Breaking Down Walls When A Sledgehammer Won’t Do

Yesterday morning I walked down the hallway from our bedroom to make coffee like I do most mornings leaving my husband John behind to sleep a bit longer. The path into the kitchen is not straight forward and as I stepped from the hallway onto the landing and then back through another door into the kitchen, I thought about how by the end of the day, the wall blocking easy access from the hall to kitchen would be gone.

And then just like that I went from visualizing breaking down physical walls to thinking about the emotional walls people sometimes put up and how I deal with them. Frankly, even I think that’s too much for a 6:00 am wake-up and certainly too much for me to be mulling before my first cup of coffee, but I couldn’t help myself.

Some of you already know that I grew up in a home of extremes, a place where my memories until I was 14 alternated between silence and shouting, and anger was meted out in harsh physical ways by raging adults who didn’t bother to hold back. Once I was safely out of my mother’s house and living with my dad and step-mom, my mother cut off all communication with me. I’m not sure there’s a bigger wall than a total lack of communication unless it’s death.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time and money learning how to break down the protective walls I used to put up. They serve no useful purpose after a time and much like the convoluted path from our hall to kitchen, it’s a waste of energy.

Not all barriers can be overcome, but given the right approach and commitment, the results can be obvious.

There are times when a committed attempt to chip away at an unnecessary wall will yield good results given the use of focused energy and proper tools.

One person can only do so much on their own and progress can be slow, but once a breakthrough occurs it may be difficult for the person on the other side to turn their back on the possibility of letting in the light.

Breaking down walls is hard dirty work. You use muscles that you may not have worked with in the past and even with progress towards a common goal, things might appear slightly cloudy at different points.

You may find you feel boxed in and think it better to try to climb over the wall taking a shortcut to a place where it feels easier to move and breathe.

But then you realize that breaking down walls can be easier when you work in tandem with someone else and when both people are committed to the outcome, the results can be seen much faster.

It’s good to know ahead of time that there will still be rough edges to smooth out after the walls are cleared away.

Decisions will usually still need to be made afterwards as you consider which doors you’ll walk through and which you’ll close off.

As you finish for the day, you’ll feel amazed by how much more open things are without the wall and you’ll remember that until it wasn’t until you tired of walking around it that you realized it did not have to be there forever.

Who knew that renovation could be a form of therapy … perhaps there’s a new business model in all that dust.

5 thoughts on “Breaking Down Walls When A Sledgehammer Won’t Do

  1. I am constantly amazed at how different things can appear after looking at them in a new way …and how long it takes me sometimes to see what a different way might be like.

    It seems to me Elizabeth, that your 6 am musings are full of fruit and insight. Carry on!

    PS – my thought when I saw the last pic was ‘let there be light’ ..,and there was!

  2. What strikes me about these bigger projects is how, once the big first few steps are taken, how quickly you get used to the new look and feel, when before they started, imagining anything different from what was there and especially something BETTER, seemed almost impossible. Did you see Seth Godin’s post on the same idea in the last few days? He was definitely coming at it from the idea of ‘change your view, it’ll change your life’, and it made me think of you. If you can’t find it, give me a shout and I’ll dig around for it.
    Happy dusty weekend…Mx

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