Dear Lois, How do I listen to my inner voice?


You are the voice in your head. You know that voice. Sometimes it’s loud; other times it’s whispering in your ear. We often refer to it as our “true self.”

When I’m confronting an area of my home that needs attention, this little voice pipes up. When I listen, it becomes a bigger voice that tells me to wake up earlier, exercise so I have more energy, or simply to stop having a pity party. There is an art to listening to this voice and taking the middle path, especially when that voice is trying to help us get our homes to a better place.

It’s easy to cast blame on ourselves and find reasons why we are not living in the way our inner voices say we should be. Many times, I try to squash the voice because I don’t want to hear how I might have to change. But when I do listen, I am often caught off guard at the peace and presence of what is there waiting for me. When I tune in and surrender to my true self, I find that there is a lot of work to do—but also an extraordinary amount of contentment.

“Conserving energy is key for anyone who already feels overwhelmed.”

When cleaning, we often show up saddled with guilt, procrastination and a disconnection from the way that we wished we were living. When we look at our clutter, closets and dirt, it is seldom that we can say that we are living to our potential.

We oscillate from feeling guilty that things got so out of control to wanting to live to our ideals—then back to feeling guilty because we know it will take a lot of work to make things right.

Listen to yourself. That inner voice wants to tell you something about how you’ve been keeping the house and how you truly want to live. Look inward, address these feelings and take a deep breath. What would your true self do?

I like to start with showing compassion for myself rather than giving myself a hard time. I understand why I let certain areas of my home become dumping grounds. There is only so much Lois to go around, especially as a single mother, business owner, artist and friend. It takes far less energy to be calm and graceful with myself than to be frustrated and disappointed. (It has taken me a decade to learn this.) I tune into this awareness and it gives me clarity before I begin the work. Conserving energy is key for anyone who already feels overwhelmed.

Illustration by Lois Volta.

Illustration by Lois Volta.

Remember that life is a never-ending marathon, not a sprint. This concept can feel defeating. A never-ending marathon sounds awful! On the other hand, accepting that life is messy, we can engage in the present more positively. To my surprise, I have found that I thrive in chaos—when there are more things to balance, I am more careful not to drop anything. I use this awareness to sharpen my common sense. Yes, there is always cleaning, tidying and projects to do (with no end in sight) but what’s at the end anyway—death? Let contentment and peace be never-ending.

One of the best tips I give my clients is a cold truth: the work that you have to do is part of who you are. Another truth is, there will always be something waiting for you to clean up. It’s better to make peace with this concept than to fight it.

When I decide to ignore or feel indifferent about my dumping grounds or dirt build-up, I ask myself, “Why?” What is it that makes me not want to address a part of my living habits and part of myself? Is it that I feel guilty or ashamed? Maybe I think that if I ignore it, it will go away, or someone else will deal with it for me.

This is ludicrous! When we separate ourselves from the parts of life that need cleaning, we aren’t living in reality. We are also ignoring that voice, and it will become louder and louder as the guilt and apathy grow.

Have the courage to sit in your mess, and the curiosity to listen to the feelings that come up. Give yourself the freedom to step into the mess with empowerment and action. Trust your gut—and listen to your inner voice.

Lois Volta is a home consultant, musician and founder of Volta Naturals. loisvolta.com. Send questions to thevoltaway@gmail.com.

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