Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ho'oponopono Lessons from a House Painter

My house needs painting; a spa renewal, even.  The sun is relentless here in Arizona, and summer is knocking on the door.

You're never quite ready when The Heat arrives, as it's so often abrupt.  You go to bed in pleasant springtime warmth, and the next morning . . . . BLAM!   An oven greets you on opening the door. 


My body sometimes protests these changes (which still feel less painful than humidity back east).  Yet my house endures all kinds of weather -- including hail, monsoon rains,  freezing, and desert inferno -- without complaint.

Signs of wear have been showing up though: some flaking paint, and some color fading where the sun scorches it most intensely.   My home has cared for me well in the 6 years I've lived here.  It's time to return the favor, so I've been interviewing painters and getting estimates for the work.  (while Ho'oponopono cleaning, of course).  The folks coming over don't realize they're teachers, but they are.

One fellow arrived, neatly dressed but late to our appointment.   First thing, he complained about an angry customer who made him late -- hardly saying hello before launching into the story.  He went on for several minutes about this other person, how unreasonable he was about colors, etc.  His attitude surprised me so much I nearly forgot to clean!  (not for long, though.) 

He'd been in business 4 years, and shared that he was making over 1 million dollars a year now.  Business coaching helps, he said.   Of course, he doesn't do the painting himself -- he has crews to do that, all good workers.   

He walked around the house, but didn't seem to be examining it closely.  I pointed out to him the areas of concern.   He talked about power washing, masking, and painting -- with paint "as good as" Dunn and Edwards but less expensive.  After all, Consumer Reports says so.

I cleaned with "thank you," and said I would get back to him.  His estimate was fine; less than I expected. 

Next guy comes a few days later, within his 2-hour time window.  He's jovial on a hot day, dressed in white tee shirt and jeans -- fresh from an ongoing job.  His hands are a little paint-y, but they're strong and his handshake is firm.  He's been in this business over 20 years, and enjoys it a lot.  He does all the painting himself -- sometimes with a helper or two, but he's always the main guy working.  


Walking around my house, he noticed the fading. "Gee, they must not have used good paint last time."  I didn't own the house when that happened, but it should have lasted longer than it had.  "They probably painted just before you bought it."  (right, again)  

He described prepping before the actual painting, and pointed out places that needed caulking and such.  "Some people just slap paint over those spots, and think you won't notice.  But I know they're there, and that's not the way it should be done." 

It helps that he's not only a painter, but a master craftsman and builder.  Experience teaches you things.  He described another job that was tough, involving pulling up linoleum before laying down tile.  It would be "easier" to lay the tile on top of the linoleum -- but it might not last.  He attributed his habits to his father, whom he'd bucked as a teen but was grateful to as an adult.  "He always did things right, even when it took longer or was inconvenient.  And that's how I turned out." 

Sometimes co-workers might say, "It's too hard!"  But he'd learned to "just do it" anyway.   "When it's hard, there's just certain things you have to do.  And I do them."

I couldn't help but think of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, speaking of Ho'oponopono.  Sometimes cleaning is the last thing we want to do.  It's so much easier to blame, complain, and procrastinate.  But as Dr. Hew Len has told me countless times:  "Just DO it."   

So many times in my life since Ho'oponopono, I've come to decision points.  They happen thousands of times a day.  I can whine and make excuses, or clean and get down to work.  I can analyze, or clean.  Sometimes things get away from me, and I find myself saying "it's too hard!"  Or, "But he was mean to me!"   And Dr. Hew Len's voice will come from within, bringing me back to center.

I think similarly of filling in stucco cracks, pulling off old weather stripping before painting, and replacing it after -- and caulking around windows.  It's tedious, a lot like Ho'oponopono.  But I think my house will appreciate the extra time and care, along with some good, long-lasting paint.

People who have practiced Ho'oponopono for a long time say that everything -- including houses -- has its own self-identity, just like we do.  Another reason for taking care of it, even when it's hard or inconvenient.  


Guess which guy got my business?   Believe me, it wasn't the price that made the difference.   And my house looks forward to its new skin revival, before being baked in the oven of summer.  :-)

Peace begins with me,
Pam