am remembering to lean in, not run away. Some days I do better than others. And on the not so great days, I try to be as kind and gentle with myself as possible. Because I know that amazing things are waiting for me on the other side.
I’ll be leading an intimate online Heart Sparks group for women who, like me, are ready for what’s next. Details coming. Email me if you want to be the first to know.