Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ch-ch-ch-ch-CHANGES ...

(with a thank you to David Bowie.)


What compels you to change, and towards what are you aiming? You could talk about what religious (or non-religious) figures inspire you, about what tools you use to help yourself change, and what role you think god and the church might have to do with this change?


I have found that the most powerful source for personal change is external events. Of course, I doubt I would have written that last year at this time. Cynically, I can point to how often we make our resolutions ... lose weight, get a better job, read Proust ... but often what propels us is an event. A husband leaves. A class reunion looms. A boss takes all the credit for your big project.

Contentment can be a very dangerous thing, as it may keep us from pushing ourselves to improve, to strive toward a dream. Discomfort -- economic, self-consciousness, whatever -- is good sauce for change.

Before last January, I probably would have said something about how events occur precisely because we need to change. I know that on more than one occasion I said something along the lines of "if you're not doing what you should, God will happily give you a kick in the ass to get things going."

Your child gets cancer = inability to go along with that. For me, anyway. Because if that's true, then, that everything happens for a reason, that God has a master plan to make you change, then ... wait ...

So, if I am going to change because of my child getting cancer ... and this is happening for a reason ... then God gave my child cancer to get me to change???

"What a freakin' asshole!"

Pardon my blasphemy. I don't believe that God is an asshole and I don't believe that God makes things happen to effect change.

Moving on ...

The three questions -- what figures inspire me, what tools I use, what role is that of god/church: well, slap my butt and call me a housewife, but the person whom I have personally seen change the most people (and for the better) is a self-described chubby little lady who calls herself "Flylady." She wound up creating a tool to help others -- a mailing list and her website -- and she does all of that for free, because she feels it is her mission from God. (Any slippage into Blues Brother accent is purely accidental.)

So what is this magical change she causes?

Well, you can call it learning how to be organized, or keep your house clean, or take care of yourself, but in her words, it's from the acronym FLY -- Finally Loving Yourself.

She teaches people to love themselves by taking care of themselves, one babystep at a time. Your very first step, believe it or not, is to shine your kitchen sink. Even if you have to take all the dirty dishes out of it, and stack them on the counter, first you shine your sink. And you make a commitment to shine it every night before you go to bed.

Simple? Yes. Effective? Well, I believe her mailing list just topped 300,000 members with no advertising. Every day, people send her "testimonials" about how she has changed lives, marriages, kept CPS from taking their kids, encouraged those in abusive relationships to leave.

Her theology is not mine. Occasionally, she sounds too old-fashioned in role proscription for my taste. But she helps people change for the better.

And I'm not just a hair club fan, I'm also a client. Hat off to you, FlyLady. I humbly give you the award for being a Matthew 25:35 Christian.


UU Soul said...

I do sometimes feel like the universe/god/dess is giving me a message, but I also think that some things are just random. I'll never believe that something bad happening to a child is part of a plan.

The FlyLady does seem helpful. I've been wishing for a next-generation version of her though. Let me know if you ever see one!

Boobless Brigade Master said...

Yeah...I tried the FlyLady thing about 4 years back. Made a special binder/notebook for myself and my neighbor in an attempt to help us both better ourselves. Didn't last very long though.
I found what worked wonders, was when my husband left. Come to find out, he and all the shit he left lying around was the reason my house was so cluttered! house may not always be perfectly clean but it's always, always presentable should company drop by. Oh...and I still clean the sink every night before going to bed.

Nancy said...

My obsession with FlyLady and cleaning is probably on the unhealthy side. It's my version of an eating disorder, as my house is the only thing I can control anymore. This house SPARKLES with relatively little work, and I think people are actually alarmed by it when they visit.

But -- I don't feel overwhelmed by clutter on my blue days, and there is the scent of dinner in the Crock Pot wafting up the stairs along with the sound of tumbling laundry in the dryer. It makes me feel cared for, even if I am doing 15 minutes of work myself here and there. On days I don't feel like loving myself, I am on auto pilot and care for myself anyway. That can't be all bad.