The Nest with Cinderella
Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote much of her widely popular best-selling book “Simple Abundance” from her side of the bed. I had a hunch this was so. I’ve been carrying around that book for 20 years. It’s all highlighted and dog-eared. So when I found out that she was releasing an updated version to celebrate the 20 year anniversary, I snapped it up. In the new version she admits that the creativity poured out of her and onto the page while sitting in her bed. I don’t know why, but I always pictured her writing that whole dang book from her side of the bed (!)
I, too, often work from bed. I completed most of my MBA homework from my side of the bed. My husband can’t understand how I can sit there for hours, propped up with pillows and high on caffeine, writing or reading or pounding away on my keyboard. I don’t know either. But I suspect that a lot of amazing business creativity and productivity happens on a woman’s side of the bed.
And let’s not forget the famed artist Henri Matisse! After being diagnosed with abdominal cancer, he spent much of the last decade of his life producing great works from his bed. According to David Rockefeller, Matisse's final work was the design for a stained-glass window installed at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills near the Rockefeller estate north of New York City. It was his final artistic creation. The sketch was on the wall of his bedroom when he died in November of 1954. Installation was completed in 1956.
Aside from true work, I’m guessing I’m not alone in my love of lounging and daydreaming on my side of the bed. I could spend an entire rainy weekend journaling, coloring, flipping through magazines and reading on my side of the bed.
There’s something magical there.
So – how do we care for our nest?
This is where Cinderella steps in:
Making the bed. To make or not to make? That is the question. Studies show that only 37% of Americans habitually make their beds. WHAT? That shocks me.
There’s a bit of a “bed making movement” happening now, though, due to a book recently written by American journalist, Charles Duhigg. Duhigg is the author of “The Power Habit” and believes that making your bed can create “chain reactions that help other good habits take hold.” He states in his book that “making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.” I like it. I haven’t read the book yet, but I think I will like it.
A recent survey of 2,000 Americans conducted by market research company OnePoll, and reported on the TODAY show, found that you can tell a lot about a person by knowing whether they make their bed in the morning. The report found that people who make their beds tend to be adventurous, confident, sociable and high maintenance. People who don’t make their beds tend to be shy, moody, curious, and sarcastic. Really?
I want to know if becoming a bed-maker can actually change your life. Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Seal William H. McCraven, author of “Make Your Bed: Little Things Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World” believes so. It’s the theory of the boost that we get when we complete that small task at the start of our day. It sets us off on an upward spiral.
Others believe that making your bed can reduce your stress levels more than you think
because if you keep your bed clean and organized, it will reflect in your entire personal space and your state of mind. A more organized mind leads to a more organized life. I am definitely a proponent of that belief and yes you guessed it, I like to have my bed made every day. So does Cinderella. It just feels better, AND I enjoy the process of making it. It's a sacred dance I do every morning. (ok, ok, quite often my husband makes the bed - but when I make it, it feels like a dance with the morning. The day is new and all good things are possible.)
For me, it’s an act of self-care. When I’m having a bad day, it’s nice to know that my beautiful bed is waiting for me. On particularly gnarly mornings, as I head into a particularly “big” day, I’ve even been known to fold up my PJ’s and place them on my freshly made bed before I walk out the door because the image of my PJ’s waiting for me on my bed helps me get through the day!
Here’s the problem. Research shows that NOT making your bed could be good for your health because …. …… Dust mites. The report states “Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.” Okay, gross. Well. This theory is actually heavily debated in the allergy-dust-mite circles.
And then there’s the debate about how a messy environment can nurture creativity. This is when I threw in the towel on my kids’ messy bedrooms (to a point). Tim Hartford wrote an entire book on this argument titled “Messy”. Hartford’s message shows us how messiness can spur creativity and nurture resilience. I get it.
BUT THEN I read a fascinating article on “Better Humans” (a blog that is a collection of the world’s most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement) titled “Why Creative People Must Make Their Beds” (!!!) This is the argument that the organization of a space enhances a person’s creativity, mood, and “ability to affect reality” which is critical for those who “want to bring the fruits of their imagination into the world.” I’m listening.
This article goes on to explain, “A creator is one who wants to see his or her intentions expressed in the world … Making a bed may not seem as significant as creating art or manifesting an unlikely circumstance, but the mental procedure is exactly the same. The more precisely we organize our space, the more specific we are in realizing our desires.”
Just read the whole article - linked below - it’s SO fascinating. It also happens to jive with my inherent beliefs.
SO – Cinderella and I have decided that we’ll continue making our beds each day because it feels like the right thing for us. And then on those days when we don’t feel like making the bed … we won’t.
How about you? I want to learn about which bed-making camp you’re in and why. Leave your comments below and let me know! (Yep, that means you)