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Fixer Upper Obsession Confession

I have to confess, Sundays at my house are awesome because I can watch episode after episode of Chip and Joanna Gaines on HGTV’s Fixer Upper. I have seen most of them already but I don’t care. I still love watching those two with their cute relationship and adorable kids. One Sunday recently I even caught my husband smiling at Chip’s lively antics. He actually sat and watched a few episodes alongside me on the sofa. When I found out the show was coming to an end it was a very dark day for me.

Why do we love this show so much? I suggest it might run deeper than we realize. It might even be deeply unconscious. (Or it could just be a fun show, but stay with me, will you?)

We know Chip and Joanna have strong Christian faith and values. They have a foundation that keeps their marriage strong and their family first even with the predictable trials that come with relatively fast fame. Our culture is crazy about celebrity, have you noticed? I wonder if secretly we are waiting for them to implode. Gosh, I hope not. And beneath that, are we all really longing for a sweet dream team like this to come in and rebuild our lives, bring out our highest potential, our inner beauty. Deeper still, are we all diamonds in the rough longing for our own personal “big reveal” but we just don't know how to get there?
My best friends Chip and Jo

Work with me here.  I’ll try to explain how Fixer Upper is much more than just a waste of a Sunday on the sofa. 

Fixer Upper always starts with choosing the home. Which home is in the best neighborhood? On the best piece of land? Which has the best price per square foot and for the amount of work needed? 

Similarly, I often wonder if our souls have a say in the bodies we incarnate into. Do you ever wonder that? Do we look for just the right circumstances to do the work of the advancement of the soul and then we jump in with fingers crossed hoping we are up to the job. Of course then we forget that that happened and then it is up to us to remember (or re-member). 

Life can be tough on this planet of density and our spirits and bodies can take a beating.  Gravity is real. After a certain amount of time we could all use a little fixer upper.

Is there a habit or an unhealthy choice you would like to rid yourself of? Is there a thought or a particular desire that is recurrent in your life? Is there a tightness in the body or pain that would benefit from stretching? What is holding you back from living the life you yearn to live? Is there a new focus you are considering? Are you satisfied with your social life, your friends and family relationships? How is your spiritual life? Are you praying for guidance, meditating, reflecting on your life within a higher context? Are you willing to take one or all of these on? If so, let’s keep watching…

Joanna's designs are light-filled and inspired.
Once the house is chosen, Joanna’s work begins. Joanna’s visions for dilapidated homes are awe inspiring to say the very least. She can walk into a room and quickly see where walls need to come down, and windows need to be added to let more light into the space. She determines where the family will be spending most of their time together (aka the heart) in their new home and makes those areas comfortable and special. She takes her inspiration to paper (or laptop using fancy design software) and presents it to the homeowners and together they fashion old home into new by laying out the plan so that all, the homeowners and their crew, can see the vision that initially came through Joanna.

We all love Chip Gaines’ fun-loving personality, but especially on demo day. He comes to the job with his mighty sledgehammer and that now famous devilish gleam in the eye and proudly announces “Its demo day!” Then the fun begins. He rips out walls with such passion and fervor. It makes me want to knock down a wall or two myself.

Where could you knock down a wall in your life? Could you make space for a window to let in more light? Are there old outdated ways of thinking that could be replaced with fresh new insights?

Demo day is hard work. It looks hard on Fixer Upper even though it is over in a matter of minutes. It’s probably more likely than not that Chip and his crew get banged up a bit while ripping the houses apart. But the payoff, the reveal of that brand spanking new gorgeous home for the family, is what it’s all about and they keep their goal in mind always.

When the walls are down, it’s time to rebuild the interior of the home. The foundation and framing are all important. If a wall is removed that houses a support beam, that must be taken into account and somehow accommodated for. New supports must be put into place, sometimes requiring original plans to be amended. Good plans are essential for staying on budget and on schedule, but flexibility is important as well.

Is your foundation strong? What are your core beliefs and values? Where do they come from? Good questions to ask yourself.  What is your framework like? Is there a strong well-built support system that surrounds you? We’re talking about your shelter through the storms of life after all. If you have little or no external support, where could you find it? Church, synagogue, community groups, friends and relatives?

Once the structure is sound and the house is built, the decorating begins. Joanna skillfully weaves into the design beauty, serenity and comfort with her southern style and creates a haven for each of the families she and Chip serve. And they are serving, make no mistake about that. Their full attention is given to creating the home that best fits the lifestyle and happiness of each family. They certainly make service look fun, creative and profitable.

Then comes the big reveal. I love how they first show what the home looked like before they excitedly ask the couple “Are you ready to see your Fixer Upper?” They remind them what the old house was like before. When they roll back the old house, the new one is revealed and the couple is overjoyed with the results. More often than not, there are tears. 

Why do we love this stuff so much? Hard-won rebirth and renewal can be emotional.

Through the tender love and care of Chip and Joanna, a house that was once a rundown eye-sore, becomes a gorgeous home for a family to live in for years to come. 

Our own spiritual growth is a lot like this, although nothing happens in an hour, commercial breaks included. Progress is slow and subtle and requires patience and tenacity. Much like construction, it is hard work. It requires a willingness to let go of what is no longer serving us. This can be really difficult. Unexpected things can happen during our reconstruction. We  get side-tracked, discouraged, or bored. It helps to have a good sense of humor like Chip and a visionary like Joanna on your team. We don’t want to go it alone if we can help it.

Where in your life could you use a little fixer upper? In your health? Limited ways of thinking? Your spiritual growth?

Your yoga and meditation practice can help you uncover places that are ready to be refurbished. Life is about flow and we must keep moving in the direction God wants for us which is always for our highest good. Don’t be afraid to take a look around. Make a plan for yourself. Check your foundation for cracks and firm up your supports. Bust down some walls, add more light, clean up your mess, set your beautiful table like Jo always does and  then serve yourself some beauty with a heaping helping of gratitude. Then relax and sit a spell. The hard work is done for now. 

Bravo HGTV for finding and sharing this dear and delightful couple with us. I’m gonna miss Chip and Joanna and Fixer Upper. You?


Connie Bowman is an actress, author, host of the podcast Happy Healthy You! and yoga teacher who teaches at various places around Howard County, MD. For more about her visit www.conniebowman.com.

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