By: Katie Runnels
It is okay to build and then re-build. This is life.
I recently decided to build a doghouse for my dog, Gabriel. I am so glad that I embarked on this building journey; it has been one the most rewarding experiences in my life.
This project is not only great fun, but it is a wonderful life teacher….
Last week I was trying to finish up the house; however some mistakes I had made at the beginning were prohibiting me from finishing the roof. Things were off. I tried to take a shortcut earlier and leave out a few posts at one end; this proved to be a very unwise idea. It did not pay to try and take shortcuts.
I was trying to force something that was fundamentally “off.” At first, I mourned my mistake and thought I just had to live with it (along with all of the criticism from family members). Then a new thought struck me: “You have time. Take it apart and rebuild it.” So I did.
I am still in the process of finishing the doghouse. The good news is that because I took the time to rebuild the parts where I made mistakes, it will be a much studier house
Building the foundation the “right” way, no matter how long it took, gave me a sense of bliss. I was forced to stop rushing and return to the present moment. I truly began to enjoy the journey once again.
Sound crazy? Sound odd? I think so. This is not a value our society promotes. In our society we don’t build and we don’t take our time.
One reason I believe people are not building (anything) is because they are afraid of not being good at it. As we grow older, we think, “I’m not good at that.” So, we don’t build at all…
The truth is, maybe we are horrible at it! That is not the point. The point is in order to create anything in our life, we have to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. We have to be willing to do something even though we don’t really know what we are doing. We have to “step out on a limb” (so to speak). The fun is in the process. Sure, the outcome of our product is somewhat important–but there will be no outcome if there is no process.
Gabe’s house is not not complete yet, but he is enjoying it, nonetheless. Further, when it is complete, it will be more beautiful and more sturdy than if I had forced the boards into submission.
This doghouse has become a source of pure joy. To build something, to create, to move–these are all things that bring me intrinsic joy and peace. Why did it take me so long to enjoy little things like this?
Upon contemplation, I realized, this is a societal dilemma.
Every task has become obligatory and urgent and every type of movement has become “herd” movement. “Moving up the corporate ladder,” is a prime example. Our society tells us that If we are not happy, then we need to work harder and make more money. Creativity is not nurtured is not nurtured in our souls, and we are many times not allowed to make mistakes.
This is my opinion, anyway. And we are left with a depressed and tired society of people with a lot of “stuff.”
I realized that rebuilding Gabriel’s doghouse is like everything in life: if you don’t do it well the first time, you can take your tools and use them to do it again differently. Rebuilding is all about being present. It takes time to rebuild something. However, when you are present–and not worrying–time is merely an idea.
This is what I am learning: build. make mistakes. learn. rebuild. And enjoy every moment of it!