It was inevitable that as soon as the finish line came into sight, that I would injure myself. I never listen to my body when it’s screaming at me to slow down, I guess I’ve been raised to push myself, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but maybe we can go into it a little more here.
I wanted to write more about the personal journey of this tiny house build, you know, take a deeper look at the real expansion that occurs when putting yourself through difficult situations. But as if building a tiny house wasn’t enough already, trying to document the emotional challenges and personal growth that occurs was asking too much. However, the lessons have certainly been there for me, I just haven’t expressed them yet.
More than a house!
I knew when I began this project, that it was not simply going to be a physical challenge, but that there were going to be mental and emotional challenges to work through too.
Aside from the obvious areas in which you expect to grow, there are many hidden messages and opportunities for personal growth available to you if you are able to stay present and witness them. There’s too many to list in this small post here, but as an example, we can perhaps briefly touch on a few.
Now, not every single person that builds a tiny house will have the same revelations or awakenings; as everyones childhood and life experiences have been very different. We all have different feelings and needs and different parts of us that we have disowned or neglected, or shunned, but by being open to growth and expansion we can learn to re-integrate these parts and develop as a human being.
I’m far from perfect, and I obviously will never be so, it’s an impossibility, but I have at least been able to take more from this project than simply learning some building techniques!
- Learning to ask for help – I wrote about this early on. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to ask for help. The ego side of me can be too proud to ask for assistance and feels like a failure when doing so. Relinquishing this control can allow us to see that people can be there for us when we need them. It’s about trusting in others, rather than not trusting in yourself.
- The need to achieve – This has come up many times in different guises. The first time I noticed this, was in my inability to keep my tools organized and in my tool belt. I would do a job, then instead of putting the tool back into the belt, I would toss it on the floor, then when I came to use it again, I couldn’t find it and would spend a couple of minutes looking for it. This made me connect to my desire to get things done quickly, yet resulted in actually slowing me down. This bleeds into the following point.
- Focusing on one thing at a time – I am easily distracted, but having recently read an awesome book entitled, “Meet me in hard to Love places” by Eric Bowers, I realise now, that my ‘distraction’ is simply a way of avoiding certain feelings and emotions in the right hemisphere of the brain. It turns out that I am left hemisphere dominant and feel more comfortable when ‘doing’ things. When things get tough, I don’t want to feel the sensations (right brain) of failure or incompetence , so I shift gears and work on something else. This can be great to maintain momentum, but it also can create a scattered work environment. It also keeps me in my left brain of ‘doing’ and ‘distraction’ and causes a disconnect between the left and right brain.By giving myself empathy when I am unable to complete a task, and really exploring why I feel anger or upset in those moments, has really allowed me to integrate and accept where I am at and what my true deeper needs are.
- Confidence in oneself – Building a house is no easy task. There have been a few times where I’ve wanted to run away, cry, or throw things. These moments are where I have felt a lack of confidence, or a lack of competence. Bringing back memories of school report cards, “Alan could do better, if he applied himself“, “Alan must try harder“, and words of ‘encouragement’, that have been integrated negatively, such as when getting an ‘A’ in something, but then being asked why it was not an A+.Being overly criticised can lead to a lack of confidence, but then again, being overly praised could also lead to a false confidence. It’s all about learning to integrate your own emotions and feelings and dealing with what’s in front of you at any given moment.
We can’t always have the knowledge necessary to complete a task and perhaps we don’t always have the energy to start or finish something in any given moment, but we can learn to feel into what’s alive for us right now and tune in to what we really need in that moment. Sometimes by stepping back and being gentle on ourselves we can develop a confidence in our own abilities as time progresses. And being able to look back on our progress with fresh eyes can allow us to see what we are truly capable of.
So, as you can see, there are many opportunities for growth when building a tiny house. I’m grateful for the support of my wife, family and friends, as without them, these challenges could have been even harder.
We often don’t give enough credit or attention to our feelings. Society has constantly pushed us to achieve and to be productive, forcing us to neglect our feelings and pushing us to endure hard times and simply ‘get on with it’. But by neglecting these emotions, we have suppressed a lot of energy and have created an invisible undercurrent of unspoken feelings that surface in disease or injury when we suppress them long enough.
The meaning behind my Injury
It is because of this suppression I mention above that I have injured my rib.
I have not been listening to my emotions, and have been neglecting my needs. The ‘pressure‘ I have been putting upon myself to complete my house before a certain time manifested in the literal ‘pressure‘ I applied to my ribs whilst leaning over the tailgate of my truck. I was rushing around, literally putting pressure on myself to the point where something in my ribcage popped. My body had been telling me, and so had my wife, but I refused to listen.
My ego told me that I could ‘do better‘.
The ‘A’ could be an A+.
If I just ‘applied myself‘, I could get this house done by the deadline I’d set for myself.
Neglecting my body’s need to slow down and breathe, sent a clear message to my ribs and lungs. Each time I take a deep breath now, I feel pain. I am reminded to take deep breaths and to slow down.
More to Come
This is by no means an exhaustive list, there’s a bunch more piling up in my brain as I sit here and I could probably write an e-book on the trials and tribulations of building a Tiny House (maybe I will) but for now, I wanted to take a moment to express the deeper lessons of building a Tiny House, as I feel that writing these things down, is a part of the healing process and an equally exciting part of the Tiny House Journey.
It’s never too late to learn and evolve.