The bewilderment with my renovation project, which became a bottomless source of new insights, keeps on growing. It is unbelievable how rich this experience is. It is painful, frustrating, satisfying, disappointing, it teaches me to trust, accept, let go, negotiate, reconfigure, change, adapt, adjust, stretch resources and many many other useful qualities that overall make us more connected, resilient and responsive to the world around. As these unfolding processes occur, I mostly experience them as unsettling and it makes me think that we don’t experience such disturbances often enough. But isn’t it supposed to be easier to go through a renovation process? Everyone I know suffers through it, coming out tired, with lower self-esteem and feeling that there were too many compromises made just to get over it quicker. I am definitely one of those people. I am trying my best to keep my spirits high but the flame is fading. In the moments when I can take a distance and gain perspective I do find it existentially interesting, but once I am in the center, curiosity turns into suffering and desire to run away. What makes the process so valuable is that there is no way out, you can't run away for ever. I think it is a quite a rare experience. We must continue no matter what.
From my experience the renovation and construction is just so complex and multifaceted that it can become a perfect metaphor to merely everything. The marks on the walls mark all the past negative experiences. Layers of old wallpapers on top of each other, rows of clothes that came out of fashion. Heavy furniture, an old unresolved conflict we don’t want to touch. All the processes that can be found within the context of renovation find its representation in a realm of the life in broader sense.
What makes the renovation process a useful tool to reflect upon life, is that it always brings elevated stress levels. In this state a lot of shields constructed by social rules and oral codes of behaviour come down. And as the shields are gone, a perfect chance to engage in a dialogue with the shadowy side opens up. Today has brought such an opportunity allowing to contemplate on my relationship with power. My broad understanding of power relates to the ability to move something or someone. The question is what/who moves what/whom. If we look at the process of renovation that causes discomfort to many different parties, the asymmetry between needs and desires and their correspondence with the skills and possibilities becomes very clear.
For example, I want to improve the quality of my life but it will disturb the comfort of my neighbours. They need to see the point in going along with my needs. If they don’t know me and we have no personal connection, how would they find a reason to allow my intrusion. In the past, we were much more dependent on the social coherence, we had to support each other and even without liking each other. The more insecure our existence outside of the social structure, the more there is a need to stick together. But what happens if we are not dependent on each other at all? When we can do perfectly fine without maintaining a connection with our neighbours? Losing the necessity to maintain good relationship plus elevated levels of stress inevitably bring about conflict. When our needs and desires are misaligned we need to find another reason to maintain the coherence. Being able to ask help and trust your neighbours is fundamental for our feeling of safety, without it our anxieties are reinforced. Neighbours are in close proximity to our most sacred spaces, together we must realise that our behaviour will affect people around. Perhaps we must expand the walls of our apartments and include at least the closest neighbours. Seeing each other as providers of comfort, safety and relaxation. It requires taking responsibility for the movements we evoke in each other. Power always comes with responsibility.