It’s time to move the furniture. I mean this both literally and figuratively. A few weeks ago, our family rearranged our living room furniture. We’d had the same set up for the last ten years. And, I’d been bemoaning the lack of cozy spaces in our home for the last five. Our dog did us the favor of forcing our hand. He chewed a huge hole in our couch. We lived with that massive hole for a good year, but then we finally cried, “Uncle.” We moved the couch out to the garage and rearranged our remaining couch, chairs and coffee table. We brought a chair up from the downstairs; and without specific intention, we freed up the space in our living room and the den.
Turns out we didn’t need to remodel to get the environment we were looking for. We didn’t need to trade what we had for something new. We didn’t need additional furniture. We just needed to rearrange what was there. We needed to open up the space to create what we wanted. We needed to shift stuff around, to free up the area to allow the changes we wanted to take place. And this goes just as well for all of our personal relationships.
We had created a formal set up in our house. It looked nice, but It was restrictive and limiting. It dictated our behavior. the layout set the emotional tone and the physical functional environment for the use of the room. We never sat in there, and when we did it wasn’t relaxed or comfortable. We didn’t enjoy living with these limitations, but we failed to see that we had created them. Since we opened up the space and shifted things around, we are truly living in our living room. All of us. We are connecting every evening. We are playing games and talking to each other. We are together in our individual activities and participating as a group on a daily basis. We are having fun and enjoying the new level of intimacy.
The structure of the our living room, the system we established and operated in, dictated the manner in which we interacted and related. Our personal relationships get stuck in the very same ways. We establish restrictive patterns through repetitive actions and reactions. Habits of behaving and responding develop. Restrictions and limitations are set from the way we have and continue to act and participate with one another. We unintentionally set tight rules for behavior and restrictive modes of interacting. And through history they become fixed without us even noticing.
So, walk through your living space, and notice the constructs you have created. Then, walk through the living areas you’ve created in your most important relationships and notice those constructs. Where are the walls and furniture? Are those boundaries supporting the relationship’s ability to thrive, or hindering it? What do the rooms look and feel like? Are they producing the experiences you want to have?
Now, move the furniture! Move things around and open up the space. Try something new in action or response. Do something different and see what happens. Let the walls come down and go outside (this time, metaphorically.) Create small shifts – have a different conversation, play a game, tell a joke, reach out in a new way. Every small shift creates an expansive opening and freedom for everyone involved to try something new, different and better. This allows you to have more fun, more connection, more stability or more excitement. It creates the space for you to have more of whatever it is you crave and desire. Shift the “stuff” and break the chains of predetermination. Break the chain reaction of constancy. Whether you were aware of it or not, you once created this predictable “living room” your relationship is now residing in. And now, with a little conscious intention, you can quite easily free things up, redesign and enjoy your new home.