A Support System For Your Life

by Cara Polk


Do you see your physical environments as only the places where you live or work? If so, let me suggest another possibility.

Rather than just a home or an office, begin thinking of your space as a  support system for your life.

Let me explain.  Years ago, I had an experience that changed my life. I hope my story will spark an "ah-ha!" for you.

After several surgeries and months of chemo, I was trying to put the pieces of my life back together. I reasoned that a good psychologist might be able to help me make sense of what had happened.

One afternoon when I arrived for my appointment, that therapist gave me a homework assignment I will never forget. He suggested I make over my bedroom.

"Make over my bedroom," I thought to myself. "Is this guy nuts? I just finished chemo. I don't have time or energy for anything like this!"

I could not imagine what his odd assignment could possibly have to do with healing the physical and emotional scars of my illness. He didn't bother explaining his motives, nor would I have understood them if he had.

A week later, I was half-heartedly clearing the contents of my bedroom in preparation to paint when suddenly I became aware of something I'd never noticed before.

My briefcase had apparently taken up residence at the foot of my bed. A huge stack of technical reference books was serving as my night stand. Notebooks, pens, pencils, and various computer equipment littered the room.

It wasn't like I had no other place to work. I had not only a home office across the hall but I also had an office in the corporate office building where I worked. What on earth was going on here?

As I studied the situation, a light  slowly began to dawn. Somehow, without me noticing, my life had swung terribly out of balance.

Standing there in my bedroom that day, It became clear to me that my career, NOT MYSELF, had been the obvious priority for a couple of years leading up to cancer. The clues were all there. How could I have missed them?

Although I didn't fully understand the  significance of my discovery, I did feel greater motivation to move ahead with my makeover assignment.

So, I banished the tech books and work gear to my office where they belonged and turned my attention to the closet.

There in plain sight hung the business suit I was wearing the day I was told I had cancer. And right below it were the letters from my former beau who turned out to be a jerk. And there was more - much more. 


Why had I surrounded myself with stuff that gave me no joy, and in some cases, actually brought emotional pain? It was a question that had never occurred to me until that moment.

So, out went the business suit and the old letters and anything else I didn't love. That very day, I vowed to fill my closet with clothes and accessories that made me feel fabulous,

I then turned my attention to the walls. My eyes landed on the hideous wallpaper left by a former tenant. It had annoyed me every single day for years yet still I had put up with it. Why?

Still pondering that question, I climbed the ladder and began ripping the wallpaper down. It felt empowering beyond description -- like yelling, "NO! NO! NO!" to every condition in my life I was no longer willing to tolerate.

And, later, as I was stroking fresh paint on the walls, it felt as if I were applying a healing, therapeutic salve to my own body.

In those days, I knew nothing about Feng Shui but, by a stroke of luck, I relocated my bed to a more restful spot away from the door. I then bought the most luscious comforter and sheets my budget would allow.

I also added a night stand, reading lamp, new curtains, and most importantly, some special touches that made me feel pampered -- essential oils, candles, healthy plants, and my grandmother's beautiful crystal candy dish filled with dark chocolate! 

By the time my room makeover was complete, I was beginning to figure out what my therapist had known all along -- that our physical environments are extensions of ourselves.

By carrying out his assignment to nurture my SPACE, I had demonstrated to him, myself, and The Universe that I was ready to accept responsibility for nurturing MYSELF.

 Read more inspirational stories


Would you like my help turning YOUR space into a support system? If so, I've created two 4-week workshops that replicate the therapist assignment I carried out in my own space. Both are loads of fun and "action-oriented" meaning you apply what you learn to your own space as the class progresses. See if one of these might be right for you!  --Cara 

Change Your Space, Change Your Life!

Transform Your Home Into A Support System




@2005 Living Well Designs  @2002 Spicy Spaces . All Rights Reserved