We’ve lived in our home for ~13 years. The kitchen and dining area walls have displayed the same wallpaper since the day we moved in. Wallpaper with fruit on it, if you can imagine. Over the years, the paper had peeled in places and collected a variety of stains “creatively” left by children, pets, and living.
Over the years, friends had nudged me to strip the wallpaper. Yet, I never followed through. I would often complain about the wallpaper, but never put my discontent in motion. Again, friends would encourage me and even volunteer to help, “How ‘bout I come over and help you strip that wallpaper?” Still, I could not move forward, as if stuck in the very glue that adhered the wallpaper. Recently, I received a text from a dear friend, “You stripped that wallpaper yet?” Sigh. What was going on with me? What was preventing me taking down the wallpaper?
Reflecting on my life since moving into our home, I realized how stuck I was. I revisited my pattern of tentatively asking for what I wanted, indirectly, and then retreating when I wasn’t heard or the response I received wasn’t what I wanted. I reflected on the resentment, bitterness, even anger that I harbored…and yet, I was the one not speaking clearly, honestly, and directly. I was so fearful of conflict, consequences, and repercussions that I gave away my power and voice. I, like the walls beneath the wallpaper, was hiding. Enough of that!
The wallpaper came down. Why did it take years to remove wallpaper that came down in mere hours? Spray the gel on, wait a few minutes, peel the paper away in sheets. It was that easy, and with little mess, only a few aches and pains the next day. So, why did it take so long?”
Change takes as long as it takes. Growth, transformation, change, rebirth, renovation, or what ever you prefer to call it, is a unique and individual process. I’ve been “renovating” for years. Some of my renovations have been skillfully crafted and some have been more like a wrecking ball. Recent renovations have inspired several enlightening “ah-ha” moments that coincided with stripping wallpaper.
As I peeled away the paper, I felt as if I was shedding layers of false fears, and ineffective mindsets. I felt empowered, energized, and free. I felt damn good!
Stuffing the paper into the trash bag, I noticed its weight. It was heavy! To think that the walls had been supporting all that weight for years. I reflected again on all that I had carried through my life. For years, I had carried weight that I could have shed as simply as stripping wallpaper.
Once I gave myself permission to challenge my sticky mindsets and fears, I felt the adhesive give. Layers of frustration, resentment, pain, and anguish gave way, as my perspective shifted.
If you’re ready to strip wallpaper and do some personal renovating, numerous resources exist for wallpaper removal, and for shifting mindsets and fear. Find what works for you. My experience is that if you don’t have the right tools and materials, you won’t follow through with the project.
Keep it simple. I used a gel remover, a paintbrush, and a plastic scrapper. The same holds true for my personal renovating. Writing, yoga, and meditation are my preferred tools. They loosen the glue and inspire ongoing renovation. Again, decide what tools work for you. Most important is that you decide and put your decision into action.
It’s really about being the architect of your life, which begins with paying attention to you! We’re eager to draft and design everyone else, and yet, rarely give focused attention to ourselves.
Here’s how my personal renovating process generally flows using my preferred tools:
Recognize mindsets and fears.
We all know when a renovation is needed. Toss out denial and get real with yourself. How many times are you going to walk by your own wallpaper before deciding to take action?
Pay attention to thoughts and thinking.
Get clear about what your mind is chattering about: perceptions, assumptions, judgments, and mindsets. Notice patterns and themes in your thinking. What are they telling you?
Pay attention to feelings and emotions.
Connect with your feelings and emotions, particularly as they relate to your thoughts and thinking. Where are you experiencing the feelings and emotions in your body? Our bodies tell us a lot, if we’d only listen. Observe themes and patterns. What is your body telling you?
Pay attention to actions.
Check your behaviors in light of your thinking and feeling. Those knee-jerk responses and reactions are often glued to thoughts and feelings. Notice patterns and themes. What are your behaviors telling you?
Slowing down my response and reaction time has been so gratifying. It allows me to connect with what’s going on inside, check my breathing, and avoid unconscious knee-jerk actions that will not serve others or me well.
Ask the questions.
In a slower, more regulated state, I ask myself questions, such as, “What’s my thinking or feelings really about? What’s my body trying to tell me?” “What basic need is threatened?” “What’s the fear?” “What am I to learn in this moment?”
Once I recognize what’s going on inside me, I can smooth out the wrinkles, practice different ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, then step back and admire my effort.
Stripping wallpaper takes patience. You have to give the remover time to work. Some sheets come down easier than others. Some need a little extra scrapping or a reapplication of adhesive remover. Gentle persistence is a key, while taking breaks, avoiding straining, and celebrating your effort.
Sending you inspiration,