Last week we packed up the babe and moved to a hotel for a few nights while contractors gave our home a face-lift. After nearly seven years, the paint in several rooms was showing its age, some light fixtures had become dated, and the woodwork was worn. To prepare, we emptied shelves, pushed furniture to the center of the rooms, and removed artwork from the walls. When we returned to our "new" space we were wary of damaging the freshly painted walls and opted to wait for the weekend to put things back in order.
During the few days the walls remained bare, I realized how accustomed I had become to the whereabouts of everything from clocks to mirrors to artwork. On more occasions than I can count, I found myself trying to check the time on a clock that wasn't in its place. More often than I care to admit, I reflexively glanced toward a mirror only to remember it wasn't there. The effect was somewhat disorienting, but also liberating. Not being able to see the clock while sitting at the dining room table enabled me to focus more on the meal and people with whom I was sharing it than whether we were staying on schedule. Sitting in different places throughout the house enabled me to see my surroundings from new angles and sparked creativity about other ways we might use our space.
We so often operate on autopilot as we move through our days. When we instead give ourselves permission to pause before we proceed, we make it possible to gain a fresh perspective on a familiar situation. Rather than continue to do and see things they way they have always been, can you stop and wait? What might you see differently?