184: Shut out the world and make a peaceful home

184: Shut out the world and make a peaceful home

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The world out there is sorta crazy and messed up to say the least, and I can’t change that. I can’t fix it all. And I certainly can’t control it.

Know what I do have some control over?

My house.

I want my house to be a place of peace. I want my house to be a home and feel like a refuge. I want my house to be a place where people can relax and exhale. I want coming home to my house to feel like you’ve just been wrapped up in a faded, well-loved quilt and everything is okay.

If you’re out in the world dealing with all the crazy, you need a place where you can go to just be, to breathe, to know it’s going to be okay. But how many people don’t have that? And do you think that maybe feeds into the chaos of the world?

When you can’t deal with what’s going on and you don’t have anywhere to unplug and unwind, you get overwhelmed. What’s worse is that you never get rid of all that overwhelm and it just continues to build. Some people get overwhelmed with the world and find they get stuck in fight or flight—they’re constantly jacked up, walking around half cocked and ready to rock. Other people get overwhelmed and fade into themselves, essentially becoming a bump on a log.

However people choose to deal with the overwhelm, it’s clear they actually can’t deal well with it at all.

What happens when the elementary school teacher can’t deal? Or the nurse can’t deal? Or the Amazon delivery driver can’t deal? What happens when the people out in the world can’t deal with the people out in the world? What does that mean for our community at large?

My husband is a law enforcement officer. He needs to be able to deal. 

People need a place of peace to go home to, not a place that’s just as stressful as life is out there.

First, deal with your house.

Now, I’m not at all saying that I think you should ignore negative things that are going on in your home. I’m also not suggesting that you be unrealistic and walk around with a plastic smile plastered on your face while your home falls down all around you.

What I am saying is this…

If there are issues to deal with in your house, those are the things you should be focusing on. Not what’s happening with the truckers in Canada. Not that America is or isn’t going to follow suit. Not that there was a shooting an hour from your house and you’re waiting for people to start protesting.

You deal with you. You deal with your family in your house first. Because that is what affects you first.

I also think we should be honest that sometimes we invite stress and drama into our homes that doesn’t need to be there. So if your house isn’t a place of peace because of problems you’ve chosen to take on, let’s be adults about that. I mean, why are we worried and stressed out about so many stupid things? Is it because we don’t have enough to do?

Knock it off.

Your home is base camp. Your home is where people recharge. Your home is where people should know they are loved and cared for. 

And I can already hear some people saying, “Well, Amy, you’re home. Of course you can work at making your house a place of peace. You’re there all the time.”

Do not use that for an excuse, you guys. Because you can make someone feel loved and safe and important in 30 seconds, and you can also spend all damn day ignoring someone. So this is not necessarily something that is attached to the fact that I have a thirty second commute to the thing that pays my bills.

12 tips to make your home a place of peace

1. Turn off the news.

Being hyper aware of what’s happening doesn’t change what’s happening, it only changes how much space it rents in your brain.

And yes, I know. Being aware gives you the opportunity to do something to make a difference and change the situation. But how many people actually do? Knowing about it doesn’t mean you did anything about it.

Unless you did. If so, then never mind—this point isn’t for you. But a lot of us need to get very real about what we give the majority of our attention to, and how that affects our home.

2. It’s the little things.

Make a pot of coffee before people get up. Bake something special. Buy that treat they like, just because. Scrape the ice off their windshield, brush the snow off their car, warm their car up for them, just because.

I make coffee and a lunch for my hubby when he leaves for work every night. Not because it’s 1950, but because in our house, it’s important to do nice things for each other because that’s what decent human beings do. And if I’m out in the world dealing with folks who aren’t acting like decent human beings, I sure as hell want to know there are some decent human beings to go home to. And those little things that people do for each other sure are nice reminders that decent people exist in the world.

Sometimes that reminder is what gets us through the day.

3. Get involved.

I hope your family has things they are doing, involved in, and looking forward to. If all you have to talk about together is what’s going on out in the world, you may need to adjust your focus. If for some reason you can’t use your phone/the TV for the next week and can’t keep up with what’s going on out in the world, will you even know what else to talk about? 

4. Try to have a meal together.

There is something about the act of sitting and sharing a meal together that is about more than the food that is served. Sometimes schedules don’t allow for everyone to sit down for a 6 pm meal together every night—ask me how I know—but just because you can’t do it every night doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it any night. Share a meal when you can.

Looking for something to help with conversation? Play a game like “table talk”—make a deck of conversation-starting questions and have someone draw one from the pile at the beginning of the meal.

5. Encourage each other with goals.

Have you ever shared your goals with your family? There is something really neat about actually hearing what your family members want to do, try, build, learn, expand… and then encouraging each other to actually do those things. We made a habit of doing this weekly when my sons were teens and it was really neat. You get to connect in a different way, and there is nothing like being held accountable by the people you share a home with.

6. Stop looking for a reason to fight. 

Some people spend so much time looking for the negative in their partner and their kids that I don’t know if they’d see the good if it stood up and kicked them in the shin. And living in a space that operates like that, with that kind of yuck hanging over everything is not a place you can relax or exhale. It’s not a place you want to go home to. It’s not a place that helps you recharge to head back out into the world.

7. Connect with your partner.

Send a text for no reason. It doesn’t even have to be remotely appropriate. 😉

Make connection the point, and do little things to make that happen. Many years ago for a short time, my hubby and I passed a tiny little notebook back and forth where we’d write “three things I love about you” on each page and leave it on each other’s pillow. It was a nice reminder, and fun to do.

8. Connect with your kids.

There are lots of ways to connect with your kids, but sometimes it starts with just being in the room, available. Not busy. Not always running around doing thirty thousand things like a headless chicken.

Sometimes your kids just need to know you’re there if they need you, or that you’re there when they’re ready.

9. Traditions

Maybe every Saturday morning you make pancakes. Maybe every other Sunday night you sit together and watch a movie. Maybe every time your family plays board games, you have a certain snack you eat. Traditions are the place we can wedge our foot to keep steady while the world is spinning out of control around us. Traditions give us something to hold on to. Make sure you have some to call your own.

10. Stop the machine.

If you don’t have five extra minutes to lay in bed with your spouse under the covers, something needs to change. If you don’t have two minutes to write the post-it note and stick it on the mirror or on the dashboard of the car, something needs to change. Get out of the grind, step away from the same old, do something different, notice what and who is around you in your home.

11. Sit down and listen to each other.

Sometimes we spend more time listening to what’s going on in the world than what’s going on with each other.

Read that again.

12. Sit down and listen to yourself.

In our community, we’ve got a lot of people who have a bit of fire in them. They’ve got that flame and they want to do something, change something, be something, make something. They see when things aren’t right, and they want to fix it. And here is what I have learned. You can let that fire burn inside you, but don’t let the fire burn you up.

If you burn up, you’re no use to your family.

But the world is crazy, Amy! We can’t ignore it!

I think you can be a family that talks about prepping and what would we do and let’s think about this without it becoming your everything. There is a way to approach, “let’s be prepared” without making it a completely stressful, OMG THE WORLD IS ENDING! kind of thing.

Prepping should relieve your stress, not make it worse. 

Make your house the place your family wants to be. Make it a place to come back to. Make it a place of peace, a place of refuge, and a place of escape from the crazy of the world.

Because that is what we all need right now.

— Amy Dingmann, 2-8-22

Replay of livestream with Coffee with Brian: Living Outside the System

Replay of livestream on Toolman Tim’s Workshop: Be Brave Enough to Suck

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