My partner and I are remodeling an old house. Our can of worms, we call it, sometimes lovingly, sometimes despairingly.
With the buddhist principle of "emptiness" in mind, here is the "empty" situation: we bought a house, the previous owner was less than forthcoming with their disclosures, which accounts for that at every turn, we find more issues that have to be resolved. The outcome: we are over our already conservative budget, and it is taking much longer than we anticipated.
Possible Perspective #1: We have been living in a dirty construction zone for weeks. All of our stuff is in dusty boxes. We are both putting in easily 30 hours a week for the weekend construction job, beyond our already time consuming careers. Every penny we have ever made, and will ever make is going into this bottomless sink of a house that we paid too much for.
Possible Perspective #2: This is taking up too much time, it's going to ruin both of our careers and we'll never do anything fun again because we'll be broke forever.
Possible Perspective #3: We got the right house at the right time. It ended up being a bit more money and time than we thought it would, but overall it's a good investment and we really like the location.
Possible Perspective #4: We love the house. It's in a great spot and we have fabulous neighbors. We can see ourselves prospering greatly in this inspiring environment.
Possible Perspective #5: This is our fantastic art project. With every surprise, we get to make our own decisions. We are motivated and inspired, appreciating each advancement and celebrating the completion of each perfect detail. This project has been very empowering for our relationship and our creativity.
Every day we get to decide which perspective we want to live in. The bottom line is, I love construction and remodeling and I really do look at it as a giant art project. Sometimes challenging, sometimes stressful, but always coming back to: I get to create exactly what I want.
I may not be able to go on a fancy trip this year, but that means nothing in light of getting exactly what I want. Making choices whole-heartedly and living them fully. This is my habit of happiness.