My disorganized desk brought me joy last week. You’ll never guess why!

Emily ColwellInner Peace, Micro-Moment Reset, Mindfulness, Recovering Perfectionist, Self Acceptance, Stress Leave a Comment

Have you ever kicked into a pre-guest cleaning frenzy? You know, the kind that has you disregarding how hungry, exhausted or sick you are just so you can get the house in order before your visitors arrive? The house ends up looking great.  But you, on the other hand, are left in a state of utter exhaustion that takes days to recover from. Yup, I know this frenzy, too.

It’s easy to find things we don’t like about ourselves and believe change needs to happen urgently. But it’s this urgency that often creates shifts we can’t maintain in the long run. But micro-moment pauses allow lasting transformations to happen with far more ease and over time. And I highly recommend it.

I know, I know. You’re likely wondering WHY in the world I’m posting a photo of my home desk with its knock-your-socks-off piles on top of it.  And the fact that it’s my “after” photo likely has you wondering if I mistakenly mixed up the photos.

Well, there’s been no mix-up. The desk with piles as high as the Taj Mahal is what’s currently going on in my house. And if you can even believe it, the state of my desk gave me some serious joy last week. Let me tell you why.

I’m the kinda gal who spent a lifetime ferociously cleaning and organizing before guests came to stay. It didn’t matter if I had a migraine, the flu, or was on my death bed. I think you’re catching my drift. I’d still find a way to do my frantic pre-guest routine NO MATTER WHAT! Sound familiar?

I felt compelled to make everything look as perfect as possible. For a long time, I didn’t even know why I did this. I just knew it was a non-negotiable requirement for me.

When my wife and I were first together, she saw me in this pre-guest cleaning frenzy and tried to convince me to slow down, take a rest, hydrate or eat. You know, those actions that allow someone to maintain energy and keep going! But that wasn’t how my routine worked and she quickly learned to stay FAR away from me during these, as my eyes glazed over, my focus became impenetrable, and my patience disappeared altogether. 😳

It wasn’t until I was in my early 40’s that I began to learn how to be present in my body, something I’d never before known how to do (although I didn’t even know it!) Once I started, I felt a difference in so many areas of my life. Little did I know it would go on to affect my pre-guest cleaning approach, too.

This is what it looked like. If guests were scheduled to arrive in three hours, I’d kick into my cleaning/organizing frenzy. And at some point during this, I’d pause for 1-2 seconds to notice what I was feeling in my body.

Here’s the shocking part: I felt TERRIBLE! There was so much pressure coursing through my body. It was as if my blood was moving too fast through my veins. I was usually beyond starving, my bladder was more than full, and my energy levels were in the negative. Who knew?!?!

Well, in truth, my body knew, but back then, I was spectacularly skilled at disregarding my body so I didn’t even know what it was experiencing.

But here’s the thing. Noticing what was going on in my body for a few seconds was the only thing I changed about my routine. I wasn’t able to stop the actual frenzied behavior. For a while.

Each time guests were coming, I’d start my frenzy again, but I’d include these few seconds of checking in with my body. And guess what happened over time? My routine naturally changed without me having to work so hard to change it.

Those two seconds of noticing my body’s symptoms during the frenzied routine led me to pause and lie down on my bed or even the floor for a quick break. Guess how long this break was in the beginning? One minute. I’m not even kidding. That’s all that felt tolerable to me at first. But that one minute led to five minutes and onward over the years.

I also became curious about why I felt so compelled to clean and organize to this level of ‘perfection’. And new understandings took hold.

I felt compassion slip in, for the part of me that learned to believe that if I could keep things looking perfect on the outside, people wouldn’t be able to see how wrong I felt on the inside.

As I continued to practice these moments of pausing to check in with my body, this enabled me to slowly update my frenzied pre-guest routine. Was it a quick process? Nope. Did it change at a pace that was tolerable to me and my nervous system? For sure.

The best part? This process allowed me to shift my perspective about who I was even cleaning for in the first place. It turns out I work better under pressure. And I love having a clean, orderly house. I also have ADD so when guests are coming over, it helps light a fire under my butt to harness my focus and get some cleaning/organizing done that may have fallen by the wayside due to other busy parts of life.

But guess who I’m doing the cleaning for now? ME instead of my guests. And THAT, people, is nothing short of a miracle!! And I’m able to do it while including how I’m feeling. If I’m tired, I do less. If I’m feeling extra peppy and motivated, I do more.

This leads me to why my Taj Mahal piles on my desk gave me joy last week. We had guests come to stay. And in years past, I would NEVER have left my desk in that kind of shape for all to see! Besides the fact that this desk sits in our guestroom.

I realized how far I’ve come when I looked at my desk the day before our guests arrived and thought, “Nope. I don’t have the energy for that today. Not happening.” and then went on with my day. It didn’t even cross my mind again the whole time the guests were staying with us.

So you see, my insanely-piled desk IS my after photo! It is a testament to the power of learning to pause in the micro-moment to be present in the body with what is. This simple act, when practiced over time, enables us to start navigating life from the inside out instead of from the outside in. Suddenly there’s room to include and value our own needs and expectations, too. And THAT is called Coming Home, people.

Over the years, I’ve worked with SO MANY clients who’ve been driven by this same pre-guest cleaning frenzy. They know exactly what it’s like to disregard the body in order to get the job done, yet they often weren’t aware they were even doing this.

And you know what’s beautiful? Witnessing them learn to pause for a few micro-moments WHILE they’re in the frenzy to tune into their bodies and how they’re feeling on the inside.

This is where lasting change starts, folks. In the micro-moment.

It’s easy to find things we don’t like about ourselves and believe change needs to happen urgently. But it’s this urgency that often creates shifts we can’t maintain in the long run. But micro-moment pauses allow lasting transformations to happen with far more ease and over time. And I highly recommend this. ❤️

P.S. Know a loved one or friend who is looking for relief in THIS moment? Share my free MICRO-MOMENT RESET with them so they can move into relief, feel more ease, and find more clarity without having to work so hard to make it all happen.

P.S.S. If you’ve been enjoying my weekly blogs and are itching for more daily inspiration, follow me on Facebook (Emily Colwell), Instagram (dr.emily_colwell), and Youtube ( . I post frequently and humor leaks into most of my posts!


Emily Colwell, MSSW, ND

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